“Tiger Zinda Hai” carries on from where its previous installment left off. 25 Indian and 15 Pakistani Nurses are held hostage by the dreaded ISIS (ISIS changed to ISC) terrorists in a hospital in Ikrit (changed from Tikrit in Iraq). India has 7 days before the US bomb the hospital to annihilate the leader of ISC who is undergoing treatment in the very same hospital after being injured in an attack. The chief of RAW, Shenoy (Girish Karnard) believes no one other than a rogue spy, Tiger (Salman Khan) can save the day for the country. ISI too can’t find anyone better than their own rogue agent, Zoya (Katrina Kaif), who dared to marry an Indian RAW agent, for the job. The rest of the film goes just as you believed it would go from the very first scene.

There is no point in getting into believability, intrigue and other cinematic elements that we associate with documentary-esc espionage/terrorist thrillers. Like all his film, “Tiger Zinda Hai” is a tip-of-the-hat for its larger than life leading man Salman Khan. He is square-jawed and oozes nothing else but Salman-ness and that I believe is all that his fans want. If you are not into that sort of a fair, this is not a film for you. Add to that a pinch of Katrina Kaif’s own brand of expressionless and straight-faced acting and you have two charismatic people playing themselves from start to finish using the plot and action as a means to propel and suit their repertoire and what they believe then can do best. The biggest question is whether you are interested in it? Whether you are interested in the manner in which they will reach the ultimate climax of the film that, by the way, you already know.

“Tiger Zinda Hai” is a film that is guilty of the same flaws and melodrama that we have been celebrating in the name of vintage and nostalgic Bollywood for years. The villain tries to gas the hero to death when he could have easily put a bullet in his head. Indians and Pakistanis die in pursuit of saving each other’s lives. When the hero fires he hits everything but the villains spraying him with bullets never hit anything. The list is too long to cram into one review. However, the biggest question would still be whether the pros of the film outweigh its cons. Thankfully, they do, atleast for the Salman Khan fans.

“Tiger Zinda Hai” is 2 hours 45 minutes long but for its runtime, it felt rather breezy. The matter is helped by the fact that the film does have an interesting screenplay that may not keep you intrigued but will surely keep you entertained. The plot quickly moves from point a to b and doesn’t meander in its progression. The brief romantic part also feels warm and attractive. The fact that it is kept brief helps the treatment. Knowing fully well which way the story was headed, I was more interested in the path that the director would take to reach that point and he does quite well. The supporting cast lends able support with someone like Paresh Rawal really making an impact. I didn’t even know Rawal was in this film and his act was a sweet surprise.

The film is filled with ballistic action sequences and beautiful cinematography. The action may not be incessant but there is enough of it to keep one and all happy. Apart from the first action sequence involving the wolves that was being hailed as something extraordinary, all other sequences work well. As far as this sequence is concerned, I felt that the tension was done in by some poor editing and very evident vfx work. However, once the story shifts to Iraq, the visuals and the action take a different turn. I loved the action involving Katrina and how she rescues a few oppressed women from the ISC. This sequence is a perfect example of how good editing can elevate an action sequence which was able to make very little use of its actual star.

Salman Khan brings his A-game to the screen. He does everything that he is loved for including baring his upper body and I am certain that his fans will hail this film as “the second coming of God on earth”. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if this film is touted as the best action film of all times by his fans. I am not a Salman fan and hence I viewed the film in a manner that is much more level-headed and is neither in denial of the flaws nor the qualities. This is definitely an entertaining film which is lush with beautiful visuals, good action and has a fairly interesting plot. It also has a leading man who is no short of being a superman himself. His leading lady is just as powerful and indomitable. Add to that a slew of crowd-pleasing moments like slow-motion walks with intense expressions on the face with a pulsating score playing in the background, cute cuddles, ultra-humane-goodness from the leading man and the lady and a dose of Indo-Pak friendship that you don’t see too often these days and you have a film that is perfectly watchable.

That, however, doesn’t take away the flaws of which there are many. “Tiger Zinda Hai” is a very self-aware film that doesn’t try to take itself too seriously. This helps its cause and also makes people like me like it a bit more. I knew what to expect from this film and it delivered on all those counts. People ridiculing it for not being reasonable might as well blame “Pather Panchali” for not having an item number. This is a film that will be a treat for the Salman fans. The others may also watch it provided they know what to expect from it. I had a good time with it even though I don’t see myself watching it again.

Rating : 2.5/5 (2.5 out of 5 Stars)


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