Shalu’s Review of Ek The Tiger

There are films and then there are Salman Khan films. The former kind needs a good script, good screenplay and decent acting chops to be liked. The latter kind just needs Salman Khan to be his own charming self. The problem with the Yash Raj Films produced Ek Tha Tiger is that director Kabir Khan tries to mix the two kinds of films and doesn’t quite manage to do a good job of it. A bigger problem is that Salman Khan’s charm is completely missing here.

Tiger (Salman Khan) is a RAW intelligence officer who believes in letting his punches do the talking. His latest assignment takes him to Dublin where he meets Zoya (Katrina Kaif), part-time caretaker of the scientist he has to keep an eye on. The two fall in love, but along comes a twist in the tale which turns Tiger’s life upside down. Now Tiger has to choose between his love and his duty towards his country.

Ek Tha Tiger is primarily a love story with huge doses of action thrown in. The action part works, and how! The film has some of the best action scenes in the history of Bollywood. However, they are brought down a notch by Salman’s low-on-energy body language. It doesn’t help that he looks paunchy and too out of shape for some of the stunts. The romance part just doesn’t work – neither the romantic comedy of the first half, nor the intense love story of the second half. A big part of the blame for this goes to the poor screenplay. It completely fails to engage the viewers and it is only during a handful of action scenes in the second half that one feels totally involved in the proceedings.

Since the screenplay is not engaging enough, the loopholes in the story itself become more apparent. And they are so many that they make the intelligence officers (of many countries) look plain dumb. Unfortunately, the dull and poorly picturised songs do nothing to brighten up the proceedings. The cinematography does deserve brownie points to highlight the local flavours of all the countries the protagonists travel to.

Kabir Khan made Katrina give her career best performance in New York and here again she shines as the spunky Zoya. Be it the light moments or the emotional ones, she hits the right notes. The biggest surprise of the film is how well she does the action scenes – in fact she trumps Salman in quite a few. Salman, on the other hand, looks quite uncomfortable playing the sauve intelligence agent. His dialogue delivery is monotonous and his expressions are all wrong most of the time. Like I mentioned earlier, the trademark Salman charm is missing. The supporting cast of Girish Karnad, Roshan Seth and Ranveer Shorey gives the film a next-level respectability, though none of them seem convinced with what they are doing.

Ek Tha Tiger is a film that had everything going for it – two biggest stars, high production values, immense hype, but once again the lack of a good script brought a potentially good film down. This Tiger doesn’t quite manage to roar.

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  1. sputnik 9 years ago


    Thanks for posting this review. Please do check back here often.

    I changed the title and added a picture. Hope that’s ok with you.

  2. I.One 9 years ago

    My views are exactly opposite to what Shalu have written here 🙂

    The film is the best Sallu movie to come out of theater after Wanted. Engaging – Thats what the movie is. Not only action but the romance part was also very good. Salman gives better performance unlike his over the top Bodyguard or Ready. Katrina is good. Only part which I dint liked was when songs were playing.

    Overall a breezy entertainer. 3.5 stars out of 5 for me.

  3. Baba Ji 9 years ago

    Thanks for posting this shalu.

    ” The film has some of the best action scenes in the history of Bollywood. ”

    this is a strong statement to make but i can agree that salman might not have looked convincing.I ddint like his action in dabang too.He is too fat and heavy feet to be a swift action hero.

    Good to know katrina acted well 😀

    You know in one of the interviews,salman said he saw his Tiger role as a total massy salman style while kabir khan saw it in totally different way.The end result might hv been a khichdi.These things happen when the hero and his director are not on the same page.

    • Author
      Shalu 9 years ago

      Baba, The action scenes are really well choreographed. Very different from regular bollywood stuff. Maybe because the action director is from hollywood. It is another thing that Salman could not do justice to the stunts.

  4. sputnik 9 years ago

    I have not seen this or Agent Vinod but how similar is it to Agent Vinod?

    I had said this after the first teaser trailer.

    ‘The initial B&W scenes make the trailer seem a bit different otherwise it is same as Agent Vinod. Same India-Pak angle, ISI, RAW, Morocco and even the jumping scenes. Action also seems similar thought I think it will be more Salman style.

    As narad said it might be “the same Sallu type potboiler with a different backdrop”.’

    • Author
      Shalu 9 years ago

      I found Agent Vinod more convincing in terms of storytelling though the action in ETT is better.

      • Zafshee 9 years ago

        @shalu, @Sputnik – Agent Vinod was similar but little more complicated. It failed only because of its run time, Mujara song in the film and the climax which was quite long. Otherwise film was quite decent. (If one compare the sequences i.e beginning and end mostly they are similar to ETT.)

  5. I.One 9 years ago

    Haven’t watched Agent Vinod, so cant compare. But rest, I had mentioned in my comment. A lot better movie and its fast paced unlike what Shalu have written. Got the feeling of Bourne. Bourne was neither very famous with ladies 🙂

  6. Bored 9 years ago

    Agent Vinod and ETT have both missed a bus when it comes to creating a modern RAW agent. AG went too far in going retro while in ETT Salman insists on being Salman instead of a character.

    There is scope of creating our own version of Bond with RAW/ISI backdrop (something that only the first teaser of ETT promised). But for that the makers need to downplay the typical romance in a Bollywood film and for once forget the bad luggage of all previous Bollywood attempts in the spy thriller genre – tough ask!

    • Bored 9 years ago

      From some of the reviews and the trailers it seems like Aditya Chopra came up with this story keeping Hrithik from Dhoom 2 in mind – a lot of thrilling stunts with a love story at its core. I guess Hrithik did not want to repeat his Dhoom act and YRF went with Salman instead after the Dabangg wave.

      End result is a Salmanified movie. Hrithik may have done better justice to the stunts and may had better chemistry with Katrina – but in the action genre YRF does not even want to go beyond their Dhoom formula – which is a shame.

      Wont be surprised if Dhoom 3 is equally formulaic – then Aamir would be a misfit, which wont work for that movie either.

    • Baba Ji 9 years ago

      bored – i quite agree here.I think the right commitment is lacking in bw.

      Actually instead of the cliched RAW vs ISI (it is basically india vs pak),I am more interested in seeing a movie depicting conflict between our very own RAW and IB (Intelligence bureau) .This internal cold war is going since the inception of RAW in late 60s bcos it was formed out of failure of IB .I think in Vidya balans kahaani ,there was scope to show this conflict had the director introduced vidya as a RAW agent.

      • Bored 9 years ago

        Agree with you, but if BW film-makers cant even get a decent movie out of the RAW/ISI feud then your idea is even a tougher ask.

        Sarfarosh was one action movie with was gritty and quite well researched. But they dont make them anymore. Today is quite the right day to revisit Sarfarosh, instead of lining up for something silly like ETT.

  7. I.One 9 years ago

    Chetan Bhagat ‏@chetan_bhagat – Saw ek tha tiger. In single screen theatre. Smash hit.

  8. Serenzy 9 years ago


    Nice Points Yaar!

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