Bodyguard and a Cheetah

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The 2010 Bollywood movie, Bodyguard, features a Ashok Leyland Cheetah in the shade of purple and white. A Maharashtra Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) Hirkani bus, the Cheetah is shown ferrying lead actor Salman Khan, a bodyguard by profession, on an assignment to protect a girl called Divya, played by Kareena Kapoor. He has been contracted by Divya’s father to protect her from his enemies. Indebted by the help offered by Divya’s father to his mother before he was born, it is an assignment that Salman cannot refuse. He sets on a journey to Divya’s place in the Cheetah. Representing the semi-luxury inter-city public transport buses MSRTC operates, the Hirkani with Salman in it is shown coming to halt under a thick shade of trees by the roadside. The location is claimed to be on the outskirts of Satara in Maharashtra. A comic character in the movie, Tsunami Singh, runs to board the bus as it comes to a halt. He stumbles and falls flat on his face. This attracts the attention of all those on the bus, including Salman. Once on board, the two strike conversation and become friends.

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Featuring a large grille, the Ashok Leyland Cheetah, with a smaller front overhang, is claimed to be preferred by State Transport Undertakings (STUs) because it can seat more people. With a wheelbase of 5870 mm, the Cheetah is powered by a Hino H-series engine that develops 160 hp and 180 hp. High torque is known to present the bus with good agility to tackle hilly terrains. Transmission is six-speed syncromesh with overdrive. Weighing 15-tonnes, the suspension of Cheetah is made up of leaf spring and shock absorbers. Offering a 2×2 layout, the Cheetah Hirkanis, off-late, are said to be fitted with air suspension at the rear. Seating 35 people, the Cheetahs that MSRTC has recently inducted in its fleet are said to have been fitted with comfortable push-back seats. Mostly those that ply on the Pune-Mumbai and Pune-Kolhapur routes. A historical brand from Ashok Leyland, Cheetahs make the main stay of many STUs

in India.