At 9.20pm, the lane leading to the G7 theatre complex is packed. Not a single car moves, the parking lot at the theatre is overflowing. People walk past us dressed in shiny, new clothes. Some ladies in the adjacent car fix their makeup. We are going to be late for our 9.30pm show. “Why did you book tickets at Gaiety again?” asked a friend.
“Because it’s fun,” I say as we sway our way through the dense crowd standing outside the cinema. They cast us an envious look. For they aren’t getting to watch their bhai on the big screen.
As for us, we are sandwiched between hardcore bhai fans. At 10.03pm, we are in our seats and the credits are rolling. The cheer of the crowd goes up and falls to silence as a female voice retells her love story. The cheer comes back as soon as Salman Khan bursts on to the screen flexing his muscles, dancing with Katrina Kaif, shortly before jumping out of the train and then onto another before reaching a dockyard to rescue girls being shipped to Thailand.
Even though the sheer stupidity of the action sequence has us laughing, we are willing to admit we are mildly entertained. Not by the film, but by the audience’s reaction. Every time a goon manages to hit Sallubhai, the crowd groans. The film slowly progresses, with more cheers for Kareena Kapoor. And slowly and steadily the crowd starts to quiet down.
Enter some silly jokes, and the audience collectively roars with laughter. More insensitive jokes about a midget, the crowd roars louder. Enter one more song. Whistles, cheers, and a few people, as we can see right below us in the stalls, start dancing in the aisles.
So far, the activity in the theatre has been more entertaining than the film itself. Not surprising at all. The film drags on, and the audience around us is only happy to be dragged. The interval comes as a welcome break and a psychedelic print does a dance on the screen. The crowd around us makes way across aisles “Eid Milo”, they scream over and above the Singham title track. As the track switches to Badmaash Dil from the Ajay Devgn starrer (which was a wannabe Dabangg) we hear the nostalgic ring of the bottle opener being struck against glass bottles.
Yes, this is fun. But as soon as the film starts, we find ourselves groaning. If it wasn’t for the true-blue Salman fans at Gaiety, it would have been impossible to endure Bodyguard.