Banner: Yash Raj Films
Producer: Aditya Chopra
Director: Ali Abbas Zafar
Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Paresh Rawal, Girish Karnad, Kumud Mishra, Angad Bedi, Anupriya Goenka, Sajjad Delafrooz
Writers: Ali Abbas Zafar, Neelesh Mishra
He’s back!!! And he’s returned with the director with whom he delivered the blockbuster Sultan, which was made by the same banner that’s produced this film too. We’re talking about the blockbuster trio: Salman Khan-Ali Abbas Zafar-Aditya Chopra.
Undoubtedly, there’s huge excitement as well as expectations from this film. And, many a time, even a well-made product can fail due to this very hype. Not with Tiger Zinda Hai. The film, a sequel to Ek Tha Tiger, gives you exactly what you were expecting from it. Although there are a few hiccups and the film is excessively long, you don’t really mind, and credit for this goes to just one person – Salman Khan.
Khan is back in his Tiger avatar to end the year with a mighty roar. The trailer of this film had promised us a movie fit for the actor as well as his fans, and with power-packed action sequences, slo-mo killer looks, dumdaar dialogue (there aren’t too many, though) and of course, Khan’s signature swag, the final product is one heck of a Christmas gift.
Tiger Zinda Hai starts with the audience being introduced to a tense situation in Ikrit, Iraq, as ISC terrorists take over a hospital to treat their leader Abu Usmaan (Sajjad Delafrooz) and take the 25 Indian and 15 Pakistani nurses there hostages. Indian RAW officials have seven days to save the nurses before the US drops nuclear bombs on the whole city to kill the terrorist group. Of course, the only person who can make this mission a success is their presumed-dead agent Tiger (Salman Khan). On the other hand, the Pakistan government feels that only Zoya (Katrina Kaif) can save the Pakistani nurses.
How Tiger and Zoya, along with their RAW and ISI counterparts, go about executing this seemingly impossible mission and what follows, forms the crux of this story.
The sequel seems to be the exact opposite of the first instalment as this one has an abundance of action with just a hint of a love angle. Except for the primary characters and their basic backgrounds, there is nothing in common between the two parts. But, yes, we do see the comeback of a rugged and muscle-bound Salman Khan, whose character is invincible. In typical style, Tiger floors all the bad guys in one sweep, with his Rambo-like skills, along with his deadly good looks.
Still, there’s a nagging sense that something is different. Look closely and you realise that the writers and director have tried to present Salman Khan a tad differently vis-à-vis his earlier movies. Throughout the film, Khan seems to be underplaying himself as if the makers wanted to show him as a more ‘mature’ (read ‘older’) agent. While that may be smart thinking or inevitable, it will be a disappointment for a chunk of Khan’s fans, who believe the actor will be forever young.
The story, written by Neelesh Mishra and Zafar himself, does have a few loopholes but logic is not a strong suit with larger-than-life Bollywood blockbusters. By bringing back the Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif jodi, making the second instalment of a much-loved film, and injecting a lesson in world peace, the director had many aces up his sleeve to make sure this movie is a success.
There was a time when a filmmaker would have thought this was enough but Ali Abbas Zafar worked on the script too. TZH is supposed to be a spy thriller and while there are spies, there are not many thrills except for seeing Khan go shirtless in one scene. The fight sequences are choreographed well but every single scene, including the climax, is predictable. The film is clearly Salman Khan’s but it does gain some strength from the supporting cast, even more than it does from the heroine, whose sole mission it is to flit in and out of scenes with super sexy action moves.
Directorially, Zafar is once again in his element but as a writer he disappoints a little. The editing should have been crisper and the film could easily have been shortened by 15 minutes. Cinematography is brilliant. In a thriller, the background music helps to keep the audience hooked but in Tiger Zinda Hai, the background music is not in sync with the proceedings. Musically, Swag se swagat is already a chartbuster while the romantic track Dil diyaan is hummable and beautifully shot.
Performance-wise, Salman Khan is in his element with his deadly look, unexpectedly funny ‘aapki bhabhi aa gayi’ lines and hardcore fight sequences. However, we wish Khan had more punch lines to deliver in the film. Katrina Kaif just about manages to make her presence felt in the screen time she is allotted but her killer looks make it worth it. Paresh Rawal delivers a stellar performance. Girish Karnad is good. Angad Bedi is terrific. Anupriya Goenka is fantastic. Kumud Mishra is excellent in his part. The villain, newbie Sajjad Delafrooz, is exceptional.