Ek Tha Tiger

Ek Tha Tiger

Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ranvir Shorey, Girish Karnad, Roshan Seth

Director: Kabir Khan

Indian Express Rating: ***

There are two conflicting factors in Ek Tha Tiger: Salman Khan's overriding principle of silliness and Kabir Khan's intrinstic liking for seriousness. But so overwhelming is Bhai's past aura that serious keeps threatening to slide into silly, and the moment you give in to that in-between space, the film becomes something you can enjoy. Most of the time.

Tiger (Khan) is a RAW agent. We know this because he strides up and down the road leading to the imposing buildings in Lutyens Delhi which presumably host the spy headquarters. He has conversations with his boss (Karnad) about mundane things like dal and profound things like love. He also, when it is required, zips off to exotic foreign locations to save India from the dastardly moves of Pakistan's ISI, where he indulges in long rooftop chases, gunplay, and manly banter with his colleague (Shorey) who watches his back.

Everything goes swimmingly till Tiger meets stunning Pakistani lass Zoya (Kaif) who has free access to the home of a Dublin-based mad Indian scientist (Seth), who may or may not be up to any good. If Kabir Khan had been left to his devices, we would have known more about what the scientist did. Or did not do. But this ultimately is a Salman Khan film, so what we get is poor Seth to appear like a tiny blip, and then disappear, unexplained, the moment his function is fulfilled. Which is just an excuse to get Tiger and Zoya, who introduces herself as a university student but who clearly has other skills, to meet.

The proceedings take you straight into Yashraj territory. The spy and the show girl are languidly romantic, exchanging notes about meteor showers and stars. They sing and dance, displaying spygiri, Yashraj style, where romance is king, and Tiger is Veer and Zoya is Zaara, thinly disguised.

... contd.

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