Business rating: 4/5 stars
Star cast: Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Raj Babbar, Hazel Keech
What’s Good: Salman Khan’s endearing character; his performance; the mass-appealing action and comedy; the well-tuned music and well-choreographed songs
What’s Bad: The half-baked screenplay; the unanswered questions that leave the audience with a feeling of incompleteness
Verdict: Riding on Salman Khan’s wave of popularity, Bodyguard will prove to be a box-office hit.
Loo break: Not really.
Watch or Not?: Watch Bodyguard for Salman Khan and Kareena Kapoor’s performances.
Reel Life Productions and Reliance Entertainment’s Bodyguard, as the title suggests, is the story of a bodyguard. Lovely Singh (Salman Khan) is a strong and super-efficient bodyguard whom Sartaj Rana (Raj Babbar) of Jaisinghpur chooses for the protection of his only daughter, Divya (Kareena Kapoor), who is studying in a city college. At first, Divya is embarrassed by Lovely Singh accompanying her to college and right into her classroom. But when she sees him protecting her from Ranjan Mhatre’s (Mahesh Manjrekar) hoodlums who have come to kill her, she is mighty impressed. Before long, she is head over heels in love with him. However, as she is too scared of her rich and influential father and since she is also aware that Lovely Singh is too indebted to her father to ever even dream of marrying her, she expresses her love to him by speaking to him over the telephone under an alias (Chhaya) and by camouflaging her voice. Lovely Singh also falls in love with Chhaya although he doesn’t know her real identity.
Divya’s best friend and roommate, Maya (Hazel Keech), warns her against going ahead with her love story as she foresees it ending as a disaster. Unperturbed, Divya continues with the romance till one day, she realises that Lovely Singh would never fall in love with her as he would take the act of falling in love with her as akin to backstabbing her father whom he worships as God. Crestfallen, she tries to break off from Lovely Singh only to realise the she loves him too dearly to be able to break all ties.
Even as her education is about to get over, Divya alias Chhaya musters courage to propose marriage to Lovely Singh who agrees without still knowing that Chhaya is none other than Divya.
What happens thereafter? Does Divya succeed in getting married to Lovely Singh? Does the latter get to know that Chhaya is none other than his Divya madame? Does Sartaj Rana get wind of what his daughter and her bodyguard are up to? What about Ranjan Mhatre and his mission to kill Divya? Is Lovely Singh able to save Divya’s life – and his own? Does Maya help Divya to finally unite in matrimony with Lovely Singh? Answers to these questions are revealed in the long-drawn climax.
Bodyguard Review – Script Analysis
Remake of the Malayalam film of the same name and loosely inspired by the Hollywood film of the same name, Bodyguard has an interesting plot that had the germs of a terrific screenplay and drama. However, the screenplay, penned by Siddique, J.P. Chowksey and Kiran Kotrial with inputs by Salim Khan, is one of so much convenience that the audience is left with a feeling of incompleteness. The entire angle of Divya changing her voice when she pretends to be Chhaya (Karisma Kapoor’s voice is used to dub the dialogues mouthed by Chhaya over the telephone) looks half-baked and just too convenient to really impress the viewers. The funny part is that many among the audience may not even realise that the voice of Chhaya is that of another actress (Karisma Kapoor) because the same result could be achieved by Divya’s (Kareena Kapoor) own voice with, say, a slight huskiness or accent or some such change. It is also not clear why Chhaya keeps treating Divya as somebody whom she doesn’t like or care for, whenever she talks to Lovely Singh. It isn’t as if Lovely Singh is in love with Divya and Chhaya wants to get Divya out of her way or as if Chhaya wants to test Lovely Singh’s love for her. Chhaya’s outbursts against Divya seem all the more ridiculous or redundant given that Divya and Chhaya are the same person – a fact known to the audience.
The writers have not bothered to establish why Ranjan Mhatre is thirsting for Divya’s blood. Of course, one is led to believe that Ranjan Mhatre has a score to settle with Divya’s dad, but considering that so much footage is devoted to the bodyguard protecting Divya’s life, it would have been far more sensible to establish, howsoever briefly, the enmity between Sartaj Rana and Ranjan Mhatre. And if the enmity has arisen because Sartaj Rana failed an attempt by Ranjan Mhatre to sell girls of his village to brothels in Thailand, well, the connection is not properly established.
The twist in the tale, revealed when Lovely Singh comes with his little son to meet Sartaj Rana before he (Lovely Singh) leaves for some time to Canada, may be pretty interesting and even shocking but again, it comes like a convenient twist. That Lovely Singh never tried to keep in touch with Sartaj Rana for years thereafter seems an impossibility because as far as he (Lovely Singh) was concerned, he wasn’t guilty of any wrong vis-à-vis Sartaj Rana. Also, had there been some ground-work leading to the twist in the end, the audience may have found it more believable even if the shock value may have been reduced a bit.
Lovely Singh is shown as a conscientious bodyguard, for whom duty comes before even his personal life, and that is all very fine. But to show him as dumb as he has been shown to be seems like too much of an exaggeration.
All in all, the screenplay writers have done a hurried job and seem to have made a whole lot of assumptions which the audience may not like to make. This is not to say that there are no plus points. There are actually several of them. For one, the character of Lovely Singh is so endearing that the viewer in no time falls in love with him. Similarly, even though Divya goes in too round-and-about a manner to express her love to Lovely Singh, her helplessness does touch the audience’s heart. The songs are not just well-worded but are also well-tuned and well-choreographed, making them a delight to watch. Another major plus point is the abundant action in the film, which will especially be loved by the masses and the audience in single-screen cinemas.
Besides action and romance, the third pillar of the film is comedy. While action is excellent and the romance is fairly good, the comedy track of Tsunami (Rajat Rawail) is often kiddish and irritating and it fails to evoke the desired laughter. However, the comedy of Lovely Singh is often entertaining and even heart warming.
Bodyguard Review – Star Performances & Direction
Salman Khan lives the character of Lovely Singh. He looks like a million bucks and acts very efficiently. In one word, he is truly endearing. Kareena Kapoor does a remarkable job. She makes the emotional scenes extremely watchable in spite of several of them appearing unjustified. She shines as Divya. Hazel Keech does an ordinary job. Raj Babbar is fair. Aditya Pancholi is good in a brief special appearance. However, the scene in which he is shown to be operating a remote-controlled helicopter looks a bit weird. Mahesh Manjrekar does fairly well. Chetan Hansraj gets limited scope and do as desired. Rajat Rawail is not impressive as Tsunami and, in the absence of a strong flair for comedy, often relies on his bulky weight and some funny and not so funny lines to create mirth. Needless to add, he succeeds only very occasionally. Asrani is wasted in an inconsequential role. Sharat Saxena does what is needed of him. Mohan Kapur makes his presence felt in the singular scene he appears in. Vidya Sinha is average. Katrina Kaif looks bewitching and dances extraordinarily in a portion of the title song in a friendly appearance. Karisma Kapoor’s voice acting is good but not many in the audience would even realise that the voice of Chhaya is Karisma’s: they’d assume that it is Kareena’s voice modulated a bit! Shashi Kiran and the other provide the desired support.
Siddique’s direction is good but could have been better. Although he has tried to make a wholesome entertainer, he doesn’t excel in any department. Music is a plus point. All the four songs are appealing but none has been supremely popular. The title track, Teri meri, meri teri prem kahani and Desi beats (all composed by Himesh Reshmmiya) have pep and pace. The ‘I love you’ number (set to tune by Pritam) is also a popular song. Lyrics, penned by Shabbir Ahmed and Neelesh Mishra, are appropriate. Choreography may not be mind blowing but the songs have been picturised in a way that they entertain and also become eye-filling. The dance steps in the title song are different and graceful. The picturisation of ‘Prem kahani’ song is sensuous and visually appealing. The ‘Desi beats’ song is visually rich. The I love you song is youthful. Sandeep Shirodkar’s background score is alright. S. Vijayan’s action scenes have been composed with a special eye on the masses and Salman Khan’s fans. Sejal Shah’s cinematography is excellent. Sets (Angelica Monica Bhowmick) are of a very good standard. Editing, by Sanjay Sankla, is sharp.
Bodyguard Review – Komal Nahta’s Verdict
On the whole, Bodyguard had the germs to become a super-hit fare but it remains a good fare mainly because its script looks contrived and too convenient at places. All the same, it will prove to be a box-office hit because of several extraneous factors going in its favour – Salman Khan riding the wave of popularity, its release on the festive occasion of Eid and the public’s hunger for larger than life star-studded entertainment as there has been no such real entertainer since five weeks, which has resulted in an earth-shattering opening.