Kabir Khan and Salman Khan team for the 3rd Eid outing.
When the project TUBELIGHT was announced, but obvious expectations were sky high. We have the dream team of maverick director Kabir Khan and Bhai, Salman Khan teaming up for the 3rd time after the stupendous success of Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. The latter not only scored for Salman in terms of performance but also struck an emotional chord so strong that the audiences still love the reruns. Even the songs of the film which picked up immensely post release, tracks people still love to hear.
With the backdrop of the 1962 Indo-China conflict and the film, Little Boy, the movie story is simple, the bond of two brothers who look after each other, with the younger one Bharat (Sohail), protecting the elder, slow, Lakshman (Salman). Post Bharat enlisting, Lakshman spends his entire efforts in bringing his younger brother back home, safely.
What a wonderful concept. Even when I heard the story outline, it instantly struck the right notes. Kabir is known for making films on cross border conflicts and handles the subject beautifully. Salman has that trust in him post BB wherein he can give in completely to the Kabir’s vision.
But, somewhere, in terms of screenplay, credited to Kabir, the writers and the director lose the plot and direction in the proverbial second half.
With an emotional background score, coupled with a stirring performance by Salman, the first half sets up the foundation for the journey of Lakshman Bisht on self belief and his brother’s rescue. This is where Kabir fails. In an attempt to create the new Gandhigiri mantra, of moving mountains with self belief, a half baked attempt at Indo-Chini bhai bhai, (casting the Chinese actress with any eye at the China market, am sure) and mediocre songs, the film seems as an attempt to recreate Bajrangi Bhaijaan in China.
Somehow, barring a few initial scenes, the chemistry between the child and Salman doesn’t hit any emotional strings. Likewise, consistent inconsistencies in the continuity, be it Salman’s face and make up or his changing hair style, or even Sohail’s final gun wound, sort of diminish the effort of recreating the village with its small town, period authenticities. I for one, am going to kill Gangadhar, whose dhaba seems so prominent in the film, as if it were an in-film placement!
Om Puri, Brijendra Kalra and Mohd. Zeeshan Ayub, provide an excellent supporting cast for Salman’s Lakshman. Special kudos to Zeeshan, for in this year, this is his second outing against a Khan (Raees being the first) and he scores a home run with his performance yet again. The Late Om Puri, proves, maybe for the final time, what a terrific actor he was.
Unfortunately, the second half, which was carried solely by Nawaz in Bajrangi, ably supporting Salman, here is let down by the lack of a character so strong.
Lackluster songs by Pritam, land up only trying, I repeat, trying to be a ME2 for Bajrangi.
Where the fault lies, is Kabir’s lack of content. Post interval, you will realise past a point that the story doesn’t move at all. Right till the end. There were hundreds of soldiers in the war, why was Lakshman and his entourage only allowed to go to Ladakh? Such questions keep hitting you in the face, making your samosas seem more cold.
Due to the fans and the Eid holiday next week, there is no doubt the film will make tons of money and justifiably so, Salman has earned that start power and deserves every bit of the accolade earned due to it. But, as a film, this does not qualify anywhere near the duo’s previous hits. I guess the makers also realized it, hence the relatively low key promotions over the last 10 days.
See the film, cos you are a Salman fan and there are only diehard fans, like me; therefore making this post, so much tougher to write. For the rest, it is just another weekend.
By: Yusuf Poonawala