Salman brings Gandhian principles to Life

Salman Khan is on a roller coaster right now. He wants to act in the best films, choose the best scripts and in this pursuit he is even ready to give up on his Star persona, if it fits his role. Starting from Bajrangi Bhaijaan to Sultan, we saw a different Salman, a far cry from what has been given to us by popular media. Film Tubelight makes us respect him more for the craft that he believes in and simply his intention to be called a very good actor now. In Tubelight, you neither see a wrestler, nor a lover boy and definitely not a gangster. He is innocent, slow, willing to learn new tricks of acting and definitely taking a lot of risks on the way.

Tubelight is an official adaptation of an American film – Little Boy. In contrast to a little kid playing the character there, here we have a 50 year old behaving like a child. Cashing in on the popularity that Bajrangi’s character enjoyed, Salman Khan steps into the shoes of another ‘boy next door’- Laxman Singh Bisht. He is mentally slow, takes things on face value and takes time to rise to the occasion.  His Chacha, Om puri, a staunch Gandhian and promoter of non-violence teaches him a few theories of Gandhi which change the course of his destiny.

Yakeen ho to Chattan ko bhi hilaya ja sakta hai. And the problems that seem as big as a mountain can be moved too.

If your brother is fighting a war with the Chinese Army, is it possible to live with a family of Chinese descent with peace and love ? yes, because Gandhi fought a war and beat the British without hating them at all. What a beautiful thought to be making a film on. I loved the Idea.

In the film you see the world of 1960s, radio is your first love and the only medium to keep abreast with the world. In terms of art direction there is nothing new or unique but the setting definitely provides a fresh visual to the eyes.  The most lovable and moving parts of the film are ones where we see Om puri in his conventional baritone voice and splendid natural grace. Never overdoing things. For a moment you shed a tear at the thought that we will not see this actor oar excellence again as this one was his last. 

Having said that, he still seems underutilized in the film.

Salman Khan tries to deliver the most memorable film of his life by blindly trusting the director and writers, often to be disappointed by them.  What comes across as an inspiration from Tom Hanks’ film Forest Gump, he is dumb but good at heart, largely relying on the few cringing expressions and lot of tears. You would be moved by Salman in a few scenes though. He doesn’t shy away from looking absurd or childish. Mostly wearing old styled sweaters and torn shoes, it does look adorable.  

What else is good, well the music. Its seamless. What does not work for the film, It’s the writing of the film that takes away from all the charm. Tubelight will always be compared with Kabir and Salman’s terrific director – actor pairing in Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Tubelight is a disappointment in this series. The writing is patchy, inconsistent and plain dull. The brilliant story on the paper never gets translated into a heart wrenching, moving film. Unlike in Bajrangi Bhaijaan we never came to the edge of our seat. Neither with awe, nor with thrill.

 Sohail as a brother to Salman is obviously most natural in this relationship on screen. As a respite, we see a fresh face in the film as opposed to the starlets of the film industry. The scenes between Chinese actress Zhu Zhu and Salman exuded freshness but it’s the little boy from Arunachal Pradesh – Matin Rey Tangu who gets the cake and eats it too.

While the film tries to convey a very valid point and message, how Gandhiji’s teachings are still relevant in today’s times, can we beat our opponent with sheer love?, Salman’s fans can be in for a little disappointment as his traditional moves, the anger, romance, the twinkle in his eyes, the unpredictability of his demeanor , his desi dance moves, the traditional Salman Khan charm is missing here. Also the editor saved too much reel by keeping the scenes long and cumbersome.

However, Shahrukh Khan’s cameo adds zing to the beginning sequence. The two mega stars coming together in one frame after  decades is certainly worth a whistle. The few wrinkles on each face are also reflective of the time we all have lived watching the both of them.

It’s a sweet film with no space for negativity. Film is emotional in parts but largely remains dull filmmaking.  

2.5 stars