Ever since Salman Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger was announced last year more or less everyone has been having an opinion or two about the film. Salman fans or Salman baiters have only been talking with reference to Salman but I have always thought about it from a different angle. I have only been thinking about the project from Aditya Chopra’s standpoint. After all he happens to be the only producer to be working with Salman, SRK and Aamir at the same time, not an easy feat at all right? And why am I talking about Aditya now, well I would say that among all the positives and negatives of the film its not just Salman, Katrina ( more on Katrina later ) and Kabir Khan but also Aditya Chopra who must take credit or get the brickbats depending on the way the film turns out.
So we’ve all seen the promos and the songs and expect Tiger i.e Salman Khan to be a James Bond/Jason Bourne of sorts in the film with Katrina Kaif being his lady love right? Well right and wrong I’d say. Ok so we have Tiger (Salman) as a daredevil RAW agent who doesn’t like to take breaks after assignments unlike the more famous James Bond.Tiger is shown to be an all work & no play sort of secret agent who has made peace with his existence. The two people he works with closely are Shenoy ( Girish Karnad the chief of RAW ) and Gopi ( Ranvir Shorey his colleague and friend ). Tiger goes on an assignment to Ireland where is made to establish contact and keep a tab on nuclear scientist Kidwai ( Roshan Seth ) who is suspected to be sharing his research work with the Pakistani establishment.
There he comes across Zoya ( Katrina Kaif ) who’s the part time caretaker of Kidwai’s house. Tiger decides to get friendly with Zoya in order to reach out to Kidwai who is not an easy person to get close to otherwise. Tiger gets friendly with Zoya, a bit too friendly and though Gopi tells him to be careful not to fall for her, that’s exactly what happens. And so the film continues across the Globe with the RAW and ISI hovering around in the background always. The story by Aditya Chopra is slightly ‘different’ for a Salman film. The film does not have Tiger as a super human who makes everything seem to be happening on a platter for him.
There is some kind of earnestness in Tiger be it in the way he expresses his helplessness in terms of not telling people what he does or the passion to keep working nonstop. It’s also interesting to see that there is no unncessary back story for him and is not shown leading a flashy life style. In fact that’s exactly what even Shenoy mentions to Tiger when he comes over to Tiger’s place to enjoy a drink and Tiger’s daal. Another hint of realism is in the way the film actually shows that thanks to technology it’s not all that easy to track down people, no matter where they are.
Another point that’s note worthy is that the film has very few characters of importance. Now this is a big surprise as usually such films are known to have multiple characters. Here you can accurately count the characters of substance, just 6 of them actually. And in case you haven’t noticed it then it’s a victory of sorts for Kabir Khan who is not just the director but also the co-writer of the film along with Neelesh Mishra. Kabir Khan is not the quintessential YRF filmmaker as he started off making documentary films before turning to feature films with Kabul Express and New York. And maybe that’s why we also expected Ek Tha Tiger also to be slightly intelligent and not just a mindless entertainer. And for that the film doesn’t disappoint.
Another strong point in favour of the film is the fact that the heroine here, Zoya i.e Katrina gets such a wonderful presence in the film. We all know that in typical Bollywood entertainers the heroine hardly gets to do anything substantial and most Salman films are examples for this. In recent times its only Bodyguard that ranks among Salman’s films where the heroine ( Kareena ) had a significant role. But now I would to proudly point out that Katrina in Ek Tha Tiger gets an even better deal when compared to Kareena in Bodyguard. And no I’m not complaining at all and why should I when Katrina looks like a million bucks and participates in the action scenes with gusto. And again it’s been a smart move by Kabir Khan not to give any heavy dialogues to Katrina .
It’s not the first film where we’ve seen Salman paired wth Katrina but the chemistry that they share here in Ek Tha Tiger is simply impressive and helps one enjoy the proceedings. Another interesting fact about the film is that this is certainly one of the few non typical Salman films he’s done of late. Salman as Tiger is very much in control and not going overboard the way he usually does in most of his films. He also doesn’t throw his weight around unnecessarily through loud dialogues and all the action performed in the film is befitting the story line and not otherwise. That doesn’t mean that he’s not entertaining, certainly not. But for a change there’s a certain charm in his slightly subdued portrayal of the intelligence agent and certainly does justice to Tiger.
The film takes us through wonderful locations like Iraq, Ireland,Turkey,Cuba etc and does justice to all of these locations. Aseem Mishra’s camera work captures the essence of these locations wonderfully. Music by Sajid-Wajid and Sohail Sen is pleasant and thankfully not too loud on the ears. The pick of the lot is the energetic ‘Mashallah’ sung by Wajid Ali and Shreya Ghoshal (lyrics by Kausar Munir). Among the other actors Girish Karnad and Ranvir Shorey are quite effective while Roshan Seth is hardly there in a few scenes.
But the film is not perfect, far from it actually. It moves in its own sweet pace and could unsettle someone who expects the film to be running on a tight leash. And to be honest the plot is extremely simple and there’s nothing in terms of a thrilling moment that would ideally be expected from a spy thriller. In fact instead of a spy thriller this one is more of a romance with an action backdrop and even reminds you of Agent Vinod where again there is a strong element of romance. But then Agent Vinod definitely has a mission and certain bad guys to take care of whereas here in Ek Tha Tiger the situation isn’t exactly the same.
So eventually for those going to watch the film thinking that this is another Salman masala entertainer or that it’s a true blue spy thriller there is a surprise in store. Now whether this surprise would appeal to people is an interesting question. In my opinion this would vary from individual to individual. So this week is certainly going to be Tiger at the box office and if nothing else but the very thought of a Salman Khan in control (though a bit subdued) appeals to you, then go for it.