Movie Review: EK THA TIGER (2012)

Published by Shah Shahid on

I’ve appreciated all of Director Kabir Khan’s films from KABUL EXPRESS to NEW YORK. They’re not perfect, however they’ve all been executed in unique and innovative ways, with stories that are fresh and original, and the performances he can get from his actors are amazing. The same is the case with probably his biggest film to date, with superstar Salman Khan, EK THA TIGER.


3 Out Of 5 Stars

EK THA TIGER is a simple story about the life of an Indian spy, and the relentless toll it takes on his life. However, an ill-fated encounter with an enemy spy brings his regimented and thrilling lifestyle into utter chaos, as he questions everything that he’s been trained to believe.

Essentially a love story, EK THA TIGER has the titular character of Tiger meeting and falling for Katrina Kaif’s Zoya. A love affair that causes Tiger to reflect on his lonely and deceptive life as a spy, with nowhere to call home, and the lengths he goes to pursue this love… Is what EK THA TIGER is about.

Surprisingly, EK THA TIGER becomes a completely humorous, light hearted and romantic love story with awesome helping of action and intrigue. Not at all like the spy thriller that it was marketed as.

This is another example of deceptive mass media marketing of a movie, which I always harp about. The movie machine always gives the audience a completely different expectation of a movie, implying that it’s of a different genre than what it is, almost always causes it to to fail. Something similar happened with 50/50, which I discussed in my Review. With EK THA TIGER, I myself was looking forward to an action thriller, and instead I got an amazing action based love story, similar to MR. & MRS. SMITH, not that I was disappointed.

a cowl makes anyone look cool!

Speaking of action: EK THA TIGER boasts of some of the greatest Bollywood action I’ve seen in recent time. Now, my basis for ‘awesome action’ consists of realistic stunts, innovative fighting, and jaw dropping sequences with great camera work. And this film has it all.

There are times when I question the visuals of Salman Khan himself doing some of the stunts, as it feels like his face was CGI’d onto the body double. But I could be wrong. The point is: The stunts are awesome. The fact that I’m questioning whether the actor really performed the death defying stunts is a testament to how brilliantly the action sequences were handled. I can confirm though, that some of the more harrowing and acrobatic stunts were definitely done by the actor himself, while the others could possibly be a stunt double. But I can’t tell… which is always good.

Containing heart pulsing action and almost Jason Bourne like fight sequences, EK THA TIGER completely removes itself from the typical Bollywood action movie, into the realms of Hollywood action sequences. I loved the Parkour style roof top chase scenes, which Khan himself did as well. Even Katrina Kaif gets in on some of the wicked action scenes, and it’s very cool seeing a Bollywood actress take it all on.

Make no mistake though, EK THA TIGER is a love story. The story and everything that occurs as a result is the exposition and attraction between the two characters, especially in the 2nd act. Unlike typical Bollywood movies, where a love story is wedged in, despite the genre of the film or the story… EK THA TIGER focuses on the love story, using the spy thriller stuff as a backdrop for that story.

true lovers fight together…

EK THA TIGER is a very simple story with a lot of lighthearted moments mixed with great action and a lot of intrigue. Salman’s performance is typical of his normal stuff, but slightly tweaked, as he has to do the double life of a deadly spy and also a mild mannered and unassuming dork. I’ve heard people bitch that Salman always plays himself in a movie. That may be true in some cases.

However, amongst his most recent films, EK THA TIGER was one where he’s portrayed a character completely different from himself. Majority of the film he wasn’t highlighted as a badass action star, instead he plays a dork that has to tone down those qualities, as he’s undercover. It’s almost a parody of the typical Salman role and it was refreshing.

Salman Khan in Ek Tha Tiger

love the out of focus shot…

EK THA TIGER might not be as influential or serious as Director Kabir Khan’s previous films, however, that doesn’t take away from how good the film is at all. The only thing that can disappoint a viewer’s take of EK THA TIGER, is their own expectations from the promos and the director’s previous work going into this one. Otherwise EK THA TIGER is an entertaining love story set against a spy thriller backdrop that delivers!

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Shah Shahid

Entertainment Writer | Film & TV Critic | Bollywood Blogger | Host of Split Screen Podcast | Proud Geek Girl Dad


meeradarjiyr1 · February 27, 2013 at 11:09 PM

Great review! Though I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy this film. It was quite dull to what I expected and very unforgettable. The plot seemed like it was stretched out with unnecessary scenes. I thought the film lacked that “quench” in its story and meaning. Nicely written though 🙂

PHANTOM: BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN Director's Political Thriller · August 11, 2015 at 9:07 AM

[…] and the controversial ‘New York’, as well as an inter-spy agency love story with ‘Ek Tha Tiger‘, Khan’s next movie features a more dramatic story about terrorism and espionage, […]

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