I am a regular at the Eros Cinema at Churchgate. In the last 43 months of my stay in Mumbai, I must have seen the watchman at the theatre for not less than a 100 times. That’s not a small number of encounters to know what someone is thinking while looking at his face, as they say your face is the mirror of your mind. Since I have met this watchman often, I can now tell while entering the theatre as how a film is faring even without having to ask him. He is a pleasant old man with a stubble, which I think is not deliberate, but because of his irregular shaving habit. He smiles at me when I meet him almost every weekend, however, today he did not return my smile.
Today neither did I have to ask him or look at his face to know how was the film faring since people were swarming outside the theatre for the 6.45 pm show of Bodyguard.
It was Sunday and since the film had released on Wednesday, I had thought that reaching the theatre at 6.30 pm was good enough to get two tickets for the evening show, but the show was sold out. The guy selling tickets at ‘black’ rates outside the theatre told me in a husky voice that even the night show was ‘houseful’. He had two tickets, which he offered at double the price. I could only imagine that he had lost his voice on account of the brisk business he had done in the last 5 days. I did not want to watch a Salman Khan film in a multiplex or at multiplex ticket rates, so I excused myself and went to my familiar watchman. The reason for him not smiling was obvious, he was unable to help, but offered terrific insider information. The night show was not yet sold out and I could check at 9 pm when the ticket window would re-open.
I, however, wanted to try harder and went to Roxy theatre near Opera House, where they had an 8 pm show. The scene was identical there with a guy selling tickets at double the price. I guess that’s the power/aura/charm/superstardom of Salman Khan. Or is it just his good time? He is undoubtedly making double amounts of hay while the sun is shining bright.
Back from Roxy to Eros I finally got an opportunity to watch the brawny Bodyguard bash up baddies. There were whistles galore and applause was thunderous when Salman Khan’s sculpted biceps danced in the opening sequence. All burqas were up in darkness of the hall to cheer for the bhaai.
Critics have trashed the film, rating it between 1 and 3 on a scale of 0 to 5. However, for me, this is the pinnacle of Hindi masala film. Bodyguard has 3 very hummable songs, excellent action sequences and romance which is all put together in a storyline which is beyond the realms of logic. But isn’t that the USP of our masala movies which we love? Bodyguard is a hugely entertaining film and it promises you just that. It is an entertainer without much stress on understanding the levels and nuances or the plot.
The film has already rocked the Box Office and made people and the makers of the people laugh. As I walked out of the theatre, the watchman was still there at the gate. This time around he returned my smile.