If you have watched Siddique's Bodyguard already, there is still every reason why you should go for Gopichand Malineni's Bodyguard. If not for anything, to watch Venkatesh and Trisha deliver restrained performances. For all its rom-com feel and action caper atmospherics, Bodyguard is a pleasant emotional rollercoaster pepped up by the cinematic elements such as music. Frankly, in an era of ostentatious and overblown potboilers/thrillers, this film offers the much-needed break and relief. There is no exaggerated heroism, no artificial emotions, no synthetic dialogues, no forced scenes and no pointless interludes. This heart-warming emotional journey is subdued and quintessentially slice-of-life.
Venkatesh comes as Venkatadri, who worships Varadarajula Naidu (Prakash Raj), who had saved him from an accident when he was a child. He grows up to be a bodyguard in a private security agency. On the orders of Tanikella Bharani, a relative as well as his boss, he goes to Jammalamadugu to offer security to Naidu, whose life is threatened by Kota Srinivasa Rao's family. As destiny would have it, he ends up being the bodyguard of Keerthi (Trisha), Naidu's daughter, whose life is also in danger. They make a move to the city to study in the college. The dutiful Venkatadri follows her everywhere, and this peeves Keerthi, who wants privacy.
To divert his attention from her, Keerthi plots a scheme. She starts phone-flirting Venkatadri, and, predictably, they soon fall in love with each other before they know it. But, Keerthi can't tell Venky that she is the caller, because she is not only afraid if Venky will reject her, but also because she fears her father's displeasure. After much dithering and undergoing emotional turmoil, she decides to elope with him.
What happens next? Will they elope successfully? Will Venkatadri ever come to know the true identity of Bangaram? If yes, when and how?
There is nothing novel about either the climax or the film's grammar of romance. What makes this film special is its slice-of-life quality, credible characterizations, delicate emotions and skilfully conceived scenes. Twists come suddenly and change the course of lives. The pain and the dilemmas will connect well with anyone. Characters behave realistically. For example, Keerthi's predicament and conflict are so nicely etched that you will think that any girl in her place would have behaved in that way. Venkatadri falls and rises in love like anybody might have. Bodyguard's heart is at the right place. It is one of the beautiful love stories to have happened in years.
This brings us to Venkatesh's acting output. He is a revelation here. With his youthful exuberance and characteristic simplicity, he lends a touch of maturity to the film. He emerges as one of the most promising actors in Telugu cinema and surprises us with his brilliant performance. He is at his expressive best in crucial scenes and romantic best in songs. If the first prize goes to Venkatesh, the second prize goes to Trisha, who does full justice to her role. Kudos to her ability to do sparkling as well as sobbing acts with ease. She is doubtlessly one of the best actresses we have in South India.
Saloni as Trisha's friend could have been better. She is not involved when the focus of the camera is not on her. Prakash Raj is confident, Ali is routine. In a film where expressions do the most talking, Kona Venkat's dialogues are up-to-the-mark. Suffice it to say that all other departments (cinematography, editing, costumes, etc) are alright.
Gopichand has shown maturity since Dubai Seenu. However, he may need to avoid cliched comedy (Venu Madhav evokes laughter, but the comedy, generally speaking, is off-mark. Venkatesh and Ali in the guise of women were bland; even toiler humour could have been avoided) and lengthy fights. Otherwise, full marks to him for taking up a challenging story and doing it with a middle-aged actor so very convincingly.
Thaman's music is an asset, and he proves that given the right situations, he can cook up the right music. Re-recording is inspiring.
Watch Bodyguard for the emotional scenes, the chemistries, the earthiness, the multi-dimensional characters (read Venkatadri and Keerthi) and the delicate emotions.
Released on: 14th Jan, 2012