Of the cast, Katrina Kaif keeps up her Zoya factor and is in her comfort zone. Even given the action factor, she holds her own against the Khans. (Image: DC)
Movie: Tiger 3
Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Emraan Hashmi, Revathi, Simran, Ranvir Shorey, Kumud Mishra
Director: Maneesh Sharma
Move on, the spy zone of Bollywood where money, stars, style, and coming of age has its vice-like grip. A big film releasing on Diwali must make more noise inside the auditorium than there is outside. Be sure that in a few hours numbers will be thrown around on social media, both official and narrative, on the success of Salman Khan. Coming as it does after ‘Three of Us,’ ‘12th Fail’ and ‘Shastri Virudh Shastri", this big budget film will reflect on the box office positions of its makers, movers and stars. It will overlook niceties, it will eschew performances. It will be viewed from a commercial lens with a brazen mark declaring wealth over content. In fact, the film in its dying moments clearly declares its formula and intent:
Music, music start karo
Leke Prabhu ka naam.
Having made the declaration, the film caters to the altered contemporary paradigm: action over music.
Maneesh Sharma keeps the franchise alive and active. Taking the baton from Kabir Khan and Ali Abbas Zafar, he ensures he keeps up the pitch, the works, and the action. From open yards to roof tops, through busy streets and dingy homes, Istanbul, Vienna, Islamabad, punches, bullets, smoke, dust, machine guns, pistols, rough Afghan terrains to palace sets, even sticks and scarves help build the plan and push the agenda. The YRF spy world works through back-from-exile Tiger (Salman Khan) at the instance of RAW head Maithili Menon (Revathi). This time even as dying agent Gopi Arya (Ranvir Shorey) leaves a declaration that the spy-catch is Zoya (Katrina Kaif), the early moments in the film are spent on marital distrust. Zoya’s past shows the young Zoya (Gurkeet Kaur) inspired by Pakistani dad Rehan Nazir (Aamir Bashir) witness her dad die in a blast and is now under the tutelage of mentor Aatish Rehman (Emraan Hashmi).
The battle lines are drawn. We have Aatish who holds Junior (Sartaaj Kakak) captive and ensures Tiger and Zoya work to get national secrets. Obviously after losing girlfriend Shaheen Baig (Ridhi Dogra) in a shootout, the political divide gets blurred by personal vendetta. When you have a heady cocktail of the double ‘P’ (patriotism and personal vendetta), the drama gets high voltage. This is the promised premise. Throw in entities like RAW and ISI and the ‘geo-political’ intrigue also peters into a coup d’etat at Islamabad where Aatish plans to replace the peace-speaking Prime Minister Nasreen Irani (Simran). The attempt to pull out secret documents from an Istanbul treasure with iris identity and kung fu tricks ensures some towelled-thigh thrills. Tiger employs an old colleague, the reliable Rakesh ji (Kumid Mishra), and manages to get the documents. However, the footage shot is a tad too little.
Enter Pathan (SRK — from the other spy branch) to return the favour and in the midst of mind-blogging, physics-defying stunts and thrills earns his whistles moments and clears the gratitude quotient. Back to fight his battles, Tiger now has to rely on Zoya, Rakesh ji, Hassan Ali (Vishal Jetwa) and a team of a few motley characters to keep the story (Aditya Chopra) going. Most of the responsibility with the action incharge — a clan that has evolved drastically from the days of Shetty and Veeru Devgan.
Director Maneesh Sharma has the task of moving from make-believe to disbelief and with some good support from Sridhar Raghavan (screenplay) and Ankur Chowdary (dialogues) pushes the envelope packed with a heady mix of dialogue and action, chest-thumping national bravado and enemy caricature, domestic grotesque and neighbour burlesque keeps the mood up. The action-packed sequences are obviously by design. So, Tiger even declares that one must not waste time watching the small screen (Big Boss saying this!!) and go for the Big Screen for action. While the Pakistan (ISI) villain threatens a Diwali blast, Tiger warns it is a three-day festival and he celebrates not with fireworks but sweets. It is all fireworks though. There is an interesting ‘Sholay’ reference when Pathan and Tiger ride the ‘Sholay’ bike. The film script and story is strongly based on heroes insured against enemy bullets, armed with perfectly timed and targeted missiles and stylised acrobatics, hither to the Akshay forte. It is also the mainstay of the film.
Of the cast, Katrina Kaif keeps up her Zoya factor and is in her comfort zone. Even given the action factor, she holds her own against the Khans. Methinks somewhere Salman Khan is aging way too fast, and way faster than Tiger. Tiger in the course of the 157-minute spy saga declares "Yeh kahani meri nahi, Aatish Rehman ki hai." True. Emraan Hashmi has a role that tempts him to cross the bridge. He resists. Successfully. A very polished performance and a fine portrayal of negativity without being brash and crude.
At the theatres post-Diwali, footfalls are worrisome. They suggest a certain hesitation, or even collective rejection. If that be so, the temptation to write off the Khan for being past his prime would be large. That he is. Tiger, not Khan, deserves more acceptance. Perhaps it will catch up. Hopefully it will. There is promise for a more eerie spy thriller at the end of the film.
Pathan, Tiger 3. Now, it’s time for Kabir.