KOCHI: Many Malayalees fancied becoming a bodyguard after watching the blockbuster 'Bodyguard', starring Dileep and directed by Siddique. Even in real life, Malayalees do not seem to mind facing up to the risks involved in becoming a bodyguard. Perhaps it is also the dearth of job opportunities in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis that has prompted a huge response to a Thrissur-based company's newspaper advertisement seeking a male bodyguard for its managing director. Interestingly, nearly 400 candidates have turned up for an interview over the past few days. Some Gulf returnees too have applied.
But getting the job isn't as simple as showing off martial arts skills or a muscular body. The company has put in place a tough screening process that includes an IQ test to select the best. Though personal bodyguards are not a new concept in Kerala, with a few celebrities and wealthy persons keeping their own personal protection staff who also double up as their drivers, rarely is an advertisement given for the post of a bodyguard.
"It's not just about physical strength. Rather we are looking at a candidate who is presentable, educated, intelligent and without any criminal background," said Jayaprakash, an official with the New Year Group of Companies.
"After we gave the advertisement, nearly 400 candidates have approached us and a majority of them have an educational qualification of Plus Two and above. The first round of screening is in progress and the managing director will select the right candidate after personally interviewing candidates from the final list. As we are getting applications from many Gulf returnees, we are insisting on a COVID-19 negative certificate to attend the interview," he said.
Generally, bodyguards are appointed through private security agencies which submit a list of candidates for clients to pick one or two of their choice. "People in Kerala rarely opt for full-time personal bodyguards," said Sajeev K M, senior general manager, Ravenbeck Security India Limited.
"Clients seek the services of bodyguards if they feel a threat to their lives and to ward off trouble makers. There are specially trained personnel with arms licences for personal protection. Such specialists are deployed for VIP protection at public events and also when there are requests for personal bodyguards," he added.