Film: Ek Tha Tiger (Hindi)

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

Director: Kabir Khan

There is a lot to like in Ek Tha Tiger . But just not enough. The good stuff first. This is a Salman Khan film that does not use its Bhai-film licence to go all out kamikaze crazy. The action, though spectacular, tries to bring in a tinge of realism. Here we see Bhai getting hurt quite early on. Ha! As if that can ever happen.

Kabir, he is Salman Khan. The closest thing Bollywood has ever got to recreating the Rajnikant persona. He cannot get hurt, and has to be better than James Bond, cleverer than Bourne and the hunter of Ethan Hunt.

Not just that. Bhai gets fooled too, by a girl in a schoolgirl skirt. Now, now... that is blasphemy.

It is okay to be realistic if the idea is to make a gritty, arthouse film about the life of intelligence officers. But no, this is a Bhai film that takes its own time to become a full-fledged action masala one. By the time it becomes what it is best at, it is over.

The politics of it is amusing. But then, if you had a choice to kill Katrina Kaif or to run away with her, what would you do? That, right there, is Realism 101 for you. And they say Bhai films lack logic. Still, it is too much of a googly in a film that promises a genuine spy thriller when the head of intelligence tells his man, “Tiger: Let’s find you a new enemy in a new country,” only to turn the tables on him and have the hero abandon everything he stood for halfway through the film.

This is Agent Vinod suddenly dumping its roots to go all out Dil Se . A curious mix which could have still worked if only it gave us more bang for our buck.

Salman Khan is solid as ever. But it is Katrina who steals the scenes away from him, especially the stunts. It is such a wonderful change to see a girl kick so much in a Bollywood action film.

Sudhish Kamath