Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sajjad Delfarooz, Paresh Rawal, Girish Karnad, Angad Bedi, Anupriya.
Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar
Nearly everyone who came to watch Tiger Zinda Hai first day first show at VOX Cinema Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, clicked selfies with Salman Khan’s cutouts and uploaded them furiously. And a few of them whistled as they left. Quite like what Salman would have liked. A few years ago, in an interview he mentioned that he likes to make films that make you stand up on cinema seats and whistle and throw coins at the screen. Well, we didn’t have a coin shower but the cross-nationality audience had quite a great time watching the film.
A pure entertainer, Tiger Zinda Hai raises and executes real life lessons and concerns through a fictionalized story based on a real incident that shook the UAE a few years ago – that of nurses being taken hostage in Iraq. In this case, the writer-director mixes them up into Indian and Pakistani nurses that allow both RAW and ISI scope to work together. Salman and Katrina Kaif head operations of RAW and ISI respectively to rescue the nurses from terrorist Abu Usman played by the gorgeous UAE-based Iranian actor Sajjad Delafrooz.
Hindi cinema has mostly seen romances across the two countries or films on hatred. Here, the two countries come together to fight a common enemy – terrorism. Well metaphorised by the ‘entry’ of the hero who rescues his son from a pack of wolves, the film follows the same formula in another set up – where the hero rescues women and children from the enemy kingdom.
The banter from both sides of the agents pulls a few guffaws and without intellectualizing too much (like most Salman Khan films), the message is direct – of coming together to settle a bigger issue, and establish harmony. The nurses and their noble profession add a touch of sympathy to the film. The slick camera work and background score matches the film’s pace and your eyes rarely leave the screen.
The locations are established with great harmony, with each one labeled “Somewhere in Syria”, “Somewhere in the Swiss Alps, “Somewhere in the Liwa desert”. What is a tad unconvincing is that when Tiger and his team are led to the hospital where they are to be treated for burns, they don’t look burnt at all. They stand tall as they walk into a space that is the stronghold of the rebel leader played by Delafrooz – a professor-turned-cold-blooded terrorist who entraps an entire population to extremism through his fiery speeches and religious fundamentalism. His confession towards the end that everything is really business adds gravitas to his role and he excels as a performer and an actor who makes his mark. He emotes with his eyes and speaks Hindi as well.
Paresh Rawal stuns with his legendary histrionics, his uncouth, cut-throat character and lends humour to the scene with his phone's ‘Chandni’ ringtone. Kumud Mishra’s Hanuman Chalisa fixation draws a few laughs and Angad Bedi as Tiger’s accomplice makes a mark. Katrina Kaif in her lithe, well-toned body wows us with her stunts. She dares to look ugly in a few scenes and that adds to her character in the film. Well scripted, well shot and engaging,TZH is a good watch and a very entertaining film.