Cast: Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Raj Babbar, Rajat Rawail, Hazel Keech
Storyline: A bodyguard falls in love with a mysterious caller over the phone
Bottomline: Salman makes this tighter remake work
Salman Khan has clearly figured a way out to play it safe at the box office. Take films that have done really well from the South and then Salman-ise them with elements that fans expect from his films.
Though the original film (Bodyguard in Malayalam, Kavalan in Tamil) was a sappy, long-winded drama that relied solely on the twist at the end to deliver, here the twist is just an excuse to wrap up another full-blown Sallu showcase.
Like Salman really needed an excuse to take of his shirt and shift the attention from script to his body, this film gives him enough reason to go flex his muscles. So, right from the moment he’s introduced when he’s doing the muscle-dance, flaunting his biceps, he’s doing what he does best – the gym routine.
He’s walks around like the Hulk, fights bad guys and sends them flying and bullets never seem to find him, even if his frame occupies two thirds of the screen. Sallu is Lovely Singh, a bodyguard assigned to protect Divya (Kareena Kapoor) who prank calls him from an unidentified number, the series of phone calls leading to an unlikely old-fashioned romance where Lovely does not care what she looks like because love does not stem from the eyes, it stems from the heart.
If a playing a Bodyguard does not let him do all that he does in other films anyway, what will? There’s a scene where he slips into uniform that’s loose and works out just to fit into it. That says everything you need to know about the film. It isn’t a tailor-made role for Salman. It’s Salman filling out an already designed loose shirt with his muscle.
The writers haven’t been able to write many punch-lines this time? Does not matter. Salman will manage saying the same line three times in the film. “Do me a favour. Do me no favour.” Never mind if it makes him sound indecisive. But surprisingly, Salman is quite subdued this time and he also gets to put his acting muscle to use when he has to act all soft and sincere.
The laughs are entrusted to debutant Rajat Rawail who brings the house down with physical comedy, his huge frame and flabby torso in drag responsible for most of the laughs while Raj Babbar performs with the gusto of an eighties villain in a role that would have ideally preferred Amrish Puri.
It’s the Salman version of a Karan Johar film of the nineties that is bound to be compared with the sappiness of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, given the drama at the end and another few-year-old almost saying “Tussi Mat Jao,” a cue for the ladies in the hall to weep silently.
Kareena puts in an effortless performance (her sister Karishma has dubbed for the phone call portions of the film for her) and looks absolutely ravishing in the ‘Teri Meri’ song placed before the climax. If the film works even somewhat, it is because of the presence the leads command. Kareena and Salman raise the game to a different level and this remake is probably the best this script can be.
So please, Siddique. Don’t make this again in another language. We have endured enough already.
(This review originally appeared here)