BODYGUARD is writer-director Siddique’s maiden directorial attempt in Bollywood; Siddique has a string of commercially successful Malayalam movies to his credit and just like another successful and prolific Malayalam moviemaker Priyadarshan, has turned to a remake for his first film. Priyadarshan’s first few remakes were not classics; but certainly brought attention to him as a reliable director of comedies. It looks likely that Siddique, following the success of the Malayalam original, may also have the same success story in Bollywood. The unique point about BODYGUARD is that, perhaps for the first time anyone in the world has directed the same story in four different language productions. The movie was remade as KAAVALAN in Tamil and the Telugu version, titled as GANGA-THE BODYGUARD is currently being filmed.
Coming in the wake of Salman Khan’s commercial successes like DABANGG and READY, BODYGUARD makes no pretensions about being anything different other than projecting Salman and capitalizing on his image and timing the release at Eid. Of course, this seems to have a story line (it even has a twist in the end), which is stronger than either DABANGG or READY, and although it appears to be incredulous, does manage to hold viewer interest. DABANGG, however scores better in all other respects.
BODYGUARD does have its light-hearted moments, but since the focus seems to be on projecting Salman as a person with a tough exterior but a tender loving heart, the director is not sure of which part of his personality should get the greater focus: his muscles or his heart! Kareena’s portraying the role of a college going girl is obviously in conflict with her age, notwithstanding her attempts to fill her role with life. A younger and perhaps a fresher face might have delivered a better impact. Amongst the other actors, Raj Babbar makes his presence felt and Rajat Rawail helps lighten the mood occasionally.
Both DABANGG and READY had songs that immensely added to the value of watching the movie and this is another area where BODYGUARD disappoints. Yes, one must acknowledge that Himesh Reshamaiyya scores by not singing his compositions and in fact, one soft number TERI MERI sung by Rahat Fateh Ali and Shreya Ghoshal stays with you after the movie gets over. The remaining numbers are merely passable.
In terms of execution, Siddique is obviously an experienced hand and despite the length, the movie progresses quite briskly. That the movie does not appear to drag is a tribute to the director’s capabilities. Ultimately, however, it must be accepted that the movie‘s appeal is primarily on account of Salman Khan and therefore, hard core Salman Khan’s fans will gloss over all the glitches. But if you are not a Salman fan, then, you might find it difficult to digest all the happenings. But since such an inane presentation like READY had a great box-office reception, I would not like to hazard a prediction of a lacklustre performance for this at the box-office!
RATING: 2.5 out of 5