Tiger Zinda Hai is finally here. Christmas will be golden this year and Salman Khan is the man one should be crediting it for. Last year, it was Aamir Khan's Christmas with Dangal and this year, it's Bhaijaan at the theatres. The film is expected to break all the records and that's exactly what it will do, because after watching it, I can only say, Tiger has ARRIVED!
What's it about:
The camera loves Salman Khan. It follows the actor like a star struck fan, rarely keeping distance, mostly getting up close and personal with close ups and bare body frames. There's no denying the fact that director Ali Abbas Zafar has found a muse in Salman. His personal equation with the 52 year old actor translates into the faith and conviction that every scene of Tiger Zinda Hai reflects. The last time this actor-director duo joined hands was with Sultan which has emerged not only a fan favourite among the masses but also a project that pushed the envelope for Salman in reinventing himself physically and emotionally. With Tiger Zinda Hai, the attempt is the reverse, its going back to the basics, to a familiar ground of fan adulation. After a 5 year long hiatus, Tiger (Salman) is back in action. This time around, he's saving a group of Indian and Pakistani nurses from a terrorist on the most wanted list of America and rest of the world. Despite the titular reference, the film also gives ample respect and credibility to his sidekick and now wife Zoya (Katrina). However, like every other spy who takes the mandatory break from his agency, Tiger too has his family life set as a priority. This new angle gives the film a more mature and serious appeal. Tiger and Zoya have aged, but their charm is still intact. The film is tight with a gripping narrative that mainly focuses on action with the plot touching upon the Indo-Pak relations and the irony of a RAW and ISI agent working together on a common mission.
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Tiger is Salman Khan, like Tom Cruise made Ethan Hunt and Matt Damon has epitomised Jason Bourne, similarly our home grown spy has definitely evolved since we last met him in 2012. Based on a real life incident, Ali has done ample research and perhaps watched enough action films set in the Middle East to make Tiger Zinda Hai look believable. He is the captain of this massive ship and does a commendable job of delivering what was expected. There is no attempt to intellectualise the subject or try and rouse undue patriotism and be jingoistic. Ali balances the emotion with the action in the right scenes. Salman obviously owns the film and looks like a menacing agent in most of the scenes. He also brings a bit of humour in his own style with Paresh Rawal who is one of the biggest highlights of the film. Katrina Kaif gets a long action scene which she convincingly executes without making us feel cheated. Her chemistry with Salman is often written about, but the way she plays Zoya makes us wish we got to know her perspective on situations a bit more. The supporting cast of Angad Bedi, Kumud Kumar Mishra, Paresh Pahuja, Danish Bhat and Gavie Chahal who play agents in Tiger and Zoya's team have quite a lot to do in the film. Sajjad Delafrooz as the ultimate baddie is on point. It was important to get a strong challenger to Tiger and Sajjad as Abu Usman is perfect. Ali keeps the songs at bay and only uses them when necessary. Swag se Swagat looks ravishing on the big screen. Alvira Agnihotri and Ashely Rebello's styling works in giving Tiger a more grungy yet sexy look which works for the film.
There is a bit of lethargy that seeps into the second half. Also because the setting is a hospital and we end up spending a lot of time on the same location, it does become a bit tiresome. Despite knowing the final outcome of the climax, it is the execution and buildup leading to the last big fight that feels like a bit of a struggle. Ali also goes a bit over the top in choreographing the action scenes with Salman. Of course, the fans will lap up a bare chested Salman meaning nothing but business. However, it does get into familiar territory with the actor.
What to do:
Surrender yourself to Tiger and Zoya's charm and watch Tiger Zinda Hai for the sheer value of what it offers - adrenaline rushing entertainment. Salman's superstardom hasn't got such a good homage by a director in a very long time.
4 out of 5
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