Tubelight Review (No Spoilers): Not a Good Movie

The title really says it all.  If you are wondering whether you might want to see this movie, you don’t.  It is not a good film.  If you want me to talk more about how it is not good with spoilers, you can read the other review.  If you want me to talk more about how it is not good without spoilers, you can read on.

45 minutes before the end, as we were watching yet another scene of Salman wishing really really hard (signified by looking constipated), I leaned over to my friend Dina and whispered “Remember how the sound went out while we were watching Ki & Ka?  Do you think if we wished really really hard we could make that happen again?”

But, it didn’t.  We somehow suffered through all the way to the end, with full sound and visuals and everything.  In my Spoiler post, I compared it to a really ugly statue perfectly lit.  And I stick by that!

The plot is a disaster.  The characters are disasters.  But by golly I could understand the layout of the town square, and the relationship of everyone to everyone else, and the passage of time, and so on and so forth.  A very clearly drawn disaster.  So, congrats to Kabir Khan!  You did an excellent job directing a terrible movie!

Image result for tubelight film

Not congrats to Salman.  “Maybe you should see a doctor?” to Salman.  He did not look good in this movie.  I think because his character is supposed to be a little physically and mentally weak, they opted not to cake on the glamour make-up like they usually do.  Which means I got to see the lines on his face and the bags under his eyes a little more than I usually do.  There was other stuff he did, posture and things, to show his character’s disabilities.  But the basic parts of his face, that wasn’t acting, that was just letting us see how he usually looks without make-up.

Image result for tubelight salman

Also, generally, it felt like his performance just wasn’t quite there physically in this.  I felt the same in Sultan, there were some action scenes he did himself, but more he didn’t.  And the dancing in particular, that was very restricted by his physical issues.  In this it is even worse.  Moments that seemed obvious green-screened, or done with a standin.  And really kind of simple things, like riding a horse.

I don’t want Salman to stop acting, not at all.  I just want him to stop taking roles that are too young and too physically demanding for him.  This whole thing is making me very worried for Ek Tha Tiger 2.  If it is an action movie in which our “action hero” can barely bend at the waist, that won’t work very well.  But if you put Salman in a role like, say, his character in Sultan.  The present day character before his comeback.  Still very strong, not very flexible, middle-aged, quiet type.  I think he could do really well in a part like that.  Or just switch to character roles.  The Rishi Kapoor type parts.  Be the friendly neighbor with advice who does a little bit in one song.  Not the guy who has to work super hard and be onscreen all the time.

Let’s see, what else?  The scenery was pretty?  Zhu Zhu was pretty too, and trying SO HARD with her Hindi dialogue.  I would have much preferred she was just dubbed, it was almost painful to watch her working that hard.

Oh, and Matin Rey is the cutest boy ever.  And by far the most entertaining actor in the whole film.

19 thoughts on “Tubelight Review (No Spoilers): Not a Good Movie

  1. //I don’t want Salman to stop acting, not at all// when did he start acting?!! just a few constant expressions in face and weird movements in dance scenes is all he could do..its a shame that such people are being promoted as the global face of indian films..


    • Usually, if a film requires it, he will act. Of course, he doesn’t take many films that actually require acting. This one did (as did Tere Naam, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, and a fair number of his other films. Sultan too, now that I think about it). The problem was that this time he didn’t succeed in his attempts to make the character work. Possibly because the combination of character and casting was just impossible to make work.


      • The last film he “acted” in was maybe Saajan. The steroids altered his body completely. That lack of movement is all roids. Sanjay Dutt, from the same generation, began working out around the time Salman did, but he didn’t do roids. He doesn’t have that postural stiffness.


        • Good point! I hadn’t thought about that before, but while Sanjay moves like an old man (because he is), he can still act with his body. Also, John Abraham. In the “stiffness” side of things. He can still move around, but it’s not the same as when he was younger, every year it is getting stranger.


          • It’s the roids man! Amir khan is getting there with his roid use too. Stiffer every year.


          • Well, at least my Shahrukh is safe. He’s just slowly killing himself by giving up water periodically to look super cut. But he can still move! So long as he doesn’t have yet another massive bone injury during filming.

            Yeah, maybe all of them should move on to character roles and give their bodies a chance to recover.

            On Sun, Jun 25, 2017 at 9:46 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • You know what I’d like to see them do- roles as professionals. I liked SRK in DZ. Still unrealistic styling-wise. But at least he’s not a college kid. Where are the working, fathers of tweens and older, in our films? I think the problem with Bollywood is that we don’t know what masala means in the 2010s.


          • Excellent way of putting it. now you’ve got me thinking, back in the 1970s multistarrers for instance, it was about professions as much as anything else. Amar Akbar Anthony were Hindu Muslim Christian. But also a police officer, a performer, and a bar owner. I’d love to see a movie where our heroes aren’t angsting about their family so much, and instead their issues come from their jobs, their non-family responsibilities, everything else in life.

            On Sun, Jun 25, 2017 at 10:03 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • Precisely. Can we also ditch the exotic locales plz? Our own country has plenty of amazing vistas that can be presented beautifully. And they’ve got to have children too. They’d bring the issues with them! 😁


          • and not stupid “I object to my daughter’s romance!” kind of issues. Stuff like, “since the divorce I don’t know how to connect with my kids so I am taking them along with me on this business trip to Shimla”

            On Sun, Jun 25, 2017 at 10:24 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



          • Except that wouldn’t work with the masses. Divorce is sort of the thing people my generation are dealing with. It’s very hard to make films for us in India. We’re in GoT and TWD fandoms etc and nobody in Bollywood can make a movie on us. The last movie I connected with as a person my age was Go Goa Gone. I was like, yeah I can totally see that happening with me and my friends. I want SRK and Salman in a film where they’re two old friends that had a falling out over a secret that happened 25 years ago and they meet at some friend’s nephew’s wedding and shit hits the fan. An all guy movie where they’re the focus but the backstory features wives and grown up kids. I want a film with Amir where he deals with grown up kids going on dates while his kids with the second wife have kindergarten problems. I want Akshay Kumar doing a Father of the Bride. I want a Sanjay Dutt doing a Cheeni Kam. Oddly enough, our ladies are already out there doing things like Piku, Haider, NH-10, Highway. It’s just that our men are stuck in a bygone era of stardom.


          • Oh man, have you seen the movie “The In-Laws”? With Peter Falk and Alan Arkin (not the terrible remake I pretend doesn’t exist)? That would be the perfect film for Salman and Shahrukh!

            On Sun, Jun 25, 2017 at 10:42 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • Hah! I hear you! I even have a full list of the shots that have become a feature of all his films. There’s the slo-mo entry from the left usually from behind some object/crowd scene, a very slow slo-mo walking through crowd/Street, the scene where he paces right to left and back again, the scenes where he does the slo-mo walk in a non slo-mo scene with one hand in his pocket and sometimes this scene is repeated with dialogues, the weird laughter scene, awkward supposed to be funny dialogues scene– all these are staples. Found in every film. You can edit together a video with clips from his recent films and use dialogue from any one and you wouldn’t be able to tell if the shots and soundtrack are from different films!


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