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Film Review: Ek Tha Tiger shines in its lighthearted moments

The 46-year-old Salman Khan is more Sean Connery than Daniel Craig when it comes to playing a spy hero and it's become less plausible to take him seriously as an action star.

A scene from Ek Tha Tiger featuring Salman Khan. Yash Raj Films
A scene from Ek Tha Tiger featuring Salman Khan. Yash Raj Films

Ek Tha Tiger
Director: Kabir Khan
Starring: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Roshan Seth
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Currently breaking box-office records to become the year's biggest Bollywood hit, the film Ek Tha Tiger sees Salman Khan playing a spy, code name Tiger. He's going through an identity crisis when we meet him, having successfully - and brutally - completed a mission in Iraq. His return to India has him wondering whether there is more to life than his action-orientated pursuits. He even confesses to his boss (played by Girish Karnad) his fear of never getting married, that he can't properly establish a relationship with a woman because he has to constantly lie about his profession.

Tiger is sent on a mission to a university in Dublin to observe the Professor Kidwal (the beloved veteran Roshan Seth), an Indian-origin scientist suspected of collaborating with a Pakistani intelligence agency. But that mission becomes compromised as soon as Tiger sets his eyes on Kidwal's beautiful assistant Zoya (Katrina Kaif), who joins him in his spy adventures.

While the action sequences set in Istanbul and Havana are lacklustre, the Dublin part of the film, shot like a romantic comedy, provides the best moments. Kidwal's character is a hilarious eccentric and it's a total shame that his part is nothing more than a glorified cameo. Kaif is her usual loveable self, as well as strong and fierce, with Khan's character wrapped around her little finger.

Speaking of the 46-year-old superstar, these days he's more Sean Connery than Daniel Craig when it comes to playing a spy hero and it's become less plausible to take him seriously as an action star. His is a career that will soon be in need of a major rewrite. Even the character of Zoya makes a joke about Tiger's age.

If the plot all sounds a bit too Mr and Mrs Smith, that's because this action-thriller takes its lead from Hollywood spy thrillers. There is even a noticeable attempt by the director to keep all the dance sequences related to the narrative as much as possible. It seems Bollywood is going through something of an identity crisis as well.

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