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Movie Review: Ek Tha Tiger (Hindi) 162

Describe a typical love story: It begins as Boy meets Girl, they don't like each other initially, but love blossoms; then parents oppose and then the couple runs away. But they are chased by both the families who are out to finish them off. Now, just scale-up the scene to two countries, instead of families and you get 'Ek Tha Tiger'.

Timed for release on Eid, Salman's presence ensures a big collection at the box office, irrespective of how the movie actually turns out. Most multiplexes screened shows at hourly intervals across screens to make the best of the long weekend.

Salman Khan plays Tiger, a much sought after RAW field agent who has spent a decade away from home in many adventurous missions. Upon returning from Iraq, Tiger is assigned the task to collect information about an Indian-origin Irish professor (Roshan Seth) facing suspicion of selling missile secrets to Pakistan.

On his mission, he falls in love with Zoya (Katrina Kaif) who is soon revealed to be an ISI agent trying to hack into the professor's computer. At this point, it seemed as if the film would go the 'Mr. & Mrs. Smith' way, but rather sticks to its roots as a love story. Now, the two agencies, RAW & ISI are out to finish off Tiger & Zoya.

There are claims that story was inspired by real-life spy Ravindra Kaushik who is said to have served in the Pakistan Army and passed on valuable information to India. The similarity with the story would be that Kaushik fell in love with and married a local Pakistani girl, an uncanny resemblance with Ek Tha Tiger.

Talking about performances, Ranvir Shorey does a good job as Gopi, Tiger's friend and fellow agent who is later sent by his bosses to hunt down Tiger. Girish Karnad returns to the big screen after a long time and he plays Tiger's boss Shenoy. About Katrina & Salman's acting, lesser said the better. In any case, Salman's role is not as annoying or silly as most of his other roles are and he takes off his shirt only once.

The good part in the film is some awesome stunts and stunning visuals, the latter being the signature style of its director Kabir Khan, best remembered for 'Kabul Express'. The desert scenes are filmed in Turkey stand out, the best are those filmed in Cuba with a 60's charm. The good part is let down by a sloppy writing in some parts and a general lack of suspense or thrill, something germane to an espionage setting.

Although the film may perform well due to its star-cast and timing of its release, it will never be considered a good film by any segment of the audience. While the lack of an engaging story will not interest the discerning type, the lack of good songs that flow with the story will not go well with the masses. The popular song 'Mashallah' is played with the closing credits, a time when most people leave the movie hall.

Verdict: Salman fans may love the film and his critics may  flay it, some may just watch it for Katrina. At best, this entree will pass off as an average pastime flick.

Rating 5/10: Typical romance flavored with espionage; a pastime flick
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