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Tiger 3 (Film Review)

4 min read
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Earlier this year, Yash Raj Film's Spy Universe continued with Pathaan, revitalizing not only the Indian box office but the career of superstar . Now, YRF returns with the third instalment of the franchise that started this universe, Tiger, which stars 's other long-time megastar, (affectionately known as ‘Bhai' (Brother)). Khan has also been in a slump in recent years, but with , he's most certainly roaring back to the top of his game. Directed by Tiger 3 serves as the perfect evolution of the franchise with an (almost) perfect blend of grounded and emotionally charged storytelling, excellent action set-pieces, and, of course, a showcase for its superstar protagonist. Unlike Pathaanthis stands out largely due to its substance, with the style serving as a wonderful cherry on top of Bhai's action bonanza. 

Tiger 3 tells the story of Khan's superspy Avinash Singh Rathore (Tiger), who is framed as a traitor, so while Tiger tries to take down a new foe, ex-ISI agent Aatish Rehman (Emraan Hashmi), he also battles to clear his and his family's name. Sharma kicks off the film with the sine qua non of Khan films, a larger-than-life introduction to our beloved superstar. Stylish yet still somewhat grounded, Tiger casually rides his motorbike into a danger zone to rescue a former friend. Once the action commences, a slow-motion shot sees the classic scarf fall to reveal our hero's face. A fun action sequence follows, before Tiger and the audience eventually receive the news that ignites this new adventure. Although it may be a tad too quick, Sharma manages to engage audiences with the “swag” of his leading man while effectively tying in past instalments to provide that all-important emotional hook in the first 30 minutes, brilliantly setting the tone of this tale.

Yash Raj Films

Indian cinema has a tendency to lean on the absurd when producing action. One thing that has separated Tiger from other films is its ability to deliver high-octane action scenes without losing audiences due to appearing too ridiculous. Tiger 3 continues this trend with plenty of thrilling shootouts and hand-to-hand combat – most notably 's brilliant towel fight. Kaif once again shines and earns her flowers for putting in a performance that stands out in this Khan-dominated world. Of course, Shah Rukh's Pathaan cameo is a treat for the masses as it's a pure spectacle that does venture into the absurd, but the visual of Shah Rukh and Salman Khan having an absolute ball on screen is a moment made to enjoy, not overly scrutinize. However, as mentioned earlier, the intelligently constructed narrative is where this film shines brightest. From the offset, Sharma's film provides plenty of twists and turns, which keeps audiences guessing. More importantly, however, it's the first instalment that truly makes Tiger and Zoya (Kaif) appear vulnerable. This is in large part due to Emraan Hashmi's Aatish Rehman.

There are many strong performances in YRF's latest spy project, but Hashmi's portrayal of antagonist Aatish Rehman may be the standout. Supported by a superb background score, Hashmi provides an intensity and aura that previous Salman Khan-film villains have severely lacked, as he is both a physical and psychological threat. Hashmi's performance helps create a real sense of danger for our hero, allowing Khan to add new layers to his already iconic character. Khan is, as always, effortlessly cool, offering great lines, such as when he tells Shah Rukh to keep a parachute due to his hair looking better in the wind. But the emotion he displays in this film, openly weeping on more than one occasion, is what stands out. It's a side of him that fans do not often see. Naturally, this enhances the inevitable moments of heroism that follow.

Tiger 3 Emraan Hashmi
Yash Raj Films

To Sharma's credit, he successfully juggles a lot in this film, whether it's sustaining the momentum of his story, Khan's star power, and creating enough “dhamakedar” moments to appease audiences far and wide. Unfortunately, this instalment does still possess some noticeable flaws. The opening does feel a little rushed, resulting in significant scenes not having the desired impact, and at times, the implausible manner in which Khan avoids taking at least one bullet from the guns fired at him can remove you from the narrative. Also, compared to past films in this trilogy, Tiger 3 noticeably does not have one blockbuster song, which leaves a little to be desired. 

In the end, Tiger 3 proves to be the perfect Diwali gift for fans of both Indian cinema and Salman Khan, and it's a further reminder that when backed by the right script and creative team, the Khans are unmatched in their ability to provide a blockbuster experience.

Tiger 3 is in cinemas now.