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Critics Report: Ek Tha Tiger burning bright

Salman Khan's Ek Tha Tiger, a romantic thriller about an Indian secret agent codenamed Tiger, hits theatres today. And critics have given a thumbs up to the film with a flare!REVIEWS INSIDE

bollywood Updated: Aug 15, 2012 18:02 IST
Salman Khan,Katrina Kaif,Tiger

Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ranvir Shorey, Girish Karnad and Roshan Seth

Director: Kabir Khan

Plot Synopsis:
A romantic thriller which tells the story of an Indian secret agent, codenamed Tiger (Salman Khan), who is sent to find out about the activities of a Trinity College scientist suspected of selling missile technology secrets to Pakistan. Tiger falls in love with the professor's caretaker Zoya (Katrina Kaif) who is studying at a fictional dance academy located at TCD, and together they embark on a roller-coaster journey that takes them from Dublin to Istanbul then to Kazakhstan and Chile.

Critics give a thumbs up to the film with a flare!

SalmanTaran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama

Rating: 4.5/5

Is Ek Tha Tiger at par/better than the previous Salman starrers? All I'd say is that the comparisons, though inevitable, are erroneous. As a standalone film, Ek Tha Tiger is enthralling and most significantly, an entertaining motion picture. On the exterior, it is a compelling love story/thriller. But beneath the entertainment that it offers, it carries a message as well. Loud and clear. If the spectators can see through the coating, great. Even if they don't, they will yet go back in high spirits.

Kabir Khan's direction is thoughtful, focused and never goes off-track. In fact, Ek Tha Tiger takes the detective genre in Hindi movies to a fresh altitude. Besides, Kabir and co-writer Neelesh Mishra open the cards gradually and the highpoint is the interval point when Salman unravels something shocking. Post interval, the film throws one surprise after another and it reaches its crescendo in the concluding stages, with the climax making a solid impression.

Blemishes? Not really, but, yes, the leisurely unfurling of the love story in the first hour slackens the narrative occasionally. Since the sequences are so cute and the fact that the ones performing them are Salman and Katrina, one doesn't really mind it, actually.

When you have Salman in a movie titled Ek Tha Tiger, the director doesn't need to convince the audience that he is a tiger. Salman looks the part! Clutching the thriller with his dynamic presence and performance, Salman is, without doubt, the lifeline of this film. He pulls off the part with flamboyance. Also, he brings in so much visceral rousing energy to the film, every time he appears on the screen. Salman and Katrina pair up after a hiatus in Ek Tha Tiger and their chemistry is electrifying. Though an out-and-out Salman starrer, Katrina is not relegated to the backseat. Neither is she Salman's arm candy here. She has a meaty part and to her credit, she handles it with aplomb. Also, watch out for her stunts... This is a new Katrina here!

Girish Karnad is excellent. Ranvir Shorey is first-rate. His scenes with Salman are truly wonderful. Roshan Seth is adequate.

On the whole, Ek Tha Tiger is a high-octane thriller that works big time. This one has style and substance, both, besides dazzling action, stunning international locales and stylish execution. Most importantly, it has Salman Khan, the trump card of this enterprise. There's no denying that Salman's charisma has resulted in a mind-blowing, astounding, never-seen-before start at the ticket window, but the film's content will sustain it thereafter. The film has long legs to prolong its splendid run. This is, without doubt, Salman's best. Sure shot Blockbuster!

Roshni Devi,

KatrinaRating: 3/5 stars

Considering that it’s a YRF product, the rest of the movie has enough romance, action and chase sequences to look forward to. Can Zoya and Tiger make it? Watch the movie for the ultimate twist in the tale.

Aditya Chopra’s story smartly mixes a spy thriller with a love story which is sort of exciting. Kabir Khan and Neelesh Misra’s script has its share of flaws. The story of the scientist in the first half shows Tiger quite inept as a spy and isn’t even given a proper conclusion. Also, why RAW decides to help their rogue agent Tiger towards the end is up to the viewers to decide. The movie also seems a bit long with the duo on the run most of the time. Dialogues are good and keep a good dose of humour.

Also, you heave a sigh of relief to see a movie that talks about Pakistan and India and doesn’t indulge in jingoism or have a long patriotic tirade about Mera Desh.

Salman Khan is good as Tiger except that his expressions can seem a bit blank at times. Katrina Kaif is lovely as Zoya and smoothly carries off her bubbly and emotional scenes. Though Ranvir Shorey doesn’t have much screen time as Tiger’s comrade Gopi, he is wonderful in his role. Girish Karnad performs well as Tiger’s boss, Shenoy.

Verdict: For those asking, yes, Salman Khan does take off his shirt. Salman fans won’t be disappointed by Ek Tha Tiger. For others, it’s a fun watch even though it’s a bit long. Watch Ek Tha Tiger for Salman Khan at the top of his game and some exciting action scenes.

Gaurav Malani, Times Of India

Verdict: Very Good

Salman Khan is a species that invites admiration and applause in any kind of film format or movie genre. Off late we have seen enough of him in mindless comedies and inflated action flicks. But the Yash Raj banner and, more particularly, director Kabir Khan project him in a sober, suave and sensible way over his patented pedestrian image. And since the film follows a sane storyline over silly slapstick, one is able to appreciate and enjoy it better.

Aditya Chopra sketches his story on the unusual premise of what would happen if an Indian intelligence officer falls in love with a Pakistani spy. The conflicts in the love story come quite naturally through the animosity between the two neighbouring nations, prevalent for decades. On a broader level the film implies how love can overpower all inherent differences. Yet it never makes a very conscious attempt to sound preachy or positive about the state-of-affairs between the countries. Chopra's story is credibly crafted into a riveting screenplay by Neelesh Misra and Kabir Khan.

Director Kabir Khan commendably balances the love story and the spy drama, with each element taking precedence at different junctures in the film as per the requirement.

The beauty of the film is that, though the protagonist goes against his establishment for a girl from a rival country, you still root for him. Their integrity towards each other makes you overlook the fact that the two spies went rogue. Thereby Ek Tha Tiger is more of a rooted romance tale over a mechanical spy-thriller. Where it scores above most Indian espionage flicks (including the recent Agent Vinod) is that fact that though it frequently changes geographical boundaries, the narrative never wanders aimlessly.


Despite a serious spy setup, the film has a very cool sense of humour. The tongue-in-cheek lines often make you smile even in the most unusual circumstances. Aseem Mishra's cinematography lends the film a grace that the genre demands, as he captures the essence of Ireland, Cuba, Istanbul and other countries with elan.Salman Khan carries an urbane charm and looks uber-cool dressed in formals. He is resourcefully restrained sans his customary buffoonery. His acting ability is best exploited in this film after a long long time. Katina Kaif is gorgeous as always and puts in a confident act. Her agility in action sequences adds to her conviction. And more importantly she shares terrific chemistry with Salman Khan, something that was missing in all their earlier pairings. Ranvir Shorey as Salman's associate makes for a good supporting cast. Girish Karnad and Gavie Chahal lend decent support.

Verdict: Ek Tha Tiger, by far, is Salman Khan's most entertaining and accomplished works in recent times. Hope he takes the correct cues from this film and stays away from mediocrity henceforth.


Blessy Chettiar, DNA
Rating: 3/5
For a change, there’s more to Ek Tha Tiger than just comical maar dhaad and a larger than life Salman Khan flattering the audience that loves him so much.

Ek Tha Tiger is an action lover’s paradise. Seconds into the film, when you’ve not even settled well in your seat, there’s cigarette ash settling down on screen in slow motion. Tiger has just thrown his first kick, a signal of his arrival. Not to mention the theatre erupts in applause and mirth seeing their favourite Bhai in his element. Many kicks, jumps, punches and gun shots follow in a soiled, yet beautifully shot Iraq. When Tiger isn’t travelling, he’s busy making neighbours jealous and suspicious of his profession. Then he punches some more so we know all’s well with the world.

Even though Salman’s screen presence tends to overshadow even the strongest actor, Katrina stands her ground. She manages to impress effortlessly. Girish Karnad’s act seems a bit contrived, while we wish Ranvir Shorey had more screen time.

Aseem Mishra’s cinematography makes even the dirtiest streets look like they’re straight from a Yash Chopra film (hell, this is a Yashraj film!). Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, Cuba’s street culture, London’s Trinity College, everything is captured well enough to add richly to the production value. Then there are some of the best (and long) chase and action sequences, choreographed by Hollywood’s Conrad Palmisano, that keep you hooked till the end. Rameshwar S Bhagat’s editing is sharp and manages to maintain a consistent pace throughout.

Director Kabir Khan ensures he exploits Salman’s screen presence, while also adding substance to all that jazz around. The twists in the tale are enough to keep you from snoozing due to an overdose of action.

Verdict: Salman never fails to entertain and the release of Ek Tha Tiger is aptly timed. This Tiger is sure to bite his way to another box office success. That’s not news anymore.

Mayank Shekhar, Daily Bhaskar

Rating: 3/5

Reviewing a Salman Khan film is like ironing a pair of jeans: really, what’s the point. People will watch it anyway. Filmmakers know this. Having signed up the super-star, they’re left to do precious little besides cash in on the supposed ‘Sal-mania’. The character isn't important. The audience believes Salman is a character himself. They react to him. They know, in this case, Katrina Kaif is his ex-girlfriend. She talks about him not being married yet. Audience laughs. Any rubbish remake (Bodyguard, Ready) could have sufficed. Ek Tha Tiger, directed by Kabir Khan (Kabul Express, New York) in that sense, is an immensely worthy exception.

For one, the sensible, sorted director’s ensured the film has a script. Though only Aditya Chopra (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Rab Ne Banadi Jodi), the credited story writer, could be behind a deeply romantic idea of two secret service agents of rival countries falling desperately in love. One’s from the ISI (Pakistan’s Inter-services Intelligence), the other from RAW (India’s Research And Analysis wing). The heroine looks comfortable in her skin, is gorgeous. The hero is well, after all, the hero. Both, dressed well, profess love under the backdrop of three striking cities: Dublin, Istanbul and Havana. Locations are lovely. Cross-border romance is compelling enough. Chemistry works. You can tell Yashraj, the producers of this film, are trying to merge some of their non-resident South Asian audiences abroad, with Salman Khan's "single screen" viewers back in India. Neither might be disappointed.
At the time of writing this review, it’s hard to estimate the film’s box-office receipts. Yet, never in my recent memory have I stood in a long line, all the way outside a mall, trying to get into a packed multiplex, with a ticket bought in advance, for a 9 am show! And this is only Independence Day. Eid is yet to come. There is still a whole weekend to go. As they say, "Jab khuda mehrbaan...." Well, I would rather not finish that sentence.

Verdict:At least this Salman film was worth it. For the first time since Chulbul Pandey (Dabangg), the actor's played a character, which to begin with is saying a lot.

Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV

Rating: 3.5/5

Ek Tha Tiger poses no such worries. A smartly scripted, crisply edited and stylishly mounted love story cloaked in the garb of an espionage thriller, it makes enough sense for the most part to blow away the air of scepticism.

While it is essentially a genre film designed to carpet bomb the audience with all the known tricks of the crowd-pleasing trade, it distances itself appreciably from the established norms of the action-packed Salman Khan movies that have raked in big bucks in recent years.

Ek Tha Tiger delivers implausible superhero stunts galore. However, its punch lines are kept on a leash and the romantic bonding between the hero and his lady love, which drives much of the film, isn’t allowed to degenerate into treacly kitsch.

Acting wise, the superstar delivers no major surprises barring the sustained restraint that he exercises in fleshing out the persona of a tough spy who has no real name until it is revealed right at the end of the film. The role is tailor-made for Salman and he goes through the motions without missing a trick.

He is aided, of course, by the no-nonsense screenplay (jointly authored by director Kabir Khan and journalist-turned-lyricist Neelesh Misra). The believable twists and turns that it throws up all the way through to the end keep the pot on the boil even when the heat threatens to dip.

The action sequences, shot on locations as far apart as Zakho in northern Iraq, Istanbul Dublin and Havana, are invested with a high cool quotient. Ek Tha Tiger has stunts that come close to taking your breath away. It’s a Salman Khan vehicle after all.

Ek Tha Tiger isn’t what one whould rate as great cinema, but it isn’t just harmless fun. The pacifist message dovetailed into its core lends the film a far greater degree of relevance than Bollywood spy thrillers generally strive for.

Verdict:Ek Tha Tiger has enough zing, visual and otherwise, to keep you in your seats for its runtime of a little over two hours.

First Published: Aug 15, 2012 17:14 IST