Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif's return falters in Maneesh Sharma-directed Tiger 3, with an underwhelming villain act by Emraan Hashmi
To protect their homeland and their loved ones, Tiger (Salman Khan) and Zoya (Katrina Kaif) have returned, and this time the battle is personal for both of them.
When Maneesh Sharma directed FAN back in 2016, the biggest drawback of the film was the chasing sequence in the second half. The drawback has been retained in Tiger 3, which is the weakest film in the YRF Spy Universe. The story, which began back in 2012 with Ek Tha Tiger, was a love story of two spies eloping and leaving their duties for their respective countries, India and Pakistan, behind.
However, the 2017 sequel, Tiger Zinda Hai, brought them back to their national duties without any lament, touting that there are no better agents in India's R&AW and Pakistan's ISI. This time, Tiger 3 gets on a personal mission, and so does Zoya, but still, the story is more about Salman Khan's Tiger than anyone else.
First of all, starting from the title, after Ek Tha Tiger and Tiger Zinda Hai, Tiger 3 itself hints at lazy work where you have not put in efforts to hint at a continual story. Then, Aditya Chopra's story's seed—which had severe Pathaan withdrawal symptoms—continued the laziness. It seems like Shridhar Raghavan, who penned the screenplay for Tiger 3 and the additional screenplay for Pathaan, wrote both simultaneously, giving the villain a similar backstory.
But if Pathaan's Jim (John Abraham) was a menacing and stylish villain, Tiger 3's Aatish Rehman (Emraan Hashmi) has been zeroed in to be a caricature of a stereotypical villain from the neighbouring country, nothing else. The actor has the most slow-motion sequences, even when he is showing his teeth, from salt-and-pepper facial hair to even walking like Harry Potter's Severus Snape in all-black attire.
Continuing with the weakest links of Tiger 3, it's the story itself where dialogues feel more staged and come off as a bouncer to even understand the plot entirely. The first half stays just on the surface, only to have expectations that it will get better in the second half. But the further drop culminates in the fact that no efforts have been made to make the audience understand what the initial mission was. Why was Katrina made to fight "Bruce Lee Ki Nani" (Michelle Lee) in Turkish Hamam wearing just a towel? What did Salman actually steal while jumping from a huge bell tower? What does "PAL codes" even mean?
The film brings a lot of plot twists that they don't even make for spoilers. They are just to fill in the loopholes while failing to make the story even more engaging. There are more characters and twists added to the story than the action sequences, which themselves have a series of twists and turns. The mission gets into a geopolitical mode where Project Milap from Main Hoon Naa felt more interesting and Suniel Shetty's character Raghavan had a believable agenda than Aatish Rehman from this film.
Salman Khan gets an incredible entry, and before that, we do get to know the backstory of how this story is going to be taken. However, the star's bike chase sequence, which lasts for 10 minutes, sets the bar a little too high, so you feel like this movie can go somewhere. But the dip further into the nonsensical pit makes several attempts by characters to give arms to each other. Alas, only they are saved, not the storyline in any way.
Salman, however, shows more emotional depth in the actual scenes where he is supposed to break down. He is shown as a broken man, with too much information thrown at him at once. Well, we also felt broke at that time, knowing about stuff that's not taking the story anywhere. But even his efforts in action sequences go in vain as they are badly choreographed, not letting shine in any way.
Meanwhile, Katrina does have moments where she has shown skills as an actor; however, the film doesn't let her take over despite giving her potential and revealing that she is the story this time. The actor becomes a catalyst for getting Tiger declared a hero once again and making him the rescuer.
She tells Emraan's character that she will hunt him down, but she doesn't get to do it and passes the baton to Tiger eventually.
Talking about Emraan, his villainous acting doesn't even help boost his acting career in any way. Aatish is a weak villain and fails to be as equal as the hero. Moreover, his words are given more weight than action, and those dialogues end up being an empty vessel, so to speak.
Maneesh Sharma taking over the Tiger franchise from Kabir Khan and Ali Abbas Zafar is by far not the right decision for the YRF Spy Universe. On top of it, dialogues penned by Anckur Chaudhry with most food metaphors made me hungry (7 a.m. show) rather than give it a clap or hoots.
Well, there was no standing ovation or cheer expected for Tiger 3, so why not add the National Anthem and make everyone stand up? Be ready for that, and now I am off to watch Pathaan for the fifth time.
The jump cuts are so jarring to keep up with and think about which year the story is going on. Tiger 3 was mentioned as the events after Tiger Zinda Hai, War, and Pathaan, but we are taken back to the pre-Ek Tha Tiger era only to lead to more confusion. Do keep your keen eye on the down-left side corner whenever the scene changes; you are in a new country and also in the past.