‘Shikar toh sab karte hain lekin Tiger se behtar shikar koi nahi karta.’ This needless allusion here is to wonderboy Avinash Rathore aka Tiger (Salman Khan, as if we didn’t know), who single-handedly, sometimes with the help of a bazooka, knocks off a mini-army in the barren tracts of Abu Dhabi, which is attempted to be passed off as Iraq. But we are moving ahead of the story.
It’s eight years since Tiger shed his boots — and donned his shirt. Living in Austria with his ex-ISI wife Zoya (Katrina Kaif)and their seven-year-old son, the ex-agent is lured from his tranquil life by ex-boss Shenoy Girish Karnad), the head of RAW.
The reason — 40 nurses (25 Indian, 15 Pakistani) are held hostage in Ikrit, where the ISC (ISIS?) has gone into overdrive. Naturally, the CIA too gets into the act as US soldiers are being beheaded.
Set within a seve-day period, TZH has elements of ‘India-Pakistan bhai bhai’, with the RAW and ISI agents wearing their hearts on their sleeves, each taking turns on delivering discourses and mouthing monologues on unity and humanity.
What Salman and Katrina lack in the acting department they fulfil in glitz and glamour. Salman goes shirtless towards the end to assure his die-hard supporters that it wasn’t a stand-in and Kat has been given an entire fight sequence replete with stunts (no doubt performed by a stunt artiste).
Debutant Iranian Sajjad Delfrooz as Abu Usman, head of the ISC, impresses with his steely eyes and cool looks. Kumud Mishra and Angad Bedi, as Tiger’s hand-picked men haven’t much to do, while Paresh Rawal as Firdaus, the labour contractor who lives by his wits and mind-games, shines in a small role.
Yash Raj banner films have always churned out lavish productions, and
TZH doesn’t disappoint. The cinematography by Polish Marcin Laskawiec is excellent and the stunts too are coordinated well. Though inspired by the 2014 incidents in the Gulf, as was the 2016 Malayalam ‘Take Off’, the 2012 ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ was several shades worthier.
From bhai to Indo-Pak Bhai Bhai, Salman hasn’t changed. He’s still alive and kicking (literally), paving the way for one more sequel.
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