Movie Review: Salman Khan’s spy action thriller 'Tiger 3' is the Diwali treat we needed

YRF’s spy universe shines bright with its stars and fantastic action set pieces

By Lekha Menon

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Published: Sun 12 Nov 2023, 12:31 PM

Before doing an analysis of Tiger 3, Bollywood’s big bang Diwali release, a note of gratitude to its makers: Thank you for making a movie that respects the intelligence of its antagonists. Over the last few years, films riding high on chest-thumping nationalism have taken a particular thrill in Pakistan bashing and portraying the nation’s army, government and even people as entities with little to zero intellect or nuance. Case in point: Bhuj: The Pride of India, Gadar 2, Tejas and the like. While the broad negative brushstrokes may have scored well with a section of the audience, from a cinematic point of view, it was pure cringe. Tiger 3 subverts the narrative and how!

Here is a movie that actually advocates peace between India and Pakistan, paints a new villain that would be acceptable to audiences across both sides of the border and brace yourself… has an Indian hero saving democracy in its neighbouring country. Sure, one can accuse it of having oodles of saviour complex but at least it tries to maintain a balance that has been sorely lacking in recent movies. And that itself is pretty brave in these reactionary times.

The third instalment in the Tiger franchise belonging to the YRF ‘Spy Universe’ sees director Maneesh Sharma (Band Baaja Baraat, Fan) treat the storyline with aplomb, adding scintillating action, incredible background score and some smart geopolitics to make it a super entertaining, popcorn-worthy festive watch.

Salman returns as the king of this galaxy reprising his role as RAW super agent Tiger. Aided by lovely wife Zoya (Katrina Kaif), the duo is forced to embark on a mission to save their family. In the process, Tiger gets branded as a traitor and now he has to save a lot of stuff in the universe - his reputation, fair name, wife and kid, and the country’s honour. Err…not his country’s but that of the neighbour. Confused? Let’s not reveal more and spoil the fun.

Tiger 3 is loads of fun. It has the same template as Pathaan, but the film also does justice to Tiger and Zoya’s story. Sridhar Raghavan’s screenplay wastes no time in getting into the thick of action and we are treated to one action-set piece after another interspersed with snippets of a story. Motives are established, back stories are provided and the characters zip across different exotic locations in the blink of an eye. The stunning vistas of Istanbul, Austria, Delhi, Russia, Iraq and Pakistan are all captured in all their glory by Anay Goswamy’s lens. Some action sequences do seem as if they’ve been shot after Pathaan packed up and you have to suspend a huge amount of disbelief as our heroes get away unscathed without a scratch even as they face an army. But come on, if Tom Cruise can do it, why not Salman?

Salman, after a list of disasters, is finally in his element. He may not have the twinkle of Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan but his Tiger retains the swag he had in 2012. Katrina matches him in every step and proves again she can do serious action. Watch out for her especially in a girl-to-girl combat in a towel in a spa!

If there is a weak link, surprisingly it is the main villain, Emraan Hashmi. An otherwise competent actor, his Atish Rehman, a rogue ISI agent doesn’t really pack in a powerful punch that the script needed.

Never mind, for we have a surprise a little after the interval. No prizes for guessing who lands up, but the eruption in the theatre is worth the price of the ticket. And for some extra fireworks, wait till the end credits are over. The Diwali treat has just begun.

Tiger 3

Director: Maneesh Sharma

Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Emraan Hashmi

Star: 4/5


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