Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

August 15, 2012

Tiger balm, anyone?

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:36 pm

August 15, 2012

Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Ranvir Shorey, Girish Karnad, Roshan Seth

Director: Kabir Khan

To be fair, Ek Tha Tiger is a very different beast from recent Salman Khan starrers, particularly his last two releases, Ready and Bodyguard. Now that could be construed either as good news or bad news depending on what you thought of those films. For those like me, who weren’t fans of those blockbusters, it’s refreshing to note that Ek Tha Tiger isn’t an over-indulgent one-man showreel. Hallelujah, this film has a plot. Unfortunately, however, it’s a one-line, threadbare plot around which director Kabir Khan constructs the entire movie.

In a nicely done opening, with enough slo-mo shots for the fans to whistle at, we’re introduced to RAW agent Tiger (Salman Khan), who, in a gritty Jason Bourne-ish action sequence, swiftly dispenses with a turncoat agent, then dodges armed assassins through the cobbled streets and dingy alleyways of a busy town in Iraq. Back home unscathed, Tiger, who we discover is just as comfortable with a ladle as he is with a gun, bribes his boss (Girish Karnad) with homemade daal before begging for a new assignment.

Packed off to Dublin to keep an eye on a suspect missile scientist (Roshan Seth), Tiger falls in love with the old man’s housekeeper, Zoya (Katrina Kaif), even as fellow RAW agent Gopi (Ranvir Shorey) advises him not to get distracted from the mission he’s assigned to.

The romantic portions in Ek Tha Tiger are warm and fuzzy, the humor thankfully clean and light-hearted, but as a thriller set in the world of espionage, it’s ironic that the people least intelligent here are the intelligence officers themselves. The interval point reveals a twist that you’ll probably guess a mile away; the only ones caught off-guard are the supposedly smart super-spies.

In his last film New York, director Kabir Khan delivered a watered-down mocktail version of a terrorism story. With Ek Tha Tiger he appears to be going for James Bond Lite. The film’s screenplay packs more holes than you’re likely to find in a fisherman’s net, and the clunky dialogue is the sort you’d expect from someone whose only research involved going through back issues of spy-themed comics.

What doesn’t disappoint is the action in this film. Whether Salman’s sliding down stairs on an overturned table firing at goons in a crowded marketplace, or using his jacket to stop a speeding tram from crashing into a populated street, the more ridiculous the sequence, the more cheers it inspires. A climactic sequence involving our injured hero on a motorbike, an airplane taking off, and lots of explosions, seems straight out of the Dhoom films, but it’s so cheerfully silly it’s hard not to smile.

The film loses its pace during those pensive scenes in which Tiger must make a choice between head and heart, and in those portions where both protagonists must consider the implications of choosing love over duty. The over-simplistic Indo-Pak peace message is only further evidence of the fact that this film treats a serious subject lightly.

Salman Khan’s performance in Ek Tha Tiger is moody at best. He jumps into the action scenes whole-heartedly but seems lost in the film’s dramatic portions, looking subdued even, like the birthday boy who’s having no fun at his own party. The romance between him at Katrina Kaif is sweet, but almost awkward – this film could have done with a little more passion between its leads. Katrina, faced with a fair bit of action herself, commits herself to the role, but her character has a cardboardish edge.

Despite its obvious flaws, Ek Tha Tiger is far from unwatchable. It’s a welcome change from the harebrained films we’ve seen Salman Khan in lately, and for what it’s worth he’s playing a character and not himself for a change. The question you have to ask is – Is that enough?

I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for director Kabir Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger. At best, it’s a satisfying watch. Just don’t go in with high expectations.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. Hi Rajeev ,
    This time your review really looks like that you also gave this movie an extra star just because of Salman .And whats with updating your review this time on Thursday itself , looks like you were also in a hurry to watch this one.

    Sereously , this time you are biased.

    Comment by Saurabh — August 16, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  2. bit slow paced movie..plot not that gr8..again quite silly like all indian films when a tough man like TIGER falls in love, he forgets everything..film makers should’n show love as such silly..wonder when the bullets fired will hit the person rather than missing..train action scene pucca low class masala affair..yuck!!

    Comment by bk aditya — August 16, 2012 @ 4:48 pm

  3. also wonder whether the trains in foreign countries dnt hae any current o their antenna..or is it becoz sallu’s coat was shock resistent??..LOl

    Comment by bk aditya — August 16, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

  4. bullshit……. this film is awesome
    u say salman dont know acting
    u have lost your mind
    better give good reviews next time pleazzzz….

    Comment by Rahul — August 16, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  5. You are the only one among those critic i care to follow and you are the only one who gave the honest view of this tired Zoo tiger.

    Comment by Jignesh — August 16, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

  6. Kal ko agar Salman early-early morning Lota leke road kinare baath jaye & a movie is shot in a Andy Warholesque style, then also the movie will gather 100 crore in 5 days. Indian audience needs a weekly fix of entertainment every weekend/holiday. It cares a shit about storyline, characters etc. Family outing main jao, Multiplex main Movie Dekho & Food court main khao..Finish

    Comment by Jamure — August 16, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

  7. I became an idiot by watching this film. Unpatriotic movie should not have been released on our independence day.

    Comment by Vijay — August 16, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

  8. Hi Rajeev,

    Hope you are doing good. I couldnt stop myself to leave a comment for this review.

    I completely agree with the Ratings given by you. The movie could have been far more better. But considering the fact how bad Bodyguard was, i loved this Sallu flick. Well, i am not much into Hollywood films, so i loved every bit of the action sequences in the movie, something different from the South Indian Action we r seeing in our cinemas today.

    I also found the chemistry between Salman and Katrina very beautiful. The 1st half was a liitle slow, but the action-packed 2nd half made up for it. Though the end, which i consider was quite abrupt as i awaiting something more to happen.

    I save lot of my money after reading your reviews and ignore all those movies…lol.. But went for Tiger before your reviews were out and hence my comments on this movie.

    Wish u Good Luck at the movies too!!!

    Comment by Ravish Jain — August 16, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

  9. Its a nothing movie yet Salman and a sexy girl (i think KAT) made the public to set records !unfair in India no public waaarm for actors like Manoj bajpayee sir..

    Comment by Akhil singh — August 16, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

  10. 2.5 star? ahan…???? please stop posting bias review(its more lookin like u have a soft corner for salman)!Be the rajeev masand who rated READY and BODYGUARD with 1.5 stars….!This shit movie dont even deserve more than 1.5 stars!Action was more of a stuff like we have seen in hollywood ficks like BOURNE IDENTITY and BOURNE ULTIMATUM.!Salman looked more like a monkey rather than TIGER……!DISAPPOINTED……..expected alot…after watchin its catchy trailers!

    Comment by Tegil Sharma — August 17, 2012 @ 1:03 am

  11. absolutely true, just watch it without high expectation and chances are you will enjoy it , I like rajeev masand review.

    Comment by siddhantk kharel — August 17, 2012 @ 6:11 am

  12. i am giving o.5 star its a rubbish movie all action scene are duplicate and ITS HORRIBLE THE SALMAN KHAN FACE IS PASTE ON THE DUPLICATE FACE ARE U OBSERVING?

    Comment by rahul — August 17, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  13. First of all, a critic’s rating of a movie does not tell how well one can enjoy the movie in question.It just talks about the movie in terms of various intellectual parameters which a general audience does not care about.Thus my point is u dont have to REVIEW the review of a movie. If I feel like seeing a movie I dont mind what was said about the movie in the reviews. I will just go and watch it. There were many movies I enjoyed watching but critics dint like. So it totally depends on you guys.If u enjoy watching a movie, then it is totally worth it no matter what is the rating.

    Comment by Gururaj — August 17, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

  14. Bakwaas film

    Comment by Satish — August 17, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

  15. After New York i expected kabir khan is going to give a big blockbuster but the movie was so pathetic, the story has so many loopholes like katrina having tears and telling about some metor dates etc, salman really looks of his actual age and had not done his part even the doubles used were not morphed properly kat’s double was a guy was clearly visible vfx effects were not upto the mark
    Due to my friend i had to sit for the whole boring movie whole of it i was like when will this torture get over

    Comment by Punit pushkar — August 17, 2012 @ 11:02 pm

  16. ” The over-simplistic Indo-Pak peace message is only further evidence of the fact that this film treats a serious subject lightly”. This little comment about the film is sufficient to know the quality of your review. I seriously cannot believe how can someone say you are biased when you give so clear evidence for your comments. I used to ask myself every time I watch bollywood movie…don’t these people watch films around the world. In here even after watching Bourne they come up with this shit. Anyways you copied the stunts, go on copy even the story. I will be happy to pay even for that. But not this shit.

    Comment by Mithun Prasad — August 18, 2012 @ 10:58 pm

  17. Ah, come on! 2.5, really?! How did you even sit through the frivolity?

    Comment by Surya Prakash — August 19, 2012 @ 12:20 am

  18. My review on Ek Tha Tiger http://aajani.blogspot.ca/2012/08/the-roar-from-furious-tiger.html

    Comment by Amin Ajani — August 19, 2012 @ 1:50 am

  19. thanks to your review sir i watched it in single screen theater.. and saved some money and agree its a satisfying watch.. 🙂 2.75/5 my ratings good for one time watch

    Comment by ali — August 19, 2012 @ 9:51 am

  20. ek tha tiger is nt gud film but below average

    Comment by rahul kanwar — August 19, 2012 @ 11:28 am

  21. well i do really agree with the review ….. the onlything good in the movie was the chemistry between salman and katrina otherwise there was just no story and seriously if someone would have told that KATRINA was in ISI to me before watching the movie then i would have guessed the whole story .. the stunts were like as if he was not TIGER but SPIDERMAN Thus i wondered why the producers named it ek tha tiger it should have been ” 2 THAY SPIDERMAN “and that were also too artificial for a grown up to realise about the BODY DOUBLE used . ” still the movie is a time pass and affter a gap of 1-2 moths a movie in bollywood has come which can be enjyed with family too ……

    Comment by ashim — August 20, 2012 @ 12:04 pm

  22. really movie is not worth at all to see ! may be people are die hard fan of salman but this movie can disappoint any one..dosto bilkul mat dekhna …….bless u ol

    Comment by rohan — August 20, 2012 @ 6:52 pm

  23. it’s a gud movie.
    Lot better than flop ra1 & flop don2..

    Comment by kshitij — August 21, 2012 @ 3:23 am

  24. Salman is the North Indian Rajanikanth. Shame on those who used to blame South Indian Masala Movies.. Bollywood films are starting to scripted for Morons.. Good old days of Amol palekkar, Dev anand and Big b

    Comment by Ajber Rahman — August 22, 2012 @ 9:57 am

  25. ghatiya movie hai …. dekhne mat chale jaana ….
    main dekh ke aaya hu aur paise waste ho gye hain …
    movie mein kuch bhi nhi hai …. bas action hai aur action se movie nhi chalti aur haa TIGER TIGER krne vaale zabardasti movie ki taarif kar rhe hain …
    main is movie ko 1.5 stars dunga bas …. usse upar is movie ki aukaat nhi hai …. mujhe to isse pehle vaali films ka bhi samajh nhi aaya ki kyun chali hain salman ki …. SALMAN ko na to acting aati thi , na aati hai aur na kabhi aayegi …

    Comment by Aman — August 22, 2012 @ 7:23 pm

  26. Hi Rajeev,

    Hope you are doing good !!! I am great follower of all your reviews in past but this time don’t know i am not at all convinced by your rating for EK THE TIGER.
    If this movie is such a crap it would not have written a success story in just a week.

    Comment by Rishi Kaushik — August 23, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

  27. my god ! such a shame on this movie.i just wonder if tom cruise ,brad pitt dicaprio and all other h-people made sit to watch this shit they will die laughing d same day.n pls dont compare this shit actor with srk .he is intnl star.educated ppl see his film not like all the rickshawalas see salmans film lol…pity on indian audience…n btw i watched it on frnds pc not in theatre.

    Comment by prateek — August 25, 2012 @ 1:40 am

  28. ..Where the rest of the world is trying to save the tigers.. India and pakistan have joined hands, for their first ever assignment together, to kill ONE… though this tiger looks too heavy but is as fit as a cheetah and in the end cheetah hi jeeta…!! the parkour chase scenes is a welcome change unlike the typical south indian flavoured action seqeunces bollywood has been serving these days but
    dont forget it is a bollywood movie after all where the bullet struck hero can not only ride a motorcycle but can even jump into a helicopter while it is taking off and STILL stays alive and as salman himself has been saying in one his recent advertisements “yeh thora zyaada ho gaya…” it started off like a james bond or bourne identity sort of SPY-thrillers but ended up being a BHAI-thriller…the title tune of the movie matches perfectly with salman’s signature attitude…Katrina looks gorgeous as usual in her olay-washed face, glossy aam-sutra lips and veet used sexy legs…movie is a roller-coaster ride with many twists and turns… and the best part of it is that it is not at all emtional as most romantic movies are…it is fresh and sexy… go watch it while it is still running in the theaters otherwise you might repent later saying, Ek tha Tiger..!!!

    Comment by kushal bajpai — September 4, 2012 @ 9:01 am

  29. i dont understand your opinion same as previous for salman khan ….i am not fan of salman ..but its fact that this is the era of commercialization.195.cr is not little amount mr.masand be realistic u haver to realize that salman khan is one man army at all…truely KING KHAN

    Comment by karan sinha — September 9, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

  30. I have read all the comments here & it seems that most of these personal reviews are biased by one way or another.ETT is truley FAR FROM UNWATCHABLE & ofcourse ONE TIMER.In India, Salman Khan is a Religion now & thats why any story, screenplay, director etc dont matter at all.People will anyway go & watch & thus it makes the actor & his films CRITIC PROOF.But, like other professionals, Critics are also doing their assigned job & nobody should feel bad about this.Coming on to ETT, my rating for the movie is 3/5 & its mainly becoz of very good action sequences for a bollywood level movie, average to good performances by star cast, story & fresh music & interestingly good casting.Screenplay could have been improved with some fresh ONE-LINERS as We witnessed in some previous Salman movies.Overall,its a satisfying watch all the way.

    Comment by Aishwarya K — September 15, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

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