To begin with, I was really excited to see one of the most hyped movie of our times EK THA TIGER not just for Salman Khan, but for the rare combination of a sensitive director and a super star coming together. Having loved director Kabir Khan’s first venture KABUL EXPRESS and to some extent his NEW YORK too, I was eager to see what the ‘thinking director’ does with the aura around a mega star and how he deals with the interference often seen in such big films from their known names.
The excitement was also accompanied by some fear generated by its promos, which were clearly cut to exploit the Star-Mania in the nation, instead of stressing more on the film’s content or storyline. Frankly speaking, all those short promos talking only about Salman’s age, his girlfriend, her clothes or his marriage strictly didn’t looked like from a film directed by Kabir Khan at all. So I was really doubtful that ETT might also turn out to be another Star-Guided film made simply around that ‘Big Image’ of its lead hero, just like last year’s DON 2 which was also not a Farhan Akhtar film from any angle.
Unfortunately, my fear won over the excitement as I found EK THA TIGER once again a project just made to encash the “Star Idol Worship” in our country and nothing else. Being released on a National Holiday (15th August) with an open 5 day weekend (including Eid) and a never heard before number of prints, it is sure going to be a mammoth blockbuster, perfectly planned by its producers and Salman himself. But coming from a director like Kabir Khan, its in fact quite sad and disheartening for the future of our own Indian Cinema which more believes in bowing down in front of its Stars than being confident on their own vision, content and talent. So here I have got very less to talk about the film but more about the kind of films we are currently making in the name of entertaining cinema.
ETT starts off on a typical note with a long fight sequence and then enters into a romantic zone as a trademark feature of a Yashraj film. In the first half it stresses more on the romance between its two stars and less on being a spy thriller. Revealing two completely predictable twists before and after the interval, its pace drops hugely as it progresses towards it overstretched uninteresting climax. So where the first half tries to win over the viewer with its romantic moments, the second half tries the same through its prolonged actions sequences which are well directed but tend to go overboard too (like the train stopping with a coat and again wearing it calmly).
As expected it’s a Salman Khan movie all the way, with him being there in its almost every frame as a RULER. He does everything in the movie ranging from dance, comedy, action and romance regardless of the fact that he is actually playing a country’s official undercover spy. Yet for the fans who love watching his comic scenes, the film might turn out to be less entertaining as compared to Salman’s last few South remakes. No doubt, the one line basic plot of the film, of showing a love affair between two extreme personalities related to RAW & ISI is interesting. But the way it is executed on the screen, can easily be rated as completely filmy, with the agencies of two major countries of the world trying to catch their own spies like kids. The writers take the viewers as granted as they easily forget their initial plots and get on to the others without caring about any continuity. For instance, the suspicious professor suddenly vanishes out of the film and the story shifts to another plot altogether post intermission.
In simple words ETT solely depends upon its ‘Star Charisma’, few entertaining romantic moments, some well directed action sequences and the long festival weekend in which it is being released planned intelligently. But for the appreciators of famous western spy thrillers, this would be another Indian mishmash of several foreign films which actually takes you no-where. And on top of all, it also ends on an incomplete note indicating towards its sequel as per the current trend of our films.
Music further remains one of the ineffective points of ETT with no particular songs making a solid impact as seen in Salman’s previous projects. However Cinematography makes it likable along with a fine background score by Julius Pecham, which majorly works in its action sequences.
Talking about performances, when you have a star called Salman Khan in the film then you don’t have performances but only people reacting to his dialogues in the script to their best of their abilities. So Salman plays the part of a powerful spy (on whom questionably the whole RAW relies) in his own usual unique carefree style, providing a lot of moments for his fans to cheer loudly. He is the superhero who can jump onto a flying plane from his running motorcycle and who also has a divine healing system in his body wherein a bullet wound simply vanishes without leaving a mark. Still one can say that he has a better role to play this time, moving far ahead than his own READY and BODYGUARD.
Katrina Kaif as her rival lady love, holds herself well in front of Salman and looks stunning in some fabulous outfits. She features in some exceptional stunts in the second half (done by a professional), which are bound to get her enough claps and shouts despite of Salman being there in the fight. Supporting them both are all the other actors in the cast who obviously don’t have any kind of important significance in the script. And the list has names such as Girish Karnad, Ranvir Shorey and Roshan Seth.
Coming to the most unfortunate feature of EK THA TIGER, it’s indeed disheartening to say that there is no sign of director KABIR KHAN in the film from start to finish. The sensitivity with which he handled the issue of terrorism in both his KABUL EXPRESS & NEW YORK is simply not there. The interesting writing seen in his above mentioned films seems to be lost in the aura around his STAR and as a result Kabir Khan comes up with the weakest film of his career after an unconvincing NEW YORK. Probably the reason for this lies in his flawed script which keeps shifting its focus from one aspect to another touching romance, action, sacrifice, revolt and patriotism in a vague manner.
And that brings me to a conclusion about our Indian Cinema wherein talented directors such as Kabir Khan easily bow down in front of the STAR ENIGMA and make a film which really doesn’t seem to be representing their own vision of film-making. Now this clearly indicates that here if you want to have a BIG STAR in your film then you got to forget what you actually wished to make and work as per the guidelines given by the “Men in Power” only. The point can be understood better once you have watched ETT as the film bluntly reveals that where the director had a vision of making an exciting thrilling spy movie, he couldn’t do so due to the pressure of using more romance and Salman Khan in its each and every frame right till the end.
With such a mindset, I am forced to think that, When we would actually get to see some exceptionally brilliant films featuring our own favourite stars in the near future? The real cinema requires complete freedom given to the director irrespective of who is playing the main lead in the project. But if we would continue making movies only around our beloved Stars just to encash their huge fan following without caring about the script or its director’s vision then we would not be able to remember these Hit films after many years, as we fondly remember the Golden Classics of the past.
In support of this insight, I would like to mention that in India we follow this IDOL WORSHIP in such a way that for the first time I witnessed a trailer of an upcoming Yash Chopra movie which doesn’t even have a TITLE yet, proudly shown before the start of ETT. Frankly speaking, for me this was just the height of absurdity, openly admitting that we are no more making CINEMA but only “Business Projects” to sell in the market of innocent audience, blindly in love with their stars.
Hence its time to wake up and strongly demand some original, memorable movies from our own Idols, which would be worth showing to our kids after few decades.