Bodyguard

Review Bodyguard

It’s Eid, a day of rejoicing after a pious month of fasting and introspection. And how do us Hindi Film fans celebrate? We go out to the movies of course! Since the past few years Eid has become synonymous with a Salman Khan release. He’s set records with Dabanng and Wanted at Eid and Ready earlier this year. Will he be able to do so again with Bodyguard? Will he be A-One number one and beat that other King? Has Upodcast ever been interested in the box office fate of a movie and will we start to do so now? If you want to know if Bodyguard will be a hit, I am sure there will be numerous reviews posted around the interwebz in the next few days. But if you want to get into the nitty gritty of Bodyguard, read our review!

Bodyguard is the story of Lovely Singh (Salman Khan)a trusted and loyal bodyguard that gets hired by Sartaj Rana (Raj babbar) – one of those dhoti wearing rich dudes with a moustache-  to protect his college going daughter Divya (Kareena Kapoor). Divya feels her style gets cramped by having a bodyguard shadowing her in college, so she decides to prank call Lovely Singh pretending to be a girl named Chayya to distract him by making him believe she is in love with him…Do I need to spell out what happens next?

It’s never great to start a review by talking about another movie but I have to admit as a Salman Khan fan, watching Ready ( our full review) was a torture that still gives me pant shitting nightmares every time I hear the annoying whistle from Dhinka Chikka. But it was a huge hit so I guess it only shows how much out of touch I can be with the taste of mainstream audiences. (I didn’t like Transformers 3 either). So to put it mildly I was reticent of watching Bodyguard after seeing the first trailer. I felt it was an easy cash earner riding on the popularity of Salman after his previous hits, the soundtrack wasn’t really exciting me either (does any Himesh soundtrack do that anymore?). Another thing Ready proved was that Salman’s movies were becoming critic proof, and no matter the shoddy direction or egregious plot, the shirt removal scenes would have the audiences in raptures. It’s back in vogue to be a Salman Khan fan and more power to him. He’s had a couple of rough years pre-Wanted.

(Where were you people when he was making Jaan E Mann, Garv and Veergati? I ask you this faux Salman fans, where were you when he needed you???)

Bodyguard is tailor made to be a massive hit. The timing is perfect, the marketing has been ramping up (of which you have seen a lot on Upodcast, truth be told) and they have created a lot of buzz in a short span of time (Bodyguard started shooting in January if I’m not mistaken). It mixes everything we want as a time pass movie in measured doses. First half is comedy and a hint of a love story. The 2nd half ramps up the action and emotions. The songs are placed with precision engineering and more than anything this movie is produced by an ace team.

Performances are what are to be expected from stars of this caliber. Glad to see that this will finally be a hit for this pair after the underappreciated Kyon Ki and the unmitigated disaster that was Main Aur Mrs Khanna. Salman is playing Salman as he usually does. He’s a lot more subdued playing a dutiful Bodyguard but the moments he needs to switch up with some classic Michael Jackson moves and charm the audience, he does so faultlessly. He’s become a master at giving the audience what they need, I just hope the audience needs this Salman for a whole while longer. Also can we have every movie of his start with a warehouse fight? (This one was particularly brilliant)

The money and effort spent Kareena’s look and wardrobe is staggering and she looks luminescent on screen in every frame. (We might still be a bit besotted by meeting her last week and her podcast with us). Compared to Kaajal Agarwal in Singham (The previous South Indian remake) who was also dressed in the ethnic look, you can understand what sets Kareena apart from anyone else and why she is in the position she is. Above all that she has really developed into a fine actress, even in a movie like this which is pretty light, the moments she needs to emote with her tear filled eyes, she does so with aplomb. She gets an introductory montage in the movie which makes you forget for a moment that you are watching a movie and if she would turn around and sell us a brand of shampoo or face cream, I am sure the audience would have run out and bought that product straight away. (She doesn’t do so although there is quite a bit of overt product placement throughout the movie). I’m not entirely sure she can still pull off the role of a college girl but I am sure people show me the “Amir Khan in 3 Idiots” card as soon as they have finished reading this sentence, so it becomes a moot point.

The action scenes designed by Vijayan (who worked with Salman in Wanted and Dabanng) are amazing, probably the best we will see all year (until Agneepath comes out). They take the no-holds barred mix martial arts approach from the climax of Dabanng and add more wire work to it. Whereas the wire work in Singham (apologies for harping on about Singham, maybe check out our full review for our thoughts) made the action seem weightless and cartoonish at times. The fights in Bodyguard feel more grounded as they are aided by well used freeze frames and bullet time. The final fight scene with Aditya Pancholi ( why don’t we see more of him) if breathtaking, and even if the villains are only punching bags for Salman in this movie, they do a pretty good job.

But all this is a success of the production team but a movie needs a few more elements like a tight or at least logical screenplay, clap worthy dialogues and competent directing and that is where bodyguard starts to falter.

Director Siddique has written and directed this movie 3 times (In Tamil as Kaavalan, in Malayalam as Bodyguard and now again in Hindi) now but he is still not skilled at telling the story and he seems to have no idea what the job description of bodyguard actually is. In Siddique’s warped mind a bodyguard is an amalgam of a special ops commando, a personal trainer and a nanny. Apparently a bodyguard needs to attract as much attention as possible and can also not sit next to his master.

He fills in the first half of the movie with an comedy track with overweight side kick (something that seems to happen quite a bit when importing movies from the south- see Wanted and Singham). The overweight girl from “I H8 Luv Stories” is somewhere on the background and only around so the midget (dwarf, little person, I don’t want to piss any karate proficient little people) can make some fat jokes. Apparently these jokes benefit from the rapid fire repartee of South Indian cadence, I don’t think I would find them funny in anyway shape or form.

The love story until the interval is pretty juvenile and if it wasn’t for the charming performance of the stars, it would be ridiculous. Why do remakes of South Indian movies make their female characters act only a couple of levels above the retardation line is a mystery to me? (I’m sure their moms had to get involved to get them just above that line a la Mama Gump)

I want to talk about the ending of the movie in the spoiler section but only read it if you have seen the movie already in one of its previous avatars or don’t care enough about it not to have it spoilt. But Siddique reminded me of Puri Jagganath director of Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap. Another director who overstretches his skills and his movie was only successful through the weight that the actors brought in. At least Puri made an orginal movie. Siddique has done this 3 times now and if it wasn’t for a strong action director, camera man and production team, he would not have been able to deliver.

Clearly not every South Indian director is Prabhu Deva.

For whoever is keeping final score for Bodyguard:

Dabanng ≥ Wanted > Bodyguard > Ready > Suryavanshi

Before I go into the spoiler section I want to go into a bit of tangent.

I do wonder how far we can stretch the southification of Hindi Film Cinema. Audiences will get tired of the inane comedy that just doesn’t make that much sense and every South Indian I have spoken with prefers the original version and feels the adaptation wasn’t done right. It would be an idea to take the time and effort to really adapt and distill the screenplays to local audiences and just change the timing of the comedy and emotional beats. Even the dialogues lack the punch when translated from a language they weren’t originally written in. Until now, the power of the stars has been able to drag these movies to box office success. Stars like Aamir, Salman and even Ajay have enough of a following to do so but what will happen when these movies have minor stars attached to it?

I am dreading seeing the promo’s for Force and I do not believe that people who loved seeing Surya in Kaakha Kaakha( which we reviewed) will enjoy pretty boy John Abraham in it.

I also understand the anger that some South Indian fans feel towards these movies which can only be described as a Mcdonaldisation of their cinema transforming it into a bland mongrel form of sustenance which only nourishes but does not fill the appetite.

When speaking with my twiter buddy Reena Mumbai from TwoMangoes (check out her blog by clicking here) about our obsession with pre- 50 Cent hip hop. It made me think of a song by Mos Def called Rock N Roll on his epic Black on Both sides Album, about how white America has appropriated much of black culture thanklessly.

“I said, Elvis Presley ain’t got no soul
Chuck Berry is rock and roll
You may dig on the Rolling Stones
But they ain’t come up with that style on they own”

I wouldn’t say we are there yet but I do hope more effort is put into adapting these movies in the future.

But can we at least get rid of the overweight sidekicks and inane slapstick comedy?

Spoiler Section: ( Really do not read before watching the movie)

  • There is unnecessarily convoluted twist at the end of the movie which is an example of the ineptitude of the writing. Not only does it just seem to give us the same result we were going to get 15 min earlier but it does so using one of the most thankless characters in the entire movie. This could very well be a prequel to Kuch Kuch Hota hai. It really sucks and annoyed me to no end. (oh I was really evil, and I now have this ailment that the writer doesn’t even take the time to name and could you please not tell your daddy I was evil oh bespectacled son)
  • I also wonder why did no one get any older? We don’t need them to pull a Veer Zaara but you could add some wrinkles or at least dress people differently, it seemed the scenes were just shot 2 days later but a 7 year old kid had suddenly appeared out of the blue.
  • The entire phone plot made me miss Karisma Kapoor so much. I hope she comes back soon and if we pray really hard maybe she will do a movie with Salman Khan again. I don’t think there was ever an actress he seemed more comfortable with or just had fun with and it showed on screen. It’s a shame because to think that way though as Bebo looks so pretty but did anyone else feel she was channeling a bit of Lolo on those phone scenes?

Let us know what you thought of Bodyguard and how they did adapting it from the previous versions in the comments section below

 

 

 

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Salman Khan’s BodyGuard Interview for Upodcast!

Indian stars command a different level obsession than their western counterparts. The love and adulation we feel for “our favorites” combines the passion for a sportsteam with the myth of a rock star. We tailor our personal style, conversational idioms and day to day jokes towards them and every generation (even if they won’t admit it) has that one star that just sends them into a frenzy. My parents had Dilip Kumar, growing up we had Amitabh Bachchan but from adolescence there was only one name for me and that was Salman Khan.

The release of his Bodyguard is just around the corner (31st of August) and we had a podcast planned with him but then got diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a very painful nerve disorder for which he had to fly out for treatment for the US. But Salman Khan “ne ek bar jo commitment kardi, toh phir woh apni bhi nahi sunta” (once he makes a commitment, then he doesnt even listen to himself) and  he took to answer some of our questions via email  just before he flew out. And truth be told, I don’t know if I could have contained my excitement if I had gotten a chance to speak with him. (Clearly Upodcast is a place for fans more than journalistic professionalism)

Sabka hai Ek Bhaijaan, here is the one and only Salman Khan in his inimitable style answering questions from yours truly.

Photo Credit: www.SalmanOnline.net

Sorry to hear about your ailment through the news. I hope you are well
and that it doesn’t hurt too much? How were you able to cope with it
through shooting?

Ya, did get unbearable at times… I had planned to get myself treated
after the shoot, post productions and promotions for Bodyguard are
completed. But now pain has become unbearable.

You have had a time honored equation with music over the years? Is
that just luck or do you have a musical ear? Did you sit down with the
music directors of Bodyguard and discuss what was needed?

Na I have been lucky… my music directors do a good job.

I have been lucky enough to have all the talented music directors
composing music for the songs that I dance to on screen. I had given
certain inputs in the song ‘Teri Meri’ but it was entirely Himesh’s
creative efforts that the song a creating a buzz among people.

Desi beat has a slight tinge (maybe a sample) of “Kabooter Ja Ja” from
Maine Pyar Kiya. Do you reminisce about some of your earlier roles? Do
you rewatch any of your older movies?

All I can say Desi Beats is a big success in India and overseas. I do
recall my roles at times as I did them because I liked the role but
now I am always looking forward to do something new and exciting.

Did you bring any of those sensibilities from older movies to
Bodyguard? Is there a Jaagruti -style jungle
training scene?

Bodyguard is a very different film. I think it is an innocent love
story. It is a good balance of emotions, romance action and drama. As
far as action in the film is concerned the entire credit goes to
Vijayan Master. He directed my wanted and dabbang and wanted to push
limits with this one too.

What were the roles you think you nailed but maybe didn’t work with
audiences as well? How do you deal with a movie when it doesn’t work?

Yes, film is to be approached with new enthusiasm and more motivation.
If the film turns a blockbuster it’s great and if it doesn’t you have
to move on. The number of people watching your film is directly
proportional to how good the film is. The intension is always to make
a good movie and positive responses definitely make me feel good.

Are there times whilst shooting that you know it’s not going well? And
if so is there sometimes you pull back?

There are hardships everywhere. Facing the obstacles is the only way
to overcome them. If things don’t go well at times you just have to
work your way around it rather than pulling back.

You have been doing action movies since the start of your career but
now since Wanted it had taken another level. What has changed in your
mind?

Wanted has certainly added a lot to my performance and enhanced my connect with the viewers. But every role brings something new to me intensifies my ability to act.

Is it the effect of your TV presence that you have created a closer
bond with your audience?

Television is definitely a vibrant medium and reaches to masses far
and wide. It has been a platform to reach the audience who probably
miss out on catching me on the larger screen.

From Baaghi to Veer and of course your much respected
father (Salim Khan), writing has been a part of your life. You have taken on
painting since a few years too. Do you feel that these are ways you
communicate with your fans and audience or is it more of an internal
process where you deal with your own thoughts?

Just as everyone develops certain interests at different points in
their lives I am drawn towards painting. I am interested in painting
as it is an art form that helps me to express myself.

What type of creative input did you have in Bodyguard as the
production team is family?

My first responsibility is with my audience then it is to producer.
Who is the producer is not important. Atul (Agnihotri, producer and Salman’s brother in law-ed) came with this script
before the Malayalam bodyguard was made. And we had decided to make it
in Hindi whatever may be the faith of Malayalam.

You started the trend of South indian remakes with Tere Naam. What do
you think needs to be adjusted or tweaked when remaking a South Indian
movie to North Indian audiences?

I have loved the subjects of all the remakes I have done so far. Tere
Naam and Wanted fetched quite good results this only indicates
audiences liked the concept and the films at large. I believe it is
entirely the film maker’s call. Bodyguard which is a remake of the
Malayalam version had drastic changes in the characterization and
these were Siddique’s efforts to bring the film in a fresh form to
Bollywood’s audiences.

Are there any South Indian stars or movies you are particularly fond of?

Rajnikanth with out doubt…

Would you ever consider making a work-out dvd for all your fans that
want to be buff like you?

Have not thought about it…

So I hope you enjoyed reading some of his answers. For more BodyGuard goodness you can check out our Podcast interview with Kareena Kapoor, his co-star.

Or of course catch Bodyguard in theatres in a couple of days in a theater near you!

 

Let us know what  you thought of Bodyguard after the jump!

Enhanced by ZemantaAnd thanks to our good friend Amaluu from Bollystalgia, a fellow Sallu fan who helped us out with some of the questions!
You can follow us on twitter or Facebook by clicking links on the left!
EID MUBARAK!

Win Tickets to BodyGuard Preview in London!

If you want to see a special preview before anyone else of Bodyguard and you can attend the screening in London, you have a chance to win a pair of tickets! Check out how you can win a pair of tickets just after the jump! Read More

Exclusive: Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif’s Item Song In BodyGuard

The buzz for Salman KhanKareena Kapoor starrer Bodyguard is on full swing! The trailers and song promo’s are out on all music channels. Now Upodcast has access to exclusive pictures of the Item Number with the wonderful Katrina Kaif stepping into her Sheila boots again. But there is another surprise appearance and that is Shera, Salman Khan’s Bodyguard for over a decade will also be getting his thumka on with Salman and Katrina. Check out these behind the scene images of the song being shot after the jump! Read More

BodyGuard Trailer gives us measured doses of previous Salman Khan hits!

Trailer Analysis: Our good friend Honey who always has all the latest Bollywood the scoops just posted the trailer and posters for Salman Khan‘s next outing The Bodyguard (check out her site for more pictures and goodies!). Written and directed by the director of the original South Indian movie, Siddique, it co-stars Kareena Kapoor and is produced by Atul and Alvira Agnihotri (brother in law and sister of the star actor). So check out the trailer below and some of our thoughts after the jump!

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