Or maybe not. That’s what was going on in my mind as I came out after watching Ek Tha Tiger. One of my most memorable spies of course has been GunMaster G9 – our very own Mithunda saving India from the world’s deadliest villains.
Indian spies have it tough. Ask Sunny Deol. He had to even call his movie Hero – Love story of a Spy. Agent Vinod kept confusing people about whether he loved the girl or not and audiences kept away from Saif. We need our spies in our own Made for India format!
But Salman is in a different league of his own.
And therefore strangely Ek Tha Tiger is not an out and out Salman movie. Imagine a tiger in the forest and a tiger in the cage. This film is the cage of Yash Raj Films which keeps Salman toned down.
The movie to be honest is good. It’s not Jason Bourne; neither it’s Veer Zara but imagine Pierce Brosnan going all Hugh Grantish in a Bond movie and you would have figured the movie out. And add to that a Katrina Kaif who seems to become better with every movie.
Salman’s entry is less than spectacular in terms of histrionics but fantastic in the use of the slo-mo camera. He doesn’t let go ever in the movie. It seems he feels the pressure of a prim and proper studio watching his every move. This movie was made to appeal to both the urban elite and the urban poor and thus Salman loses his T shirt only once in the movie.
His films in the last few years have 2 kinds of audience – the first who watches his movies to claim how mass minded and absurd it is. And the second, people like me, who still go to the movies to believe in the magic that Georges Melies had first shown us. We go to the movies to forget, to laugh, to cry, to love, to suspend reality as my dad calls it.
It’s the split that’s evident in India today and the stars who can crossover effectively are becoming rarer. Salman remains one of them. The intensity in his eyes is still the same that had made my sisters swoon in the nineties when Maine Pyaar Kiya had released. His buffed up body looks more chiselled than ever but nowhere in the movie does it look that he is having a lot of fun doing it. The humour is measured, the fights are less than fantastic and his dialogues lack the spice that makes him the darling of the masses. Thankfully Katrina does that with aplomb.
But in the end when ISI and RAW are both chasing them, and he is shot by his friend, he still rides the bike towards the plane and in one spectacular jump catches the open door; the prim and proper Singapore audience erupts in cheers reminding me of my past in Gaiety Galaxy.
People kept asking me how the movie was and my answer was simple – it lacked the rustic charm of Dabaang, but it was worth the ticket. That’s what Bollywood should be about – Paisa Vasool.