Disclaimer: Mild Spoilers
Salman Khan have been ruling the 100 crore club of Bollywood box office. Delivering back to back successes after having a stringent of failures, Salman is the most bankable in-demand actors. Ek the Tiger is directed by one of the most talented directors who stepped well aside for Salman to have his hyper-masculine moments to impress the testosterone filled audience members. Kabir Khan is otherwise known for his sturdy imagination which helped him deliver films with depth. I loved his previous works, New York and Kabul Express. Seeing his name written across a “super” agent movie is quite surprising. In-spite of all the flaws, ek tha Tiger has a very interesting theme and it is probably the one story that could help in Indo-Pakistan relationships since Veer Zaara. Both of them are Yash-Raj productions.
Agent Tiger (Salman Khan), his real name not revealed till the end, is a brawny and unassailable RAW agent who leaves at least one dead person during his spy mission. He is asked to watch Prof Anwar Kidwai (Roshan Seth), a scientist who has plans related to India’s nuclear technology and RAW fears that he might be dealing with Pakistani intelligence. Agent Tiger is asked to befriend Zoya (Katrina Kaif) who is said to be working with Kidwai. During all this, they fall in love. The trailer conveniently showed Zoya is a pretty damsel in distress with some skills. That was convenient and a clever move by the filmmakers. Now, the base theme of the film might have been used a lot but in this case, it is quite interesting. Zoya is revealed to be an ISI agent who is given instructions by Capt Abrar to watch Tiger and study him, at the same time she is asked to get Kidwai’s files. This character arc to Zoya was a very good twist especially due to the fact that we don’t get to see female characters like that in Bollywood. What follows is the love story between a RAW agent and an ISI agent. Kabir Khan did deliver some moments worth remembering amidst the over-the-top action, slapstick comedy and lame acting sequences. Salman Khan is limited to his glamorous action hero image while Katrina has too much makeup and ravishing costumes. I kept thinking this role is not meant for her as she looks too sweet for a trained agent. Maybe her pretty face is a camouflage for the anonymity of her character but then Katrina’s acting is also under-toned throughout as per the typical criticism she receives. The only impressive acting moment from both Salman and Katrina is the moment where he finds out that she is an ISI agent. We see anger and confusion in his eyes, I wished that the liveliness in his eyes remained consistent throughout the movie. He points a gun at her and we see how tormented he is in that moment; he is torn between his love for her and dedication to his country. Katrina delivered a strong stance and she refused to blink before Tiger’s intimidation though we see a pinch of fear when he holds out the gun. This is only moment where we get to experience Kabir Khan’s otherwise usual bucks. Otherwise, it is literally Salman playing himself. Zoya is shown as someone who is equal and opposite to Tiger but even then she had to be limited to a damsel in distress, for this to be a man’s movie, because she almost impressed us with her martial arts skills and jumping from impossible heights across buildings. Why limit a well trained ISI agent to that level? Not to mention, she was initially shown as slick and manipulative, and she rescued Tiger from a group of ISI agents in a very impressive manner, the airport sequence. The most thrilling part of the film is from the end of the song “saiyara” till the point when Tiger and Zoya land in Havana. Before and after than, the movie is just typical in terms of structuring.
I watched ek tha Tiger with a lot of expectation but the initial fight scene was more than enough to highlight the film’s quality. It is always a pleasure to watch Girish Karnad on-screen and Ranvir Shorey stuck to their respective standards. The background music is either cool or noisy based on the sequences. Kabir Khan’s traditional usage of shaky cams and fast cuts are seen, a lot. The songs are good, especially “mashallah”. The fight choreography is exaggerated and over the top, but there few moves “awesome” enough for Salman to show off and only he could do that. The film is an entertainer and fanboys of Salman Khan will like it. In addition to that Tiger’s final monologue “we will come back the day both India and Pakistan will no longer need RAW or ISI” is worth it. But it is just another typical macho film enclosing a high-minded theme; a RAW agent and an ISI agent falling in love with one another. It could have been better, but the focus is shifted to Tiger’s kicks and punches and Zoya’s looks.
Featured image: mediaonlinebd.com