The ApunKaChoice movie review of Ek Tha Tiger. A Salman Khan film is a box office event, and when he has the prettiest damsel in tinsel town, Katrina Kaif, in tow, expect nothing short of a blockbuster. Piggybacking on the star value of two bankable stars, Kabir Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger is a film that offers an escapist, entertaining fare with a pot-pourri of action, romance, thrills and a message of amity between India and Pakistan rammed in between.
First things first. The Pakistanis needn’t worry. Not only does the film not bash its spy agency, ISI, it rather compliments it for hiring a stunner of a sleuth who manages to hoodwink the Indian Tiger (read Salman Khan) into a romance of fake deception, a romance that when turns real brings the two rival intelligence agencies (RAW and ISI) together in a rather ironical mission of rending the Indo-Pak lovers apart.
Tiger (Salman), a RAW agent, is sent to Dublin to spy on an Indian-origin scientist (Roshan Seth) who has devised an ingenious missile interceptor technology. RAW suspects that the ISI is out to steal the tech knowhow.
In Dublin, Tiger befriends Zoya (Katrina Kaif), the caretaker at the scientist’s home. As the friendship thickens and turns into romance, secrets spill out and Tiger has to make a tough choice between his love for Zoya and his duty as a RAW agent.
Ek Tha Tiger starts off well with funny little peaks into the life of Tiger. He’s a spy who doesn’t pull any punches and as often as not leaves a trail of broken bones and torn tissue in his wake. When it comes to duty, he’s a relentless rage. No wonder he’s cautioned by his RAW boss (Girish Karnad) to “just observe” and not kill anyone on the mission to Dublin.
The first meetings between Tiger and Zoya are written well, but truth be told, a real spark of passion is missing between Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. They actually look like drifted lovers trying to play a couple falling in love only to drift away and meet again. Hope you got the drift. The story constantly flits from Delhi to Dublin to Istanbul to Cuba.
The second half of Ek Tha Tiger almost turns into a rerun of the Hrithik Roshan and Barabara Mori’s tanked disaster Kites. Both Tiger and Zoya are in the crosshairs of RAW and ISI. It’s here the action and chases spill over, and we are offered some nail-biting stunts on the streets and apartments of Havana. To a sharp eye, it’s clear that body doubles have been used both for Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif for the stunts that have the two stars leaping and jumping from one building to another. But the action sequences are executed well, nonetheless.
Director Kabir Khan could have done better without a few songs, particularly the ‘Banjara’ track in Dublin and the ‘Laapata’ number in Havana. They don’t take the narrative forward and only leave you shuffling restlessly in your seat. Moreover, the director doesn’t cash in on Salman Khan’s groovy dance moves.
For all its predilection to artiness, Ek Tha Tiger calls for suspension of disbelief. In one action sequence when Tiger chases his assaulter, havoc is wreaked over half of Dublin, cars smashed, a passenger train wrecked, and after all that mayhem Tiger walks scot free to watch Zoya’s play. One also feels for the Cuban police that are summarily beaten up by Tiger like he was swatting a fly. The climax chase too is somewhat a dampener, save for a final leap by Tiger from a bike to a flying plane, crafted solely to elicit wolf whistles from Salman Khan fans.
Ek Tha Tiger may not be as superb as cracked up to be, but it’s surely a one-time watch film. Salman Khan is a bit out of sorts and doesn’t throw himself fully into his role, but let’s not forget that he filmed Ek Tha Tiger right after his surgery for Trigeminal Neuralgia and was in pain throughout the shoot. Katrina Kaif looks darn pretty and acts well in a few sequences, particularly the ones involving her shedding tears.
Final word: A film recommended to the fans of Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif.