Sunday, July 22, 2012

A solid list of solidly okay films: Paiyaa, Bodyguard.

Paiyaa (2010) is your standard Tamil action entertainer with a bit of a twist: the story begins with Shiva (Karthi ie Surya's brother) pretending to be a driver to the girl of his dreams (Tamanna). Pretty soon it turns out she's in in a spot of trouble, and he offers to drive her wherever she needs to go. During the road trip, they learn things about one another, fall in love, and she discovers that - surprise surprise! - he's also got some goons coming after her.

It's a fun little film, but it's nothing amazing. I like Tamanna, and didn't dislike Karthi (this film introduced me to him) and the songs were quite sweet, but after the recommendation by the DVD store clerk, I think I expected something a bit more than an okay film. Regardless, it's a fine effort and probably one I'd have liked more, had my expectations been more reasonable. I think the interesting premise made me want the film to be better than it was, or maybe it was just that this one didn't quite click with me the right way.

The expression "made more money than God" always struck me as peculiar, as surely God's not that big into human capitalist pursuits? Isn't the whole point of religion to rise above materialist desires? Regardless of these logical flaws it's safe to say that Bodyguard made more money than God (if God was to make money .. yeah, I'll just drop this here). I watched it last December and of course completely forgot to review it.

True to Salman's new renaissance as the Southie hero who just happens to be making films in Hindi, this one is actually a remake of a 2010 Malayalam film of the same name. The plot is fairly simple - Lovely B. Singh (Salman) gets hired as bodyguard to protect Divya (Kareena Kapoor). Divya is annoyed by Lovely constantly tailing her, so she starts calling him to distract him from his duties, and pretends to be a girl called Chhaya. Through this little riff, the two fall in love - the film is essentially a romantic comedy wrapped in an action film shell, because there's no way Salman can *not* release a can of whoopass on some bad guys in his films these days.

But what really makes the film worth watching are the last twenty-thirty minutes or so..

I think it's curious that Bodyguard became such an unbelievably huge hit in all accounts. It's a solid film, no doubt, but to me it's not really as good as other similar recent Salman films, like Dabangg or Wanted, both of which I loved, and have rewatched many times. Maybe it's more that the success of the aforementioned films (alongside stuff like Ready which I wasn't a fan of) lead to this super-heightened moment of absolute Salman paagalpan across India. Regardless, it's certainly good enough for one viewing occasion - if only to try and see what made it such an absolute phenomenon.

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