Ek Tha Tiger: Classy, massy and worth a watch

Ek Tha Tiger: Classy, massy and worth a watch

Some things don't change. The sun rises in the east. August 15 is a holiday in India. And Salman Khan always, always takes off his shirt at the end of a film.

Or does he? Kabir Khan certainly seems determined to break away from tradition and make a Salman Khan movie that marries mass with class.

There are no crass jokes, and there is actually a coherent script -- and even though you are required to suspend common sense at several points, Khan gives you some stylishly choreographed action sequences and thrilling chase scenes to make up for the over-the-top story.

Salman Khan is, of course, the Tiger in "Ek Tha Tiger" and a secret agent of India's intelligence agency RAW. Of course, this being a Salman Khan film, he doesn't operate stealthily or stay in the shadows as you would expect a secret agent to do. Instead, he is singing in the streets, shooting people in busy markets and romancing a girl in the middle of what is supposed to be a highly sensitive assignment.

His entry, marked by a breathless action sequence in the alleys of Iraq, is sure to be greeted by whistles and cheers by hardcore Salman Khan fans and sets up the action quotient immediately. When Tiger is sent to Dublin to keep tabs on a scientist who is thought to be sharing sensitive information with Pakistan's intelligence agency, he encounters Zoya (Katrina Kaif), the professor's caretaker and a student.

The two fall in love, but whether Tiger will have to choose duty over love is what forms the crux of the film from there on.

To be honest, the story isn't brilliant -- but it is good enough for you to believe in it. You can see the twists coming a mile away, but Kabir Khan seems to have found the near-perfect mix of a Salman Khan film and an action masala film. There is enough wry humour to make you smile, but it doesn't get crass. The romance never gets soppy and the action doesn't waver. There is enough here to please both the hardcore Salman Khan fan and the average moviegoer.

Salman does get to take off his shirt, he does romance the girl and he does beat up all the bad guys, but he does it in a film that works as a film and not just because of him.

Also, for once, Katrina Kaif isn't playing the damsel in distress. She has some great action scenes to herself and matches Salman step for step in some scenes. The chemistry between the two is crackling and when the two appeared together on screen, the hoots and whistles in the cinema were deafening.

Usually, reviewing a Salman Khan film is a no-brainer. You know exactly what to expect. Also, it doesn't take much to make a Salman Khan hit. You know exactly what audiences expect from a star who has such a huge mass base. But the credit here must go to Kabir Khan, who's tried to do what many people wouldn't have -- make a coherent Salman Khan film. This one is definitely worth a watch.

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