I too saw “Ek Tha Tiger”!

I go to see Salman Khan’s movies more for their hype than the content! In recent times, his one movie after another has been a blockbuster. So invariably, I went to see Dabaang and Bodyguard and now Ek Tha Tiger!

As I am writing this on 23rd August 2012, I see reports that this movie has raked in Rs 150.40 crores nett in the domestic market in eight days. Ek Tha Tiger was released on 3,300 screens in India on August 15. Due to the Independence Day holiday, the movie received an earth-shattering response with its collection reaching Rs 32.92 crore nett on the opening day. The movie has shattered all records of previous blockbuster films like Ra.One, Agneepath, 3 Idiots, Dabangg and Bodyguard. Trade analyst feel that it has set a new collection record, which is difficult to break!

At the outset, Ek Tha Tiger is a smartly scripted, crisply edited and stylishly told love story. The action sequences, shot on locations as far apart as Zakho in northern Iraq, Istanbul Dublin and Havana, make a great viewing and yes,  Ek Tha Tiger has stunts that come close to taking your breath away.

Filmed on locations around the world, including parts of the world where Hindi cinema has rarely been to before, the story is about a RAW agent called Tiger who is sent to Dublin to investigate the mysterious ways of an anti-missile technology expert of Indian origin, Professor Anwar Jamal Kidwai (well portrayed by Roshan Seth). The scientist is suspected of passing on classified information to the Pakistani defence establishment. So the Indian spy befriends the part-time caretaker of his home, Zoya (Katrina Kaif) and his pugnacious pug (the dog is called Rocket). No mission is impossible for our man Tiger, and once he marks out his territory and goes in for the kill, his foes, no matter how wily they are, end up in body bags.

However, in this tale of a valiant spy and his all-out war to save the woman he loves from the intelligence agencies of two nations, the outcome isn’t wholly predictable. The hero takes uncharted detours to get to his eventual goal. When the spy struggles with the conflict between head and heart and weighs the pros and cons of falling in love with a girl as shadowy as him, the film tends to slow down a little. But such scenes are few and far between. With actors like Girish Karnad (as Mr Shenoy, a RAW Officer) and Ranvir Shorey (as Gopi, Tiger’s trusted operational aide) in the supporting cast, the Ek Tha Tiger manages to hold the interest of the audience till the end. Though in between one feels that movie has almost ended!

The action scenes appear to be very well filmed, especially the one involving a tram in Dublin! Katrina’s action scenes are also breathtaking! Katrina finally does much more than just singing and dancing in this movie!

There are many lose ends in the movie like instant availability of a get-away aircraft, withdrawing huge amount in Dollars from an ATM (from apparently an INR saving account!). But in the end, these do not matter. When you come out of the movie theatre, you feel as if you have achieved a land mark of having seen a “must see” movie – mainly not to lag behind in any discussions in social gatherings!

Thats Patiala House for You !

(A Review of the Movie ‘Patiala House’ by Swarnagauri Tonse)

‘Patiala House’ is a cute movie wrapped up in cheese that is cheesier than cheese.

We went to the movie with very low expectations, considering the major disappointment from Akshay Kumar in his last film, Tees Maar Khan and the mediocrity of the promos. We hardly had any choice as there were no other films worth watching that weekend and we had to watch something. Thankfully Patiala House wasn’t as disappointing as Tees Maar Khan, and on the contrary was at least 5 times better than it.

The movie is about an ex-cricket star Parghat Singh Kalhot or ‘Gattu’(Akshay Kumar) who has to abandon his dream of playing in the England Cricket Team because of his dad. His dad hates the ‘goras’ because of two of their relatives were murdered  at the height of racial tensions in Southall. After that he devotes himself to the cause of representing Indians of Southall who have been victims of injustice and mistreatment by the ‘goras’. He orders his son to not play cricket, especially with the ‘goras’. As a compliant son of an overbearing dad he gives up his dreams and becomes a shopkeeper of an Indian shop his dad gives him. His brothers, sisters and cousins who live with him (it’s a big joint family) blame him for their inability to pursue their dreams against the wishes of the head of the house, so with the persuasion of his family members and his half-gori girlfriend Simran (Anoushka Sharma) he secretly goes for the try-outs for the new English T20 team, and even makes it.

The big and the only let down of the movie is the story. It is filled with illogicalities and is hardly convincing. On the up side though, all the actors did a good job. Akshay Kumar was subtle and wasn’t over the top, Anushka Sharma was pretty and her acting was good, Rishi Kapoor did a great job and Gattu’s British-Indian family members were a heartwarming lot. My only problem was that a great actress like Dimple Kapadia was given a miniscule role as Gattu’s mother. She didn’t have many lines and just had to stand and sulk. The films does have its moments of laugh-out-loud comedy and poignant drama. The soundtrack by Shankar Ehsaan Loy isn’t very impressive and the songs don’t really stick to your mind, except for one or two. Overall, it’s a pleasant one-time watch. I don’t have any great expectations from the movie’s box office collections though.

If you are willing to digest sour cheese to get to the cuteness of the movie, then surely watch it. I give the movie 2.5 stars out of 5.