After the phenomenal success of ‘Bajrangi Bhaijan’, the actor-director duo of Salman Khan and Kabir Khan was expected to deliver another blockbuster in ‘Tubelight’. Alas! The film is abysmally lacking in both emotional as well as cinematic content. Everything from the story to the narrative, casting and direction seems to have gone wrong with the film.
To give credit, Salman Khan makes a sincere attempt to play a mentally disabled character but his act fails to strike an emotional chord with the audience as the totally linear and banal narrative does not offer him any challenges to test his prowess. In fact all those close-up shots of him crying only end up making him look weird and peculiar.
The choice of his real life brother Sohail Khan playing his reel-life younger brother does not help either because Sohail has never been known to have any great talent. The scenes depicting the bond between the brothers have nothing new to offer and to be honest these two actors look too huge and grown-up enacting these scenes. Bringing Mahatma Gandhi into the scheme of things seemed too contrived.
Salman Khan’s attempt to play a character not driven by box-office diktats is praiseworthy and Kabir Khan’s guts to cast his hero in such a unique role is also laudable but if only they had concentrated on infusing soul into the story the result could have been spectacular. It is said that the story is based on the Hollywood film ‘Little Boy’ wherein an eight-year old boy plays the main protagonist and does all he can to end World War II to get his father back home. Similarly, Salman does all he can to end the Indo-China war to bring back his bother. But what made them choose Salman Khan to replace the child’s role as the protagonist leaves us baffled!
For a film which uses the Indo-China war of 1962 as the story’s backdrop, the battle scenes are neither thrilling nor dramatic. After seeing the spectacular action scenes of ‘Baahubali 1& 2’, our directors need to spruce up their act otherwise they will lag behind in the race.
For a film which espouses ‘faith’ to be the most motivating factor in our human life, the two-hour film really tests the faith of Salman Khan-fans as we wait patiently for some redeeming factor to turn up in the film to take home with us. And that is sad because Kabir Khan who is one of our industry’s better directors and has a long list of superb films to his credit- ‘Kabul Express’, ‘New York’, ‘Ek Tha Tiger’, ‘Phantom’ and ‘Bajrangi Bhaijan’ –seems to have gone totally astray with this one!
Where was the need for a Chinese heroine? OK! She does look beautiful and surprisingly and quite impressively even manages to mouth lengthy dialogues in Hindi, but there was no ‘X’ factor and certainly no chemistry with Salman. Our own Katrina Kaif with some intelligent eye-makeup could have passed off perfectly as a Chinese woman. At least the chemistry of the lead pair would have been interesting to watch!
Except the song ‘Radio’ which caught on in a big way before the film’s release, none of the songs are all that catchy…
The film has but a few plus points. For starters, cinematography is brilliant and the mountain locales have been captured beautifully. It was great watching the late Om Puri in a well-written role. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub, the young actor who is making waves with every film, shines in the negative role. The child actor Matin Rey Tangu, who plays the heroine’s son turns out to be a heart-stealer and holds the film in all the scenes that he comes. He is a real find like little Harshaali in ‘Bajrangi Bhaijan’.
But here is the best part. A 10-minute cameo by Shah Rukh Khan is easily one of the highlights of the film. In the small role of a magician, he plays an important part in Salman’s life and reiterates the importance of ‘faith’ in our beliefs and how ‘faith’ has the power to move mountains! The scenes when these two share screen space only reminds us of the magic they created in ‘Karan Arjun’ back in 1995. But then that was way before these two actors had become superstars. With time, their stardom and ego only ended up robbing their fans of some interesting movies they could have done together…
… But SRK’s cameo is not only a pleasant surprise but he also inadvertently ends up stealing the limelight in a full-length Salman Khan film! Had the makers of ‘Tubelight’ bargained for this?
Salman’s fans will have to hold on to their ‘faith’ and hope that his future movies will have better roles for this charismatic Khan…