My trip to India has turned me on to Indian cinema. I have seen three movies in the last few weeks and it just happens that all three are made by the same director. Kabir Kahn directed this film in 2012 and it looks like it’s his directorial debut. You can tell it’s a first film from some of the shots and the, at times, odd pacing of the film. I am very glad that he has progressed as a director and some of the choices he made in the other films he has done has defiantly shown improvement. There is more self-assuredness to the camera choices and how he set up the scenes.
Tiger (Salman Khan) is an agent for RAW the Indian equivalent of the CIA and he has to retrieve some information from an Indian scientist, Professor Kidwai (Roshan Seth) in Dublin. Tiger starts to make a move but gets distracted by the professor’s cleaning lady, Zoya (Katrina Kaif). He falls for her but she turns out to not only be a cleaning lady she works for Pakistani Intelligence and she is there to get the same information. They now have to make a choice between love or country.
Salman Khan is a mountain of a man and has the most charming demeanor, even when he is at his most bad-assed you still kind of feel like the nicest person in the world is kicking ass. Katrina Kaif is awesome on the screen and she is so talented but her fighting skills are not as refined as Kahn’s. When you see her fight, it defiantly looks like she is concentrating on trying very hard to make the punch look right. She is outstanding otherwise.
I wanted to spend time talking about the director. This is an interesting confluence of events that I have now seen three of his movies just by random chance. Watching them in reverse order gives you an interesting perspective on his progress as a director. The first one I saw was Bajrangi Bhajaan,which is his latest film about an Indian man getting a young mute Pakistani girl back home. It’s a great blend of music and action and emotional pull. You can read my review HERE.
Ek Tha Tiger defiantly feels like a first film. It has the length of a typical Indian film but most of that could be cut because of the over-use slow motion shots. He uses them with all the finesse of a toddler with a new noisy toy. There is a scene where we see a character knocks over an ash tray and it goes into super slow motion to show the slow fall of the cigarette butts and ash artistically floating to the floor. But nothing is happening aside from that. When that scene is used it means that something bad is about to happen when said slow motion object hits the floor or to demonstrate that the hero of the film can draw his weapon\subdue his bad guy all before the cigarette hits the floor. None of those things happened it was a wasted shot.
There were also an over-use of longing looks between the love interests. There seemed to be one too many reaction shots after Tiger and Zoya locked eyes. She locks eyes with him we see him return the look and it’s established. You could even add a touch of slow motion to these scenes to add weight to the scene but only just a touch. They are great looking but again it unnecessarily adds to the length of film.
After taking a look at where they could tighten up the shots they could reasonably cut this 132 minute film down to 100 min. This is a great example of the growth of a filmmaker I would recommend seeing all three of his film only to watch the progression of an artist.