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Posted at: Dec 22, 2017, 5:21 PM; last updated: Dec 22, 2017, 6:31 PM (IST)MOVIE REVIEW: TIGER ZINDA HAI

Sultan of action alive and kicking

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Sultan of action alive and kicking
A still from Tiger Zinda Hai

Nonika Singh

Jajba rakhne mein aur jajbati hone mein fark hota hai… Indeed, only the film forgets the difference all too soon. So, Tiger who is on a serious mission to Iraq to rescue Indian nurses is ready to blow his cover for an unknown 13-year-old boy. Actually, Ali Abbas Zafar (of Sultan fame) lays it too thick and opens far too many fronts. There is an exaggerated dose of India Pakistan bonhomie, RAW and ISI are a team. Ha ha…but who cares for a team when Tiger (Salman Khan) is in-charge.

Yes, it’s the same Tiger, the RAW agent, in hibernation for eight years he hasn’t lost a single bit of his killer instinct or skills. He can tear down a pack of wolves… expectedly he is the perfect choice to lead the mission. Actually he is the mission. Yes, he picks a team, a sniper, a bomb expert and a hacking wizard…but all of these are mere props. Even talented actor Kumud Mishra, who spends more time chanting Hanuman Chalisa rather than breaking codes, is wasted.

The only actor apart from Salman that stands his ground is the ace villain. Iranian actor Sajjad Delforz, as the dreaded terrorist Abu of ISIL, he carries the impassive look and the menace together to cut a fine and an unusual picture. Rest of it is all predictable and formulaic.

Where Zafar scores is in making the expected work without using any excesses. Yes, the usual tropes, romance, family, not to forget a dash of patriotic fervor, are all there. But he quickly gets over it all to arrive at the core of the film that is action.

Spy thrillers can be an intelligent affair. But spare your grey cells… this espionage drama is driven by action and action alone with a smattering of sentiments that don’t cut much ice anyway. Of course, the action is slick and the film is lavishly mounted. From Austria to Iraq, clearly no expense has been spared. Production quality is superlative.

Locales speak for themselves. And, dear Sallu Bhai is in complete command. Swag Se Karenge Sab Ka Swagat…the song might arrive in the end. But there is no mistaking the swagger of Salman. From scene one he walks like the monarch of all he surveys.

Surprising… Abu can’t spot him the moment he lays his eyes on him. But then Tiger, we know, is invincible and unconquerable. You bet woh zinda hai, alive and kicking in his usual trademark style. Katrina as his Pakistani wife Zoya stands by him in good stead. Her action sequences are as remarkable. Actually she makes a better impression in her first scene where she holes up muggers.

Later too she kicks up quite a storm. But finally she too has to bow down and take backseat to the Sultan of action. Only, don’t expect a Sultan either from the director Zafar or Salman. Here both willingly cave in to Salman's superstar status who once again emerges no less that human superman. But then that’s exactly why his fans throng to watch him.

Only this one will keep not just his admirers but others too fairly satiated. Logic might have taken a complete toss here but the fast pace makes you skip over the inanities as fast too. If you are ready for an out and out actioner, this one will work for you.

By the way if anyone needs to take an objection to the film, it oughtn’t be Pakistan who has banned the film.   It’s Americans who come out looking rather silly, if not out and out despotic, as Tiger does the job for them too.

nonikasingh@tribunemail.com

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