Tubelight Film Review: Go For LED Bulbs Instead

| June 23, 2017 | 0 Comments

Twenty years ago, a war drama unfolded on single screens across India. J P Dutta’s Border (1997) captured the imagination and struck right emotional chords among the viewers. In an era where multiplexes were few years away, it got a booming response.

It’s song sandesh aate hain, humein tadpate hain, ki ghar kab aaoge,likho kab aaoge, ki tum bin ye ghar soona hai. Now the anguished pleading of this ‘mukhda'(opening lines) is a clarion call and somewhat the whole premise of Tubelight.

The story is about two brothers where Laxman Bisht(Salman Khan) is somewhat mentally deficient. His younger bother,yes real life younger brother is Bharat Bisht(Sohail Khan)who gets enrolled in Indian Army and goes away to fight in Indo-China war of 1962.

He does not return. He is presumed dead. Now Banein Chacha (Om Puri) ,exhorts Laxman to keep faith,as faith can literally move mountains, and do everything dictated by the purity and power of his faith to get back his brother.

Rest of the drama is whether Laxman and Bharat are united or not.

To reach this resolution you have to meander your way through subplots,where Salman Khan gets involved with a single mother Lilian (Zhu Zhu) and her son Guwa, who are chinese settled in India for century plus. The relationship that starts on note of prejudice and enmity ends on a pleasant bonding.

Then you have to go through loo breaks by way of numerous,irrelevant songs (uninspiring compositions by Pritam).

As if this was not enough you have to endure a snail pace of the repetitive screenplay post interval.

All this could have been tolerated had there been an iota of moving,emotional scenario to keep you going.

One wonders what inspiration the director Kabir Khan got from its original source Little Boy (duly acknowledged though),that he served such a bland dish.

You call him gullible,dumb,simpleton,naive,dim witted, or simply Tubelight,but it does not alter the fact that Salman Khan’s Laxman is a master class in making faces and hamming. When a 52 year old tries to portray, and not live, mind you live, the age of an eight year old kid, you know there is going to be a yawning gap in believability.

On top of that brother Sohail Khan is there to lend solid support to class in non-acting. Even Shahrukh Khan’s cameo is not able to flourish a magic wand and leaves you insatiated.

I wonder if instead of Salman-Sohail, Salman-Shahrukh had been paired to play brothers (a kind of Return of Karan Arjun), it would have been altogether a different scenario. But then it also entailed a risk of as to who will act dumb and dumber. Just Kidding.

Chinese import Zhu Zhu is pleasant to look at but brings nothing special on the table. As such her characterisation seems a forced one.

Infact there are so many things that seem forced. Like the whole gamut of Gandhian teachings that Banein Chacha keeps instilling in tubelight Laxman.

Kabir Khan,Salman Khan,Bajrangi Bhaijaan, is a combo hard to replicate. But Kabir Khan,Salman Khan,Tubelight, combo is a mere stencil copy of its source-Little Boy (2015) in these much tomtommed Make In India and Digital India environs.

What endears is bonding between brothers when they are in school. Laxman’s bonding with Gu aka Guwa (Matin Rey Tangu,impressive) has its moments but they just flicker for a while.

In the role of a bully and a bigot Narayan (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub) attracts attention. Likes of late Om Puri, Yash Sharma as a Major, Brijender Kala are wasted.

With the war as backdrop for the plot, the weakest link is the depiction of war scenes that look more from a B grade film. Though Aseem Mishra’s few shots of caravan of military vehicles on the move make a statement of space and scale as a scene in itself.

Tubelight repeats ad nauseum the power of faith (its tag line says it all: kya tumhe yakeen hai?) and its power to accomplish anything. But watching the shenanigans on screen I start losing my faith in the power of cinema to move me emotionally.

As a planted device that needs a closure, Laxman has this wish to gift his brother his fancied pair of boots. Whether he is able or not, is a foregone conclusion,still you feel like giving boot to this whole setup.

Moreover,its better to lace up your boots and move on, rather than halt to watch this flickering stuff. Tubelight is drain on your energy,time and money. Its better to light up your environs with Led bulbs and save money .

This advice does not apply to die hard Salman Khan fans.For them tubelight or no light, their Bhai is enough to lighten their wallets and enlighten them. Amen.


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Category: Reviews

About the Author ()

Dhieraj Mohan is Hindi cinema's keen observer. With earnest interest in its dynamics and constantly changing milieu he revels in dwelling on the discrepancies, idiosyncrasies,contradictions,masala and the formula that defines Bollywood.He is a poet and a screenwriter too,who simply adores Hindi cinema's chameleon like traits.

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