STARRING: SALMAN KHAN, KATRINA KAIF, SAJJAD DELFROOZ, PARESH RAWAL, ANGAD BEDI, KUMUD MISHRA
DIRECTOR: ALI ABBAS ZAFAR
The Tiger is hurting. After the failure of his last outing Tubelight, everyone was expecting Salman to come back with a vengeance. And when the film in question is a sequel to an insanely successful film then the expectations cannot be anything but monumental. Tiger Zinda Hai however, just falls short of being that film for Salman. It is foolhardy to try and predict the fate of a Salman film as normal criterion of content and entertainment do not follow on his film, but this film does not deserve to break records.
The intention of director Ali Abbas Zaffar is clear: make this franchise Bollywood’s answer to the Rambo or the Commando series. And when I say this, I do not mean that the director apes these Hollywood films but brings his own original touch to the proceedings with a looming Bollywood flavor for which the director must be lauded. There is a major difference in action thrillers in the west and in India. And Tiger Zinda Hai avoid being a run of the mill Bollywood action thriller and that is a welcome change. It has been mounted like any other big Hollywood spy thriller and executed with the same gusto in style and scale.
Tiger Zinda Hai could have been an interesting action thriller had the writers had the nerve to go all the way with their setting and the story. Unfortunately, they cannot overcome the desire to keep the film glossy and pretty. You are showing one of the most dangerous terrorist organization in a place which would have been one of the most dangerous places on earth at one time and yet that fear never reaches across to the audience. Every time there is a beheading or some one is being brutally shot, the camera pans away or the scene is abruptly cut. As a result, the sense of how dangerous the mission is for the team and who they are pitted against is never weighed in. It is also a shame that Zafar could not achieve what he had with Sultan, that is escape from the stardom of the lead and make the actor play the character. Here Salman is too much of Salman. Even when he is pretending to be a refinery worker, he has the same body language and gets the same slow motion sequences never really making us connect with the proceedings on screen.
The story is serviceable and moves at a feverish pace, nicely setting up the plot for Tiger to swoop in and save the day. And for the most parts, it keeps you somewhat interested in the first half. But there are too many loopholes in the screenplay and too many things happen too conveniently for you to invest in the mission. There is so much time given to the action sequences and the style quotient that you spend too little time with the characters except for Tiger that rest of the characters look like caricatures. An interesting team is formed in a pivotal portion of the film and there was so much that could have been done with that plot line but it is ultimately wasted by insincere writing and an lazy attempt to manipulate the audience’s emotion. The team that goes this mission hardly has any scenes to develop the camaraderie and therefore, you do not care about them as much as you should to make an impact.
The film is in no way a boring affair but it is incredibly flat. The film is predictable and just follows the beat and you could easily predict which character will be entering now and who is going to die next. It is all too by the book. The action sequences are mounted on a spectacular scale and the mainstay of the film. They are undoubtedly, one of the best choregraphed action sequences in Bollywood in recent years but there is a sense of joylessness that you just cannot shrug away. Except for a few sequences especially the one involving Katrina in the city council, nothing else evokes much emotion but you still don’t mind the proceedings.
Salman Khan is Tiger and Tiger is the film. He is given 100 percent focus and he does not disappoint. He is the anchor which does not let the film sink. Katrina Kaif has nothing much to do for the most parts but when she is given something then she rises up to the occasion and is spectacular in the action sequences. Sajjad Delfrooz is competent as the dreaded leader of the terrorist organization however, he is handicapped by Zaffar by being limited to using a cliched Arabic accent and staring at the camera with black clothes to look menacing. Paresh Rawal does his best to make his character work but fails as there is no clarity to his presence in the film. His could have been the most interesting character in the film but it fails ultimately and through no fault of the veteran. Rest of the cast fits the bill and are good.
The music by Vishal Shekhar is passable except for of course, the ‘Swag se Swagat’ track. The background score by Julius Packham is briiliant.
Tiger Zinda Hai is not a bad film and certainly not a film you will curse yourself for buying tickets for. And Tiger did deserve a new lease of life but in a much better film.