There is a movie. Then there is a Bollywood movie. And then there is a Salman Khan movie.
In a scene, Katrina asks Salman if he is married. He tells her to ask instead if he has a girlfriend. She shakes her head and says, “Tumhari umra shaadi karne ki hai.” Knowing how his bachelorhood is a subject of constant scrutiny amongst the media and audience, Salman clearly likes to have a laugh at himself without caring if he is in character. And there lies the key to box office success: Salman Khan playing himself.
Salman kicks butt right from his cinematic grand entry. One kick makes hundreds of cigarette butts fly slow motion on screen as the ‘tiger’ arrives. Tiger, (Salman Khan) is a RAW agent introduced in a typical action sequence of impossible stunts performed with the ease and grace of a catwalk. He is hired to watch over a scientist for suspicious activities of selling missile secrets to Pakistan. Tiger who is known to end up killing someone at every assignment, turns into a tame puppy upon meeting the scientist’s part time caretaker, Zoya (Katrina).Under the guise of a writer named Manish Chandra, he turns into a ‘romantic kaddu’ as Zoya calls him.
Tiger’s mission is almost forgotten as he follows Zoya around, discussing the stars and the moon, literally. All pretence at any story is totally done away with as Salman Khan takes charge, playing fully to the gallery. Light romantic scenes continue throughout with brief interludes of action made hilarious by Salman’s flying leaps across buildings and terraces, table tops, bar counter tops, car roofs, and bus roofs.
This time instead of his shirt, he just takes off his jacket while standing on top of a tram to rescue it from crashing. Bravo! In another instance, he does his Salman special. He quickly changes a T-shirt, flashing his muscled torso, while maintaining a serious faced discussion with his team members. Whistles and cheers from the packed theatre, follow. Self effacing dialogues like;”Tiger to kutte ka naam hota hai’’ keep the Salman brand of humour going. It’s a Salman show all the way. The movie’s job is done.
Salman’s sizzling chemistry with Katrina Kaif, who holds her own, makes this romantic thriller quite compelling. His easy presence is enhanced by a kindly, pleasant looking Girish Karnad and a sincere Ranvir Shorey.
Despite a bare, minimum and predictable story by Aditya Chopra, co writers Kabir Khan and Neelesh Misra keep the screenplay and dialogues engaging. Director Kabir Khan whose previous two films based on terrorism ,Kabul Express and New York lacked impact, now displays deft and skillful direction with Ek Tha Tiger. Aseem Misra’s stunning cinematography explores exotic locales of Istanbul and Hawana, captures speedy action brilliantly while pausing and lingering just enough on dramatic slow, almost freeze frame for Salman close-ups. Rameshwar Bhagat’s tight edit deserves full marks along with adrenalin pumping action by Conrad Palmisano. The last song, “Mashaallah” written by Kausar Munir complements the picture perfect, good looking pair.
Ek Tha Tiger simply proves that a movie has one more genre. Being Salman. Shirt on or off.