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Tiger Zinda Hai Movie Review: Fanboy Director Makes This Tiger Roar!

Tiger Zinda Hai

Starring Salman Khan, Katrina KaifSajjad DelafroozGirishKarnadKumud MishraParesh Rawal

Directed by Ali Abbas Zafar

Rating: *** ( 3 Stars)

When did this Tiger ever stop roaring? Well…okay,  Tubelight didn’t quite  work . Salmaniacs didn’t want to watch him as a  whimpywhiny crybaby hero. The message is hammered loud and clear in Tiger Zinda Hai(TZH), a homage to Salman Khan’s indomitable  powers  of hero-giri. From  the first frame to the last blast, this is a fanboy director making sure that every moment of the narrative ispaisa vasool  for the Salman fans.

 Tiger Zinda Hai is a 2 ½  hour homage to Salman Khan’ssuperstardom. In the cinema of the Southern superstars likeRajinikanth or even Mammoothy(see his latest release Masterpiece  where in almost every frame the star is eulogized) it is  common practice to extol the virtues of  the  Man Of  The Moment, to the extent that the  other members  of the cast appear to be afterthoughts.

Almost every supporting actor in  TZH—and that  includes the diligent Katrina Kaif –is  an extension of Salman Khan’ssuperstardom, his or  existence defined  by  how much he or she hero-wosrhips  our intelligence officer Avinash Singh Rathod a.k.aTiger.  The  lengthy eulogy gets tedious only when the actors pause to tell  us  what a daunting one-man army our hero is.

And since that happens quite often, we are frequently asked to hold our horses,  while the compliments flow and the speedbreakers are served  up. Once those are  out of the way TZH is a lot of fun to watch. The sheer silliness of  a one-man army mowing a mayhem across  terrorism,  at a time when heroes in cinema across the world are exposing their vulnerability more than their virility(see the  haunting Call Me By Your Name to know what I mean)  is laughable.

So is  the attempt  to infuse a  political  urgency  to an endeavour that is  clearly on a one-point mission: no, not save the tiger,but celebrate the hero’s macho-giri until it hurts. And I don’t mean the  muscles.

 Tho his credit director Ali Abbas Zafar packs in quite a punch. The narrative  takes us through a collage of quirky, appealing locations where some  really well-choreographed action scenes are shot with breathless zeal  . Full marks to cinematographer Marcin Laskawiecand action director  Tom Struthers,not to mention the pulse-pounding yet discreet  background score by Julian Packiam , for uplifting the viewers’ gaze to a level comparable with the Hollywood franchise.

 A thought, though. Are we so short  of international-calibre talent that we need to import important technicians to make our  onscreen action look competitive and competent? And does Salman’s stardom really need a boost? A no to the  first question and  a yes to the second. Salman’s superstardom is  like  a pitcher of  brackish brew  whose bitter hue is best tasted when recycled with gusto.

TZH looks like many other anti-terror films including Baby and NaamShabana.And if you really want to see a taut intensely-felt take on the same plot about the kidnapping of nurses in Iraq, try the Malayamfilm Take Off.

Admittedly the action sequences in TZH are better staged  than in the first Tiger film. Except for the Iranian actor Sajjad Delfarooz who stands  out as the terror mastermind, the splendid supporting cast is  criminally wasted. It’s sad to see actors  like Girish KarnadPareshRawalKumud Mishra and Angad Bedi hanging around  only to make  sure the leading man looks his  Sunday best. Still  these actors ferret  out their moments  from a script that allows no breathingspacefor anything but comicbook vigour .

 As for Katrina Kaif she remains as deadpan as ever. Thank God some things never change. But she’s surprisingly effective in the action scenes , more so than she was in a similar role in Kabir Khan’sPhantom, or for  matter in Kabir Khan’s Ek Tha Tiger.

As for her chemistry with Salman, his eyes melt like a icrecream cone left out in the sun, each time she’s around. Will someone make  an intense love story with the two?

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