TIGERS (2018)

  • Release Date: 21/11/2018
  • Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Geetanjali Thapa, Danny Huston, Khalid Abdalla, Adil Hussain, Maryam d’Abo.
  • Director: Danis Tanovic

“Tigers” relates the story of Ayan (Emraan Hashmi), a small-time medical representative in Pakistan who hits a jackpot when he is hired by a hotshot foreign conglomerate to sell infant food through pediatricians and medical stores. He achieves unprecedented success as he goes from door to door buying doctors with his social engineering skills and placing his product in every household. Things take an ugly turn when one of the doctors that he has on his payroll reveals to him that the product that he is selling might just be catalyzing a widespread nutrition crisis among the newborns leading to numerous deaths. The rest of the film is about how he deals with the ordeal and what he does to set right what he might have done wrong.

Directed by Danis Tanovic, the man who directed the Oscar winner No Man’s Land, Tigers should have been a cracking film as it has a lot of things going in its favor. To start with the film has an interesting and more than that an extremely important story to tell. It is the kind of story that is more relevant in today’s time than it was ever before. I have suffered myself personally from the commercialization of the medical industry and having two parents who are very sick and practically dependent on medicines. Hence I was instantly hooked to this film for the subject that it brought to the table.

The next big plus for the film was its leading man Emraan Hashmi. I loved his act here. He is perfect as a disillusioned 12th pass man who is blown away by his own achievement as he finds himself rubbing shoulders with doctors and at the same time earning well above his league. He is charged and content in the work that he is doing and he is meeting with considerable success. However, his character goes through an interesting transformation after the big reveal. Hashmi who is a good actor does his best to milk every ounce of the drama that he is allowed to play with. More than anything he is believable and relatable which I think was the biggest plus for his act.

The film has an equally good supporting cast. Adil Hussain plays an interesting character with shades of grey that could have been so much better had they cooked it a little more. His part ends right when it was getting interesting. This is fiction. They could have gone anywhere with his character but they chose to leave it half cooked. Adil was not only getting the feel of the character right but also beginning to give out some really nasty vibes in terms of the character. He would have been great to follow through with. Maryam d’Abo is one of the few foreign characters in a Hindi language film that works beyond the stereotypes. There is a sense of urgency about her character that serves it really well. I loved her act in the climax when she faces Ayan with something that shakes the whole story to its core. Geetanjali Thapa is terrific too. She plays the character in such a low key manner that you can’t help but take her for what she is.

In spite of all that good, Tigers still felt surprisingly underwhelming and the reasons for that are many. Danis Tanovic, who by the way is a master at his art, seems to be confused whether to make it as a fiction or a documentary and that wear and tear between the two ways of approaching the film is all too evident throughout its runtime. This ended up being a fiction and the director could have done a lot many things with the characters and the setting and also amped up the overall subject matter which would have served him well but he chooses not to.

As a result, we have a plot in our hands that doesn’t exactly blame the conglomerate for the deaths of the children but shows us that their product only catalyzes what was an existing issue with the Pakistani government and its supply of water to the households. This up to a great extent diluted the film’s effect for me. Furthermore, the film chooses to do something with the character of Ayan that does come in as a major jolt but doesn’t fully work out the manner in which it should have. The reason for that is simple. The film doesn’t end on a definitive note and the film needed to end in that note for the twist regarding Ayan to work out.

The film’s runtime is both an advantage and a disadvantage. If you ask me, it’s more of a disadvantage as the meager runtime doesn’t let either the plot or the characters to get effective or affecting. The overall treatment of the film is very superficial and the numerous good performances cannot help it rise above its mediocre treatment. Suffice is to say that the biggest issue with the film is in the manner in which it is executed. It had everything that it needed to be great but the director’s indecision towards what to make of that material resulted in the film ending somewhere short of being great.

Tigers is an important film. It brings to our attention a subject that is as shocking as it is noteworthy. I felt that it would have been better off made into a well-researched documentary that would not only shed some light on this grave matter but also help make people understand the level to which corruption and commercialism have seeped through. Unfortunately, that is not the case here and what we get is a film that has momentary flashes of brilliance but doesn’t capitalize either on those opportunities or on the terrific performances and the overall great subject matter at hand. Tigers is a big opportunity

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

Watch the full film here : https://www.zee5.com/movies/details/tigers/0-0-7599

 

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