Bodyguard is a Hindi reproduction of a Malayalam and then Tamil film directed by Siddique, this film’s director, but still has the power to move you. It makes the Salman persona straightforward, honourable and likeable, something no film has done to this actor in a long time.
Interestingly, Mr Khan has done a little work on his role. Maybe the lovely Lavale campus of Symbiosis, where large parts of the film were shot, inspired Lovely Singh (Salman), the bodyguard of a student there called Divya (Kareena Kapoor), to do so. He looks good for a change, this bizarre movie star; smart uniform, arms akimbo, stiff and conscientious to a fault. Temperamentally, too, he is unusually sweet and accommodating.
When a pompous teacher holds forth on ‘the benefits of globalisation’, you want to sock him in the jaw, but Lovely is polite and waits outside till the excruciating lecture is over. The only time he gets hot under the collar is when villainous gentlemen arrive to interrupt Divya’s academic schedule. Then he does a Rajinikanth on them and levitates like a crouching tiger (or hidden dragon) to send these enemies of Divya’s father, a 1970s style patriarch (Raj Babbar), to kingdom come.
True, the comedy in the movie, all revolving around a grossly overweight sidekick called Tsunami (Rajat Rawail), is stupid. True, the love story between student and bodyguard stretches credibility. But the twist in the tale is surprisingly emotional.
Credit must go to the adorable little boy who turns up at the end and to Divya’s college roommate, Maya (Hazel Keech), a quiet, personable and very attractive girl who may have stolen the picture from the heroine.
Within the genre of ‘one-man-show melodramas’, there is a fine balance between action and conversation. Most films make safe bets and tip the action scales. But by bringing in the softer side of Salman, Bodyguard has reeled naysayers in and increased the movie’s longevity.