Cast: Salman Khan, Sohail Khan, Zhu Zhu, Om Puri, Matin Rey Tengu, Yashpal Sharma, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub
Direction: Kabir Khan
‘Tubelight’ needs a lot of patience and while Salman fans will surely be shedding copious tears at the theatre, for the rest this film isn’t as entertaining as his previous ones.
Director Kabir Khan has an interesting premise for the story – a war’s impact on the families of the soldiers and their antsy wait for the return of their loved ones. He, however, fails to explore the full potential of this heart-wrenching experience and merely expects Salman’s histrionics and star power to bail him out.
In fact, the sub-plot about holding unsuspecting individuals responsible for a war being fought at the borders just doesn’t get the attention it should. Actors Zhu Zhu and Matin Rey Tengu portray such interesting characters, but they somehow fail to provide the impetus that this languid tale needs.
If we look at his past couple of releases, Salman seems to be experimenting with a new persona on the big screen. He has been seen making a departure from the usual displays of Salman-ery onscreen. In this film, for instance, just like in his last two releases – ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ and ‘Sultan’ – Salman is not the quintessential invincible Bollywood hero. The ‘Dabangg’ Khan is okay with exposing his vulnerable side in films.
And while taking that risk paid off in his last two releases, in ‘Tubelight’ the act feels monotonous. The actor seems saddled with a part where he has nothing much to do, but await the return of his darling brother.
It is okay to tread on unfamiliar territory, but if you strip the actor completely of his USP then the purpose of watching his film is entirely lost. I am okay with Salman not having to rip off his shirt to prove a point, but depriving the movie of good action sequences where he gets to beat the enemy to a pulp, or not providing him with an opportunity to gyrate to a peppy dance number, or not even giving him a chance to charm his lady love, is like sending him out in the battlefield without his choicest weapons.
The director-actor duo of Kabir Khan-Salman has delivered blockbusters like ‘Ek Tha Tiger’ and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. Bajrangi’s character managed to create a strong connect with the audience, but this seems to be lacking in ‘Tubelight’.
Kabir Khan usually does not bet on Salman’s stardom alone for the success of his films. He is meticulous in his selection of the supporting cast as well. The problem here, however, is that the supporting cast fails to bolster the proceedings.
I would still pick it over some of some of Salman’s recent ventures such as the completely forgettable ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ and ‘Jai Ho’, but it doesn’t match the mass appeal of films such as ‘Dabangg’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ and ‘Sultan’.
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