TUBELIGHT (2017)

There has been a lot said and done about this film. While it has to be admitted that Tubelight turned out to be a lot lesser films both in terms of business and sheer quality than what was expected, one has to agree that it does deserve a word or two for why it turned out to be so lukewarm. Salman Khan Releases every EID are bombastic and the two times he has collaborated with Kabir Khan in the past few years, their partnership has meant created magic. While Ek Tha Tiger was a rousing entertainer, Bajrangi Bhaijaan proved to be a universal crowd-pleaser with a lot of heart. What was it about this Jodi then that couldn’t make a film like Tubelight click? Let’s try to ponder on certain points that might shed some light on the matter at hands.

The story is not bad but the screenplay lacks a grip. 20 minutes into the film and I started feeling bored. I was restless and looked at my watch at least a couple of times.

Tubelight is aimed at being a story that will appeal to our hearts and harp on our heart strings. A film that is meant to wet as many handkerchiefs as there are seats in a theater. It fails to do that. While there are a couple of well-envisioned scenes the film doesn’t have the kind of effect that it needed to have in order to make the audience laugh and cry with it.

The film lacks intriguing characters. While Laxman (Salman Khan) is an endearing character, he is hardly someone for whom you can root. He violently oscillates between comedy and melodrama which renders both the flavors ineffective. Even the climatic sequence that many have sighted as one of the best of the film doesn’t work completely.

Salman Khan has a persona that comes out best when he plays the Tiger or Chulbul or for that matter Devil. He is not the kind who has the calling to pull off a character of this nature. It must also be noted that he is badly done in by some bad writing in this film.

The film is laced with prolonged dialogs between characters mostly involving Salman Khan’s character and that of the others which easily get tedious. I couldn’t tolerate the discussions between Laxman and the character of Chinese actress Zhu Zhu. The exposition-heavy sequences are really irritating.

The film has very less entertainment value. I have said this again and again in my reviews that a film is only as good as the entertainment that it provides. Herein, the entertainment factor takes a beating from the unnecessary long runtime and a total lack of soul. Salman Khan films are entertaining if not anything else. However, that’s one thing that Tubelight is not.

A film of this nature cannot work unless the other characters in the film are intriguing and add something to the narrative. The side characters of this film are an unabashed mix of all sorts of Bollywood clichés that you can imagine.

Om Puri in his final film is reduced to a Colonel Sanders (KFC’s owner) look alike who forces Laxman to befriend the Indo-Chinese mother-son duo of Zhu Zhu and Mating Rey Tangu for reasons known only to him and the director. He gets preachy and irritating within moments of his appearance.

Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub is the clichéd bad guy for no reason who only hates and troubles the hapless Laxman for no reason. He too changes in the end and falls for the charms of Laxman in the most clichéd Bollywood manner possible.

Sohail Khan is the square faced brother who has all but one expression and yet somehow he does well enough to enjoy a few appreciating words. His act feels real at least for the while he is in the company of his brother. Their chemistry is natural. Well! They were playing themselves with different names. It couldn’t have been earth-shatteringly hard.

SRK has too small a role to make any impact and neither was he supposed to.

The biggest let down of the film is the failure of the “Yakeen” McGuffin. While “Gandhigiri” worked for Munnabhai, “Gangajaal” worked for Gangajaal, “Wrong Number” worked for PK, “Yakeen” just doesn’t extract the same feelings. To be honest, it doesn’t extract any emotions and that at heart is the biggest reason why the screenplay of this film fails miserably.

Having said all that, I still feel pained by the manner in which this film failed. I wanted to love this film. I thought for once, we would have something in the lines of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Munnabhai or 3 idiots for that matter. A film that would be heartwarming. A film that will give us some hope and get us teary eyed. A film that would entertain and enlighten but unfortunately, Tubelight fizzles out and sinks without a trace. The trailer was an ominous warning and the omens were right.

Rating :  2/5 (Rating 2 out of 5 Stars)

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