Bodyguard (2011)

I’ll have to use discussion on Wanted (2009) and Dabangg (2010) as a lead into this brief discussion on Salman Khan’s latest movie and, as box office collections are illustrating, perhaps greatest in at least some respects. There’s the action element we’re accustomed to. There’s more comedy and romance. There's a star actress in Kareena Kapoor. There are the familiar characters by Raj Babbar and Mahesh Manjrekar in familiar roles. There’s decent music made more enjoyable by strong on-screen personalities and good choreography. And they all work rather well for what has got to be among the most entertaining movies of the year. I am admittedly biased in favor of Salman, but he’s bringing the fun back into core, made-for-cinema Bollywood, and that cannot be a bad thing, can it?!

There are plenty of things I like about Bodyguard.

One of them we knew to expect all along. Few command screen space as Salman (especially) and to a lesser extent, Kareena, and they make a good couple (but you know that if you've seen their 2005 film Kyon Ki).  Kareena’s wardrobe is really quite good (look, I’ve said before that I really dig traditional Indian attire, and bits of her dress here are similar to her style in Jab We Met (2007), which I'll take 10 times of 10 on any actress out there). Kareena does well (as does...gasp...her sister Karisma!), as does her friend, although there are moments one just wants to punch each in her face. (Of course I mean that as a joke, lest you accuse Salman fans of being violent. But it's cool -- we've heard it all by now. :D)

Salman’s at the point now where we can safely begin to elevate his action-hero status from ‘best among active’ to ‘legendary among all-time’. No kidding. Check out these videos of the response to Salman’s entry in the movie, and the level of interaction in a song, for instance. (Thank you Dunkdaft and Jess for sharing!) Let these be your guide to what kind of movie to expect.

It's this kind of interaction that has long been a Bollywood hallmark, and it's nice to see it being kept alive in the made-for-cinema movies that Salman does.

The blend of comedy, drama, and action is just right for the movie they’re all in. I wonder how much Salim Khan (Salman’s father, that's Salim of Salim-Javed) being script consultant, as credited, increased the likelihood the script wouldn’t be full of gaps so big one could fit Tsunami Singhs through them. There's always that risk that a movie such as this would have plenty, and while this does have its share of unresolved issues, it knows well where to focus and guides its audience with it seamlessly.

We could all go on and on about things that fit the movie well and those that do not, but a Salman movie defies the norm and sets its own standards. The takeaway here is that if even part of you is a fan of his, you will enjoy Bodyguard. The dude looks fresh and like he is having more fun than in a very long time. I'll gladly light a cigar in honor of his persistence and belief in his profession and brand of cinema, through the years, having been rewarded with such massive hits in succession. It's only fair, and it's only further testament to his being the biggest Superstar Khan within India.

Please don’t let my fondness of Salman or the film imply I don’t subscribe to intellectualism as a conscious effort to elevate the self and community – some ‘commercial’ movies warrant more intellect in their consumption, unbeknownst to those who just love to hate good old Salman and dismiss his films as low-brow. (This includes most critics, of course.)

So, since I like to hypothesize about all things Hindi film, here are some more takeaways and lessons learned, followed by a question which is the subject of my latest poll:

1. Bodyguard is Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) for guys;

2. Katrina Kaif can specialize in special appearances;

3. Biceps are to Salman what eyebrows are to Rekha;

4. Salman is still the Bollywood style icon;

5. Can we get Salman on a Cat next time? (Ek Tha Tiger (2012) with Kat might offer a good opportunity, perhaps?) and

6. I really quite like the title song (trailer below) fitting!

And finally...
A quick poll -- please vote in the sidebar (top-right) and/or comment: Which of Wanted, Dabangg, and Bodyguard did you enjoy most (and why)? 


Movie Rating: 4/5 (Excellent!)
Pure fun. Unadulterated Bollywood entertainment.

Music Rating: 3/5 (Above Average)
The only thing missing from each of Salman’s latest blockbusters is very good music. They’ll get it right some time. Himesh Reshammiya and Pritam have done way better.

My Classification: PG-13
For violence.  Family-friendly otherwise.

Official Website (and picture source):


Filmi Girl said...

I voted for Bodyguard!! While I really enjoyed the other two, this one felt the most "complete" to me.

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you Filmi Girl! I agree with you on the completeness of Bodyguard. Saw this on Saturday and thought so, and by now I know my opinion wasn't entirely impulsive. :)

Just read your great review and linked to it in the post. Cheers!

maxqnz (via Twitter) said...

Loved your review of Bodyguard,confirmed that I want to see it. Downside of its HUGE B.O take will be delayed DVD release.

Jess said...

I vote Dabangg. Its the first time I saw him in a movie and thought he was kinda hot...I like Salman when he is dressed well and put together. I also like the way all the songs in Dabangg had the same look that the film did.

theBollywoodFan said...

Maxqnz: I wish you could see this in a packed theater. I'm convinced the experience of viewing Salman Khan films in a packed Indian movie theater is the closest we can get to seeing Amitabh films in packed theaters -- great experience!

The Mighty Mango said...

I agree: nothing wrong with pure entertainment fun. I said the same thing about Ready when I saw it at the beginning of the summer. Sometimes we all need a little masala fun, and I don't think I've seen anyone do it quite like Sallu.

Curious, though, why exactly do you call it the K2H2 for guys?

theBollywoodFan said...

Jess! Interesting bit about the songs in Dabangg being of a similar look, you're right. What did you think of Salman's wardrobe in Bodyguard? Thanks for the vote. Cheers!

theBollywoodFan said...

The Mighty Mango! Between your comment and those of friends I saw Bodyguard with, I cannot wait to see 'Ready' soon.

I think I've told you'll be interesting to get your take on older Sallu films. As for K2H2 for guys, I think the story line in the last 20 minutes or so, combined with the likability factor associated with something more than simply a love story, plus the Sallu connection, led to that thought.

Put more bluntly...perhaps I can finally appreciate a squee for K2H2 now. :D

Jess said...

I thought Salman looked great in Bodyguard, especially in those tall boots! He looked really well put together. He looked good in Ready too. In Wanted his clothing/look are the only thing I really disliked--long hair, ripped jeans etc.

theBollywoodFan said...

I liked some of the polo shirts he wore, and some of those t-shirts Tsunami Singh wore were hilarious! ("Six Pack Coming Soon!")

Also, while on the subject, I have to say I think Salman has, through 20 years and more now, worn awesome sunglasses. 8)

cmleigh (via Twitter) said...

Someone at the movie yesterday was saying "no no no" out loud when the little boy was throwing the book in the trash.

theBollywoodFan said...

cmleigh: Nice!

It would not have been the same without him figuring out the source of those phone calls.

ApunBindaas said...

I've once compared Sallu to action heros like The Rock & Vin Diesel, yes, I agree, Sallu is He-Man.

theBollywoodFan said...

Nikki: Not that he hasn't played other forms of superheroes, but it would be nice to have him play a conventional superhero just once!

Moimeme said...

Hi, great review! I was waiting for it since last night -- I saw BG w/ cmleigh, and she told me some of your reactions.

On your poll, I voted for Dabangg. Reason -- it was a very well-written and directed film, and was pretty much flawless in its execution. And it finally gave Salman an actual character to play, and one with enough complexity to make it interesting. I find too many of Salman's producers and directors all too willing to rely on his charisma and screen presence to see them through, instead of putting in the work to create a full character for him to play. I really liked his acting as Lovely Singh (main highlight of the film for me), but he was not as demanding a character to portray as Chulbul.

You haven't seen Ready yet? I think you'll really enjoy that one, too.

(BTW, I've commented here before as mm.)

Mette said...

Only seen Dabangg, so... Well, Bodyguard scares me off. I'm not really into Salman, pee jokes and anti-gay-jokes.

Anonymous said...

Nice review Nawabji! I saw Bodyguard this past week and really enjoyed it. Your question about which of the latest 3 Salman southie remakes (Wanted, Dabaang, Bodyguard) is my favorite is a good one and I’ve voted after some thought. Sallu has a solid performance in each of the films, he makes it look so easy, na? I saw Wanted and have seen 2 of the 3 Pokirii films, the Pokiri Telugu original from ’06 with Mahesh Babu and the Tamil Pokkiri from ’07. Wonder if I should see the Kannada Pokiri, just to polish off all of them. Of those films I thought Mahesh Babu’s was best, but Salman’s a close second and loved it. Yet that’s not the question….I voted for Dabangg, for not only his performance but also for Sonu Sood and Sonakshi Sinha, both of whom I love! Bodyguard was a lot of fun and I think without Kareena and Salman, it would be a pretty stale movie; it’s their star power that drives the film for me. I loved Kareena’s clothing by the way. I could have done without the Tsunami “humor” plot and would have liked more of Karina’s friend, Hazel Keech. I do love Mahesh “MAKE ME A SANDWIIIIICH!” Manjrekar, but ever since Slumdog Millionaire, I only want to hear him say “MAKE ME A SANDWIIIIICH!” thus I get let down. ;) The main reason I choose Debangg is that its music pushes it over the finish line for the win! I can never give full credit to Himish and Pritam music, even when I love it, and I’ve even been humming and singing “Teri Meri” since it was released and adored finally seeing it picturized in the film, lekin still the Debangg music wins, so the filum jeet hai! I love Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & Shreya Ghosal in “Teri Meri” but love them even more in "Tere Mast Mast Do Nain.” For some crazy reason, there was never a theatrical release for Debangg in Minneapolis, so I was only able to see Debangg small screen style hai, but I still got chills when I saw "Tere Mast Mast Do Nain” picturized thus Debangg for the win! ( I had to take credit from Bodyguard, since it’s still so fresh in my mind in order to make the question fair to judge.)
All the best!

Filmi Girl said...

I liked some of the polo shirts he wore, and some of those t-shirts Tsunami Singh wore were hilarious! ("Six Pack Coming Soon!")

Exaaaaaaactly! So funny! I think there was one that said "I'm in shape. Round is a shape."

The funny T-shirts reminded me of an Imran Khan film. ;)

theBollywoodFan said...

Moimeme: Thank you for your visit and comment! Cmleigh had mentioned that you all were going to see it together, hope you had fun!

Great reasons for Dabangg, and I see your point about Chulbul Pandey being a more complex character than Lovely Singh. It was certainly a more challenging role for Salman. It showed. But I really like Lovely's straightforwardness and his singular focus in purpose.

I have not seen Ready, and I am *SO* ready to see it! :) Thanks for the reminder. Again, thanks for stopping by.

theBollywoodFan said...

Mette: How did you like Dabangg?

In Bodyguard, there's exactly one instance of the mere mention of the biological function, from what I recall, and it's not used as a joke. There are no anti-gay jokes as well. There is one scene with a (presumably) homosexual guy checking out Salman, which is understandable even for a heterosexual guy :D and I wouldn't factor that too much.

If I heard about these from somewhere, I'd be skeptical. For the restroom humor, I point you to the 'supposedly' intellectual-friendly Delhi Belly. :D

Thank you for your visit and comment!

theBollywoodFan said...

Adab Sita-ji! Thanks for the vote. You have far more insight than I to this set of movies by Salman, especially since you're familiar with the originals.

I have to agree that this would be a stale movie without Salman and Kareena. If there was one slightly weak link, it was Tsunami, despite some genuinely funny moments. He might have been overused by a couple scenes, but it's not that I would complain too much about it. It would have been nice to have seen a more formal resolution to the Tsunami-Savita side story. Kinda like Manohar in Maine Pyar Kiya!

Hazel was interesting. I liked how they used her but a bit more character development would've been great too. For some reason, I kept thinking back to Kambakkht Ishq and Kareena's supporting actress there.

Of all the newer Salman works, I've liked the music to three of the least successful movies! Yuvvraaj, London Dreams, and Veer, in that order. :D Probably in the minority when it comes to not liking Dabangg's music much. Definitely agree on Sonakshi, it's always cool to see a woman with curves! Haaye Allah! ;)

And I'll end on that note, then. Thanks SO much for your visit and comment. Cool song, this!

theBollywoodFan said...

Filmi Girl! You got it. Imran Khan is usually wearing a cool T-shirt, I quite liked the ones he wore in his 2010 movies 'I Hate Luv Storys' and 'Break Ke Baad'. Are you excited about 'Mere Brother Ki Dulhan' coming this Friday?

Jess said...

For the cool T-shirts, let's not forget Wake Up Sid. Every scene I was looking to see what was on his shirt lol.

Anonymous said...

Btw TheBollywoodFan any news about Aamir's next film??? :( did you guys forget him,

The Mighty Mango said...

Ready was HILARIOUS. I really want to watch it again to see if I laugh as hard as I did in the theater.

And yes, I really need to watch older Sallu films. Among the 500 million other things I need to watch! (I did, by the way, watch Andaz Apna Apna; it was hilarious. The type of humor involved actually reminds me a lot of my dad and the kind of humor I grew up with.)

And considering I didn't really understand the last 20 minutes because of the no subtitles... I guess I can't comment on that. lol. Thanks to Google, I *kind* of get it, but still not completely clear on all of the details.

But I'm glad it gave you an added appreciation for K2H2. You know that's my favorite movie. :)

Anonymous said...

And speaking of the cool graphic t-shirt thing, I think of that as a southie thing too, since there seem to be many more multiple shirt changes in those films, especially the Telugu films, isn't it? When I think t-sirt changes I think Bunny.(right Nicki?)
All the best,

theBollywoodFan said...

Jess: Wake Up Sid's another great film, although I'll admit to being more into Bombay than anything else there. :D t-shirts, cool cars!

theBollywoodFan said...

Anonymous: Thanks for sharing your order. Aamir's next film, you say? I think it's this project with Rani Mukherjee, also starring Kareena in a very different role (a supernatural force, perhaps?)...I think they're calling it 'Dhuaan' but don't quote me on that.

I've been a fan of Aamir and Salman through more than two-thirds of my life, and I'm in my late twenties. There's no forgetting either. ;)

theBollywoodFan said...

The Mighty Mango: Glad you enjoyed Andaz Apna Apna!!! You're welcome to ask away about the last 20 minutes of Bodyguard, I'd be happy to fill in any blanks. :)

Nicki said...

I must watch BODYGUARD very soon! I cannot wait but I have to wait for it on dvd. I'm not a huge fan of the Telugu Ready so I haven't watched Sallu's version. I plan to soon though, I might as well! I want a good Hindi masala and I think Sallu will deliver!

It's not Bunny who always wear those graphic tees. I think Aftab wears a lot of them in public, not in movies.

Bunny is usually stylish and dresses very well. The graphic tees, I do see more in South Indian movies.

veracious said...

Come DVD release, I'll let you know how I feel. So far, I know I love Wanted and loved Dabangg as well, so I'm feeling positive about this film for sure!

And loving the vids of people dancing in the theater. I need to do more of that in my home theater!

maxqnz said...

FINALLY saw this over the weekend. My wife and I were both in stitches at the wildly camp/homoerotic picturisation for the title track, and after that, I settled down to watch 2 hours of Bebo looking drop dead gorgeous, sullied only by the annoying Tsunami "comedy" schtick. There was plenty enough comedy already in the fight scenes, we didn't need anything else taking screentime away from Bebo.

theBollywoodFan said...

Nicki, Veracious, and Maxqnz: Do excuse my very very late reply here. I'm finally catching up with comments here.

theBollywoodFan said...

Nicki: I want good Hindi masala and I think Sallu will deliver!

Very true! This has been true for a while and it's holding up over a few years, now.

theBollywoodFan said...

Veracious: So...what did you think? I'd love to check out some of the action in single screen theaters -- this is wild fun and at least I haven't seen it since the Amitabh days!

theBollywoodFan said...

Maxqnz: I quite agree the movie could've done without Tsunami.

Also agree on Bebo. Interesting bit is, and I don't think I'm going on impulse here, but Kats in Ek Tha Tiger gives Bebo in Bodyguard a run for her money in every respect. (I don't mean to rub it in, you'll get to ETT soon enough my friend! :)