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The tiger’s whimper

19th Aug 2012

Ek Tha Tiger

Director: Kabir Khan

Starring: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Girish Karnad, Ranvir Shorey

So is Ek Tha Tiger really not jingoistic?

Abe yaar, it's the opposite. Its central theme is: Aren't ISI and RAW agents human beings too? Shouldn't they be allowed to fall in love with each other?

How? I mean, like, you gift each other state secrets on birthdays and stuff?

Probably. We're supposed to find it ironic that RAW and ISI work together on hindering this particular romance. Between Tiger and Zoya. Before you ask, Salman's Tiger – goes by Manish Chandra, writer. His real name's Avinash Singh Rathore. Zoya Jung could be either Katrina's real or fake name. I'm not sure whether she's a hooker, mistress, maid, dog-trainer or a student.

Okay...what sort of accent does Salman have in the film?

It's poor Kat who's got the schizophrenic accent. Salman speaks Turkish and Earnest. She knows Spanish, and sounds like a Londoner, New Yorker, Creole and Mumbaiyya at different times.

So the action happens in Turkey?

Well, no one gets any action. The closest is a near lip-lock. Katrina even spends some time in a burqa. She makes up for it in this song Mashallah, where she's thrashing about the ground and arching her back and all that. Housewives letch at Tiger in Delhi. Tiger doodh peeta hai. A milkman pours it into a vessel. No Mother Dairy for him.

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Salman speaks Turkish and Earnest. She knows Spanish, and sounds like a Londoner, New Yorker, Creole and Mumbaiyya at different times.

I meant 'action sequences'...

Well, there's a lot of vehicular damage in Dublin. Tomatoes splatter and pottery breaks in Iraq. Someone looks disgusted when Tiger and Zoya dance in Turkey. Cars crash in Cuba. They fly planes, strangle people, hang people, scare chickens, etc. Oh, there's some bhabhi sentiment thrown in.

So, basically, it's got RAW and ISI abandoning all else to track these two down?

Spending tons of money too. I don't know why they bother, because Tiger and Zoya are so dumb, they'd probably put up pictures on Facebook and do Foursquare checks-in.

Does Salman take off his shirt?

Duh. He also dresses up as The Afghan Girl, and goes tobogganing on a table.

What's poor Girish Karnad doing in this film?

Trying to keep a straight face when he says things like, "Only India has the technology to divert missiles Pakistan fires at us right back to Pakistan."

(Splutter) Any (gulp) hint at a sequel?

Well, there could be a homosexual spinoff starring Ranvir Shorey.

So what's the verdict?

There will never again be a film that's simultaneously offensive to Muslims, Rajputs, South Indians, Cubans, tigers, RAW, ISI, physics, geography, history, doctors and pugs Alhamdz.

A tepid attempt to thrill

The Cold Light of Day

Director: Mabrouk El Mechri

Starring: Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver, Roschdy Zem

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Let's say Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, some NGO that campaigns against using mobile phones while driving, and the Spanish Tourism Ministry were to collaborate on a movie. They'd likely make The Cold Light of Day. In other words, Israelis are bad. The CIA is bad. Most Americans are bad. They cheat on their wives. They don't look after the honour of their women. They let chicks sunbathe in bikinis. And they come to Spain on holiday. Oh, look at all the lovely architecture!

Yes, that's basically the plot of the film, if you cut out all the chases, the torture sequences, and a series of hard-to-follow accents, most of which are fake – including that of poor Henry Cavill, who must switch from playing a Tudor-era gentry to being a California boy. And a whole lot of sub-plots that involve double-crossing and woman power.

No one should have to see films that deal with the CIA, Mossad, ISI and RAW over a single weekend. So, you'll understand when I say I thanked God for small mercies when there was no CIA-Mossad romance in here. In fact, there's no romance at all. How did that happen? Well, there's a random twist in the plot that would make it rather repugnant.

To Cavill's credit, he manages to look equally dishy when he's walking jet-lagged out of an airport, speaking agitatedly on the phone, and getting tortured. He plays Will Shaw, the son of Martin (Bruce Willis) and Laurie (Caroline Goodall). The family appears to be celebrating on a sailboat, because his seemingly geeky brother finally got himself a girl.

And then, it all goes wrong. Someone uses a mobile phone. Enter the Israelis, headed by Zahir (Roschdy Zem), who makes a feeble attempt to prove he has feelings too, before tying Will to a chair and doing bad things to him. Enter the hot-headed chicks, Jean (Sigourney Weaver) and Lucia (Verónica Echegui). Goodbye, logic.

Verdict: The best things about the film are Bruce Willis and Henry Cavill talking tough. That is, if you're into hot, powerful men.

 
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