There are films and then there are Salman Khan films. The former kind needs a good script, good screenplay and decent acting chops to be liked. The latter kind just needs Salman Khan to be his own charming self. The problem with the Yash Raj Films produced Ek Tha Tiger is that director Kabir Khan tries to mix the two kinds of films and doesn’t quite manage to do a good job of it. A bigger problem is that Salman Khan’s charm is completely missing here.
Tiger (Salman Khan) is a RAW intelligence officer who believes in letting his punches do the talking. His latest assignment takes him to Dublin where he meets Zoya (Katrina Kaif), part-time caretaker of the scientist he has to keep an eye on. The two fall in love, but along comes a twist in the tale which turns Tiger’s life upside down. Now Tiger has to choose between his love and his duty towards his country.
Ek Tha Tiger is primarily a love story with huge doses of action thrown in. The action part works, and how! The film has some of the best action scenes in the history of Bollywood. However, they are brought down a notch by Salman’s low-on-energy body language. It doesn’t help that he looks paunchy and too out of shape for some of the stunts. The romance part just doesn’t work – neither the romantic comedy of the first half, nor the intense love story of the second half. A big part of the blame for this goes to the poor screenplay. It completely fails to engage the viewers and it is only during a handful of action scenes in the second half that one feels totally involved in the proceedings.
Since the screenplay is not engaging enough, the loopholes in the story itself become more apparent. And they are so many that they make the intelligence officers (of many countries) look plain dumb. Unfortunately, the dull and poorly picturised songs do nothing to brighten up the proceedings. The cinematography does deserve brownie points to highlight the local flavours of all the countries the protagonists travel to.
Kabir Khan made Katrina give her career best performance in New York and here again she shines as the spunky Zoya. Be it the light moments or the emotional ones, she hits the right notes. The biggest surprise of the film is how well she does the action scenes – in fact she trumps Salman in quite a few. Salman, on the other hand, looks quite uncomfortable playing the sauve intelligence agent. His dialogue delivery is monotonous and his expressions are all wrong most of the time. Like I mentioned earlier, the trademark Salman charm is missing. The supporting cast of Girish Karnad, Roshan Seth and Ranveer Shorey gives the film a next-level respectability, though none of them seem convinced with what they are doing.
Ek Tha Tiger is a film that had everything going for it – two biggest stars, high production values, immense hype, but once again the lack of a good script brought a potentially good film down. This Tiger doesn’t quite manage to roar.