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Review: 'Tiger Zinda Hai' - Salman Khan is Alive & Kicking / Go back

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Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Paresh Rawal, Sajjad Delafrooz, Girish Karnad, Anupriya Goenka, Angad Bedi, Kumud Mishra, Gavie Chahal, Danish Bhatt, Erdal Besikcioglu and Paresh Pahuja

Director: Ali Abbas Zafar

Rating: ***1/2

We all know that Avinash Singh Rathore aka Tiger (Salman Khan) and Zoya (Katrina Kaif) were alive. They had to so that the producers could encash their legacy in a sequel after the success of 'Ek Tha Tiger'. The super duper success of the prequel forced them to come out with the present movie. And why not? The earlier movie was almost perfect in all the departments. Now let's see what Ali Abbas Zafar of 'Sultan' fame achieved. After all, he had to fill in the big shoes of Kabir Khan.

The city of Ikrit in Iran is under the siege of the terrorists. Americans are after them and they are bent on bombing them but the only impediment is the 25 Indian hostages who were working as nursing staff in a hospital. The government of India wants to get them released and RAW under Shenoy (Girish Karnad) is handed the responsibility. The diplomatic level talks could convince the Americans to stall the drone attack on Ikrit for 7 days. The plan to get the hostages released is in place and pulling this task is a herculean task. The only impediment is that Shenoy knows it that RAW cannot pull it off without Tiger.

Tiger has to be found and the clock is ticking. The camera moves to the Alps in Austria where Tiger is ensconced and the couple has a son in Tiger Jr. 8 years have passed since Tiger left RAW and he has no plan to join it back. Moreover, his first love now is Zoya and Tiger Junior; and he simply loves them a lot. This can be retaliated from the fact the way he protects his son from the wolves while out in the woods. The scene is beautifully picturized and simply reinforces the enigma of Salman Khan on screen.

On the other hand, Zoya in a store in town successfully stops the armed men from pulling off a robbery. This is followed by beautifully choreographed & cinematographed song, Dil Diyan Gallan, sung by Atif Aslam. All good things must come to an end and so does this fairy tale life of Zoya and Tiger. Shenoy walks in with his trusted lieutenant, Karan (Anant Vidhaat Sharma) at their hideout and tries though in vain to lead the mission. It's Zoya who convinces Tiger to go for it since he's very patriotic.

Tiger reaches Ikrit and insists on having his own team in Navin (Angad Bedi), Rakesh (Kumud Mishra) and Azaan Akbar (Paresh Pahuja). In Ikrit, they meet Firdaus (Paresh Rawal) who is infamously known as the Theuban meaning snake. He is responsible for supplying labour to Baghdavi (Erdal Besikcioglu) who runs Al Faridoon Oil Refinery under the patronage of Abu Usman (Sajjad Delafrooz) who is the local warlord.

At the hospital, Poorna (Anupriya Goenka) treats Abu Usman and irony is that Usman had his education at Delhi with the thesis for his doctorate on Alama Iqbal and Ghulam Ali. His conviction as a terrorist and a cruel man is further accentuated when he sends Hassan, a young lad of 13 years, as a human bomb to avenge the killing of his family at the hands of the Americans. When Tiger is out to meet RAW's local agent in town (played by Nawab Shah), he comes across Hassan and his intrigued by his character. Hassan is sent to create fear in the minds of the locals and is ordered to be shot if he fails to execute the task. Tiger is able to save the child as well as the locals after a long fight sequence and there is a twist in the tale as Zoya also lands during this sequence as she is there since there are 15 Pakistani nurses also held hostage at the hospital.

So if Zoya is around for ISI, how can Captain Abrar (Gavie Chahal) and Captain Jawed (Danish Bhatt) be far behind. Tiger after being convinced by Zoya for a joint operation also convinces the RAW and the ISI agents to work together for humanity's sake and their own enmity can take a back seat. This is certainly an emotional moment laced with impeccable dialogues.

What follows next is the preparations and execution of the plan to get the hostages released. It leads us to very interesting sequences of fight and treachery. The film ends on a high note with Captain Abrar hoisting the tricolour carried by Azaan since Azaan gave his life to save Abrar. And the Pakistani flag was hoisted later. Thus what could not be achieved by Indian politicians was achieved by these actors in foisting cordial atmosphere through this movie.

This movie has been made beautifully though we missed the genius of Kabir Khan even Ali Abbas handled the script in a very mature manner. The music, choreography, cinematography and even dialogues are perfectly weaved into this movie. The music is really appreciable and all the songs fit to the tee, and closing credit song - 'Swag Se Swagat' is simply amazing. The only thing this movie couldn't compete with the wonderful 'Ek Tha Tiger' is the story. This movie had the advantage of a great storyline laced with strange twists and turns. Though Neelesh Misra and Ali Abbas Zafar tried hard but couldn't succeed to hold the candle to 'Ek Tha Tiger'.

The casting and the acting by all the actors are exemplary. The standout performances were certainly by the Iranian Sajjad Delafrooz, Kumud Mishra, Paresh Rawal, Girish Karnad and Anupriya Goenka. Parvez Kazi and Najeem Khan as duplicates didn't let us fell the absence of Salman Khan anywhere in the movie. Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif are as fresh as teenagers falling in love for the first time. Their natural chemistry can be seen and felt. This movie would have got only two and a half stars but for Kat and Sallu. You must watch this movie for this wonderful pair which we would love to see more of them in the trilogy.

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