Ek Tha Tiger
Direction: Kabir Khan
Actors: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ranvir Shorey, Girish Karnad
Ek Tha Tiger is Salman Khan’s best film since Dabangg. But because his last two films were Ready and Bodyguard, the bar is not exactly high. Still, Ek Tha Tiger has more of a story as well as greater coherence and emotion than both those films put together.
Director and co-writer Kabir Khan takes the larger-than-life Salman Khan persona and wraps it in an engaging story that services it. Of course it’s played out like a comic book but if you’re willing to suspend disbelief there’s fun to be had.
Salman is Tiger, a super-heroic RAW agent who sprints, shoots and crunches bones without a glimmer of worry or sweat. He’s also smarter than the ISI baddies he’s up against, all of which is established in a kick-ass opening sequence that has nothing to do with the film.
But he is only half a James Bond; unlike 007, Tiger has no women. In fact, he hasn’t taken leave in 12 years. But then, a mission involving anti-missile technology takes him to Dublin, where he meets Zoya, played by Katrina Kaif. Tiger’s steely resolve is no match for her beguiling smile.
The intrigue goes for a toss and we move into-full blown romance.
I don’t want to reveal the plot but the love story doesn’t halt the action. The globe-trotting continues from Dublin to Istanbul to Havana.
Tiger continues in his superhuman mode, at one point even stopping a tram with his brute strength. But what’s enjoyable is that Katrina also kicks butt.
It’s such a pleasure to see a Hindi film heroine not playing a damsel in distress. The action, choreographed by Markos Rounthwaite and Conrad E Palmisano, is spectacular.
There are chases on terraces, runaway trams and lots of smashed cars. It does tend to go on and on. In places I got really exhausted.
But the screenplay by Kabir and Neelesh Misra requires Salman to emote and play a character. Thankfully, he makes an effort. Of course, he is always in invincible hulk mode -- yes, there is a brief shot of him taking his shirt off -- but there is also sweetness and a touch of vulnerability, especially when he first meets Zoya.
He seems almost perplexed as he falls in love. Katrina doesn’t have enough to work with but she works hard to give Zoya some weight. Their romance seems effortless.
In places, Ek Tha Tiger becomes downright silly. So the modus operandi might be to think of it as a fairy tale with spies and guns. And enjoy the ride.