• Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sajjad Delafrooz, Angad Bedi, Paresh Rawal
  • Director: Abbas Ali Zafar
  • Rating: 3 ½ stars
  • Running Time: 2 hrs 40 minutes

Agents in hiding, Tiger and Zoya set out on a mission to save a group of Indian and Pakistani nurses who have been taken hostage by an Iraqi terrorist group, ISC.

Will Tiger Zinda Hai be a blockbuster? The answer to that would be a resounding – Yes!

It’s action packed, it’s got a load of thrilling moments, death defying stunts and it’s got the trademark Salman Khan shirtless scene! Add to that, somersaulting cars, explosions, flying vehicles, brawn and machismo. It’s also got Katrina Kaif kicking some serious butt as she swoops in to Iraq to do her part.

Director Abbas Ali Zafar spends a fair amount of screen time setting up the scene in the fictional Irkit in Iraq before introducing his central characters – Tiger and Zoya, who are now in hiding in the snow clad climes of Austria.

When Abu Usman, gang lord of a terrorist outfit – ISC, is shot at in retaliatory firing for the execution of an American journalist, they take a group of nurses hostage and hole up inside a hospital – so their leader can be taken care of and recover.

With an impending US airstrike in seven days, the Indian government is pressed for time to get the nurses out safely.

Enter Salman Khan – in self -induced retirement from RAW and now father to an eight year old, fighting off a pack of wolves – he snow boards, he flies, he saves his son from their growling gnaws. And the audience knows ‘Tiger Zinda Hai!

Cut to mom Katrina Kaif, who deftly fights off a group of armed muggers in a store – as calmly as she picks up some veggies for dinner. Clearly Tiger and Zoya are in top form and ready to take on the mission, that they don’t know yet, is coming their way. Intelligence agency chief, Shenoy (Girsh Karnad) tracks down Tiger and summons him to carry out the rescue mission for the Indian nurses.

And so Tiger is back to doing what he does best! He decides his core team – Tech expert Rakesh (Kumud Mishra) Sharpshooter Azaan (Paresh Pahuja), Bomb diffusion expert Namit (Angad Bedi) and the mission is on. Zoya joins in soon after with her comrades, when she finds out that the group of nurses includes 15 from Pakistan as well. And they are onto a joint mission – to purge out a common enemy.

With top-notch production values and well-crafted cinematography, Tiger Zinda Hai is requisitely glossy. Iranian actor Sajjad Delafrooz as Abu Usman, the villain in the plot holds his own with his impressive screen presence. And while it’s mostly Salman Khan’s show all the way, Katrina Kaif pulls out some serious aces in a well-choreographed action sequence set in the City Centre.

And barring the soulful Dil Diya Gallan, the narrative is thankfully not chopped up with unnecessary songs.

But somewhere along the way, despite packing in all the punches – the pace starts to slacken and the runtime of 2 hours, 40 minutes begins to weigh heavily on the narrative. The film could have done with some tighter dialogues and moments. Also, what doesn’t work is the mandatory tokenism that is doled out – Sharpshooter Azaan carries a tricolor around in his backpack, which he hopes to unfurl on the hospital after the nurses are rescued. There are also dialogues sprinkled about ‘mazhab’ and ‘aman’ – which for most Bollywood film watchers has become routine in a film on these lines.

But needless to say, Salman Khan fans will be in for a treat in this film as Tiger jumps through fire, rides a horse through the bylanes of Irkit tackling ISC terrorists and pulls off logic defying stunts without batting an eyelid. He looks great and so does Katrina Kaif.  And even if one isn’t the quintessential Salman Khan fan, the film scores big on entertainment and thrill and has its share of larger than life moments and grandiose.

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