Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ek Tha Tiger 

Oh So Bourne

Hindi cinema has always had Hollywood aspirations. So when budget permits, why wouldn’t Kabir Khan want to turn Salman Khan into a Bourne or Bond type jet-setting action hero?  The formula has worked in Hollywood, it has worked here. What’s not to risk?

His Ek Tha Tiger uses Hollywood’s spy movie template and then dumbs it down several notches. Considering these films are not high in IQ anyway, this makes the Hindi wannabe film silly beyond belief.  But, if someone wants nothing more from a movie than passing the time, this one’s big on ‘timepass’ – you get to see exotic locations too, from Iraq, Ireland, Turkey, heck, even Cuba.

Tiger (Salman Khan) is a lonely RAW agent, who returns from various adventures (that require running and jumping through crowded bazaars and rooftops), to ordinary Delhi neighbourhood, making the middle-class neighbours wonder about the gashes on his face. Tiger is single because he can’t answer the common question, “What do you do?” His boss (Girish Karnad) is also single because he chose duty over love and regretted it every day of his life.

God knows how RAW spends public money, but Tiger (it’s not his real name, it’s a dog’s name, he admits ruefully, but it stuck) is sent to Ireland to keep an eye on a professor Kidwai (Roshan Seth), and runs into Zoya (Katrina Kaif), who keeps house from him while she does theatre at a nearby college.

Tiger falls head over heels, to the chagrin of his teammate Gopi (Ranvir Shorey), and by interval it is discovered that, well, not to let in a spoiler, Zoya is not the girl for him.  But Salman Khan plays Tiger, which means hero gets what he wants. He gets girl and more adventures in Cuba.

Of course, the action is spectacular, or what would be the point of trying to be Bond/Bourne?  The film is unevenly paced and a bit low on humour, but for some reason, Salman has accorded Kabir Khan the favour of treating the role with dignity.  He doesn’t resort to his usual care-a-damn sneer and sleepwalk through this film. This also means there are fewer opportunities for Salman fans to whistle and clap.

Foe once the female lead is not a dumb broad—she kicks and punches like the best of them, and manages to look good, though a bit puffy in some scenes.  Girish Karnad and Ranvir Shorey do their parts with ease.

The film doesn’t promise more than a well-packaged Salman Khan film, and delivers that. In case anyone wonders what happened to the case of the dubious professor in Ireland, they were watching the film with unrealistic expectations.


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