Reviewing the Reviews: Ek Tha Tiger

21 Aug,2012

Ek Tha Tiger

Key Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif

Directed By: Kabir Khan

Written By: Kabir Khan, Neelesh Misra

Produced By: Aditya Chopra


Kabir Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger foxed critics because it wasn’t as brainless as Salman Khan’s other ‘100 Crore’ films. It sort of foxed the public for the same reason. You want to see Salman be silly, you want him to go some belt-jerking kind of Dhinka Chika dance, you want him to maaro quotable dialogue.


Still, the film had the gloss Yash Raj Films’ money can buy, a Bond and Bourne kind of action in exotic places — Ek Tha Tiger delivered what Agent Vinod could not.


The film got mosty 3 stars and up, with grudging praise.


Wrote Indian Express’s Shubhra Gupta, “There is only so much Serious Salman you can handle without wanting to burst out into giggles, so don’t go looking for a grim spy story. Grimness is best dealt with by the Bournes. Salman is much more in packaged-by-Yashraj-Bond mode, bashing ’em up, and lovin’ her for ever, essentially Bhai doing his stuff, but restricted from being all over the place, which is not such a bad thing. I had fun while it lasted.”


Anupama Chopra of Hindustan Times commented, “But the screenplay by Kabir and Neelesh Misra requires Salman to emote and play a character. Thankfully, he makes an effort. Of course, he is always in invincible hulk mode — yes, there is a brief shot of him taking his shirt off — but there is also sweetness and a touch of vulnerability, especially when he first meets Zoya. He seems almost perplexed as he falls in love. Katrina doesn’t have enough to work with but she works hard to give Zoya some weight. Their romance seems effortless. In places, Ek Tha Tiger becomes downright silly. So the modus operandi might be to think of it as a fairy tale with spies and guns. And enjoy the ride.”


Sukanya Verma of wrote, “With Wanted, Ready and Bodyguard, Salman Khan did cheesy with such marvellous flair that even though these films are nowhere near quality line, ‘stupidity sells’ became the new mantra at the box office. No, I am not a Bhaihater or a Bhaitard, colourful expressions recently invented to describe one’s derision or devotion to the actor, addressed so with alarming familiarity, whether in affection or sarcasm. (Please note how I’ve NOT mentioned Dabanng along with the afore-mentioned poppycock because it was genuinely entertaining. Heck, it was one of my favourite films of the year.) My point is that we’ve gotten so habituated to the commitments and ehsaans, the raggedy humour and the implausible heroics written specifically to reinforce the larger-than-life presence of the superstar that we have started to expect JUST that. So here’s the good news. Ek Tha Tiger demolishes this mindset with such unhurried relish it will take me one more viewing to believe it’s actually happening.”


Aniruddha Guha of DNA went with 3.5, “Ek Tha Tiger (ETT) is probably Hindi cinema’s best action film yet. Conrad Palmisano, who’s been stunt co-ordinator on films like the Rush Hour series, the Robocop series, Batman Forever and Romeo Must Die, directs four brilliantly put together action set-pieces. They are all lavishly mounted, shot at breathtaking locales, and executed with skilled precision. In the midst of it all is Salman Khan, Hindi cinema’s poster boy for escapist entertainment. Thankfully, ETT is the rare Khan film that has a plot too, thin as it may be.”


Taran Adarsh of did his usual 4.5 rave, “On the whole, Ek Tha Tiger is a high-octane thriller that works big time. This one has style and substance, both, besides dazzling action, stunning international locales and stylish execution. Most importantly, it has Salman Khan, the trump card of this enterprise. There’s no denying that Salman’s charisma has resulted in a mind-blowing, astounding, never-seen-before start at the ticket window, but the film’s content will sustain it thereafter. The film has long legs to prolong its splendid run. This is, without doubt, Salman’s best. Sure shot Blockbuster!”


Then the 2.5s Rajeev Masand of IBN and Karan Anshuman of Mumbai Mirror. The former wrote, “To be fair, Ek Tha Tiger is a very different beast from recent Salman Khan starrers, particularly his last two releases, Ready and Bodyguard. Now that could be construed either as good news or bad news depending on what you thought of those films. For those like me, who weren’t fans of those blockbusters, it’s refreshing to note that Ek Tha Tiger’isn’t an over-indulgent one-man showreel. Hallelujah, this film has a plot. Unfortunately, however, it’s a one-line, threadbare plot around which director Kabir Khan constructs the entire movie.”


And the latter ranted, “Stylistically, Ek Tha Tiger attempts to marry the grittiness of, say, Hollywood’s Bourne series with the gloss of a Yash Raj film. The result is an inconsistent look and feel. For instance, the cinematography in the action sequences work with a healthy mix of handheld, tracking, and steadicam shots, all in realistic, incidental lighting. While on the other hand you have a night scene about a picnic date in a park with swans and a lake that actually reflects a meteor shower. The artificiality and overdone lighting (so that you can see every inch of the frame) is totally outdated and old-school.”


Kunal Guha of quipped, “Ek Tha Jackie Shroff. And then he had a son. But this one belongs to the genre mastered by Jackie Chan and plastered with superhuman stunts by Salman Khan: action comedy mashed up with a spy thriller. If you thought Agent Vinod made a Ronald McDonald out of the genre, Ek Tha Tiger (ETT) takes a mousey tail and sticks it up his nose for Salman to swing from ear to ear. Regardless, if you’ve followed Salman’s recent films, you know that they’re in a genre of their own and cannot be graded for the story, screenplay, performances or any other metric used to evaluate other films. They can just be enjoyed or suffered, depending upon the elasticity of your tolerance.”


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