Well shoot, that was a disappointment! And I feel kind of bad because I dragged my sister and cousin along with me. On the other hand, I am also happy that I had them there for moral support. Because this was very dark and very stressful and not really fun at all!
I realized what I was missing while I was watching it, I was missing anything “soft” and anything “fun”. Which, coincidentally, is exactly what made the original Ek Tha Tiger so great. It was an action movie with great action bits, but it was mostly a soft mushy romance, with the occasional fun little sight gag and one liner. Unlike this film, which has a terrible balance of one really fun bit right at the beginning, and way at the end, and then incredibly dark and stressful “hard” stuff for the rest of it.
(their serious faces in this poster should give you a clue what you are in for)
I wonder why this is? I don’t want to say “the world is dark and depressing blah blah”, that’s too easy an answer. And after all, comedies did well this year, Mubarakan and Golmaal Again. I might land on the whole word of mouth issue. This is a film that’s easy to describe, you just say that Salman rescues a bunch of nurses and it’s very intense and surprising and intelligent. And the other thing is, it’s a hard film to make fun of.
Something that is “soft”, meaning with a lot of emotions and feelings, that’s an easy film to make fun of, because it’s “girly”. Something that is “fun”, with a bunch of over the top stupid plot and action moments, that’s easy to make fun of because it’s “childish”. For example, the way Jab Harry Met Sejal got viciously taken apart because “nothing happened” and it was “just” a romance and so on and so on, that’s making fun of a movie for being emotional, about feelings, all those things that aren’t “important”. Or the way Raabta got torn apart for being illogical and over the top, ignoring that it was also just plain fun to watch.
(How can you not enjoy this movie? Dips makes a cameo as herself with a bunch of shirtless back-up dancers)
But this film is “hard”. It’s about a serious real issue (not really, but close enough that it feels like it is), and there are no bright colors and no big emotional moments (Salman never cries because his feelings are hurt, for instance), and certainly no hokey pratt falls or big fun song numbers. It’s the movie equivalent of the serious guy in liquor ads, the one who is all mature and expressionless sipping his brandy or whatever while everyone else has fun around him. The “cool” guy, who is cool because he never seems to feel anything, or enjoy anything. And because he is so very very cool, no one wants to make fun of him, it seems like he knows something more than you do, and you should respect that. Which is this movie.
(See? Not funny Saif and Shahrukh in bright t-shirts with big smiles. Serious Adult Saif and Shahrukh in bland colors with no smiles)
Prepare yourself for a lot of reviews about how refreshing it is that this is a thinking person’s film, there is no emotional drama or over the top scenes, thank goodness no songs to interrupt the film, that Hindi film has “come of age” (again. It seems like Hindi film comes of age at least once a year). How Salman surprises with his subtlety, how Katrina is a tough “new” kind of heroine. And so on and so on.
But, NO!!!! I REJECT all these compliments!!!!! Emotional drama and over the top scenes are hard to do, I am not impressed that they were avoided. I would be more impressed if they were woven in through some kind of organic manner. And songs, I really really missed the songs! This was 2 hours of steady tension, I needed the songs. And I think they would have made the film more enjoyable, given the audience a breather so they could come back refreshed and more fully able to enjoy the action scenes.
(This was the end credits song, and the whole audience stayed for it, which is a sign of how much we wanted something fun)
Oh, and the action scenes were REALLY BORING!!!! I missed the “fun”. It was an awful lot of shooting, which is not fun. Minimal hand to hand stuff, or even clever use of weapons (including guns). It was also too realistic. And it didn’t need to be. I mean, why does violence on film ever need to be realistic? Because it’s so enjoyable to imagine that the people onscreen are actually being hurt/killed? What kind of sick person enjoys that? I will accept it if there is a sense of loss, of meaning, and after effects of the violence. Agneepath, for instance, that violence made sense to me. But in something like this, where it is ultimately just an old-fashioned shoot ’em up kind of thing, why do we need to see all the people being shot in the head and so on? I had way more fun with A Gentleman, Bang Bang, or the original Ek Tha Tiger. And it felt like everyone was having more fun with those. The stunt coordinators were pushing themselves to come up with a clever new thing, the actors were having fun playing with props, and the director was having fun moving his camera around to surprise us with unusual angles on what was happening. But this just felt joyless.
(Fun! Joyful! Directors who wanted to make this film and stars who were having fun!)
The whole film felt joyless! Well, most of it. Katrina and Salman were magic together. But weren’t allowed to be together much, because the script was all action-action-action instead of love-love love. Their two songs were big bright spots, the film came alive during them. But the rest of the film, it was all practical, intense, serious. Yuch!