‘Out of more than 200 countries in the world, why did you fall in love with a Pakistani,’ thunders Shenoy (Girish Karnad) to his protégé RAW agent Tiger (Salman Khan). You see, this workaholic of an agent has done the unthinkable—asked for a desk job after doing field work continuously for 12 years. This had something to do with the last mission he went to. The Tiger got tamed and fell in love with a Pakistani girl.
Flashback to the last mission: In order to get close to his subject—a whimsical university professor in London, Tiger befriends his home caretaker and dance student Zoya (Katrina Kaif).
Finding him a bit square, Zoya calls him a “kaddu”, and asks him to “get a little cooler” for a night-out with friends. He complies, ditching the coat for a jacket, and she appreciates the gesture. As their endearing friendship develops into a romance, we see the sights-and-sounds of London—its wonderful street culture and eccentricities.
The humour is understated, most evident when Salman’s character takes a self-deprecating dig at the name Tiger. And the scene involving a chase and a complicated door knob.
The film is a treat for fans of the stars. Salman Khan oozes charm and that inexplicable star quality throughout. Perhaps it has to do with a certain vulnerability and humour he brings in, even for regular, dry action scenes. The styling works and this is the best he has looked in a long time. Katrina has an interesting, meaty role as well, and the actress impresses with her earnest performance. She excels in the challenging action scenes, and is evocative in the emotional ones. Plus she’s looking like a zillion bucks throughout.
The film is technically proficient. The moody cinematography and dexterous editing are commendable. The songs are pretty good as well.
Director Kabir Khan, deviates from the trend of making content-heavy films to come up with one that’s light and airy. The film’s simplicity (the story can be capsuled in a single sentence), is refreshing and that is its biggest strength. It is to the credit of the makers, that they’ve kept the lines clean, and not gotten into self-indulgent sub-plots and a plethora of extraneous characters. Neither does it fall into the item-number trap that many commercial “family films” fall into.
Kabir Khan’s storytelling is sure-footed and he manages to tell the story intelligently without compromising on the film’s entertainment value. While many have pre-booked their tickets for the film, there are still a sizeable number of fence-sitters who are in no mood to revisit a Wanted or Bodyguard—a brand of films that has become synonymous with Salman.
Rest assured, this is the kind of film that doesn’t get into the high or low-brow argument. It’s a simple story, told with conviction and with enough star-value and action to keep everyone happy. Go for it!
Rating: 3.5 stars