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Tubelight Movie Review: Salman Khan a Bane or a Boon?

Salman Khan with Zhu Zhu in a movie still.

Cast: Brijendra Kala, Matin Rey Tangu, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Om Puri, Salman Khan, Sohail Khan, Yashpal Sharma, Zhu Zhu

Cameo: Shah Rukh Khan

Director: Kabir Khan

Producer: Salma Khan and Salman Khan

Rating: 3 star (out of 5)

Tubelight is an anti-war movie that elucidates the futility of war and teaches us the importance of not hating the ones who you are at war with. The film is a Bollywood remake of the 2015 Hollywood venture “Little Boy” by Alejandro Monteverde. The child hero Pepper, an 8-years old boy, beleaguered because of his small size, becomes Laxman Singh Bisht (Salman Khan) an obtuse adult who is bullied by Narayan (Zeeshan Ayyub). Salman has been excellent at playing a macho-man child throughout his career. His innocence and naughtiness combined with his fetching looks have always charmed us.  Now, here it is significant to note that for someone who is muscled and bulky like Salman Khan it is not easy getting used to him playing someone who is has mental limitations.

Both Salman Khan and Pepper’s actions in the movies are driven by these words of Jesus “For truly I say unto you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say unto this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. And nothing shall be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

Laxman and Pepper trying to “Move Things” with their faith.

The film is all about Laxman’s faith. Laxman and his younger brother Bharat (Sohail Khan) lost their parents at a very young age, and have been everything to each other ever since. Laxman himself explained his life in one scene: “Peetaji ko sharaab nee, maa ko ghum neu aurh Gandhi Jee ko hum nee maar deya.” (Alcohol killed father, misery killed mother, and we murdered Gandhi jee). Ironic.

Bharat (Sohail Khan) leaves Jagatpur for the battlefield to fight against the Chinese and Laxman (Salman Khan) becomes convinced that his faith will bring his beloved brother back.

Salman Khan and Sohail Khan in a still from Tubelight. We simply loved the way Sohail looks at his brother in this scene.

Kabir Khan is a true genius casting real life siblings as reel life siblings. This has helped him successfully develop the right feel and emotions. Even the ones who have not seen any of their loved ones going to fight a war will understand Laxman’s pain because this feeling is universal.

This film very beautifully highlighted the issue of racism but unfortunately does absolutely nothing to deliver an anti-racism message. Salman himself had a mental block against a Matin Rey Tangu upon their first encounter. Thinking that the boy was Chinese Laxman asked him to chant “Baharat Maata Ki Jai!” to prove his love for India. The boy’s shout was loud enough to scatter a herd of sheep. The then said, “I shouted louder, so that makes me more Indian than you are?”

Now this sentence may seem simple, but it is so deep and is indeed a tight slap on patriotism.

Martin is adorable. Every time he is on screen, he steals the show.

Zhu Zhu, playing the role of Martin’s mother, is a treat for the eyes. She keeps wishing for the war to end so her father can return (if he is alive).

Matin, Salman and Zu Zu ina still from Tubelight. Aren’t they cute?

Another good thing about this movie is Om Puri. He is seen sharing Gandhi’s wisdom with Laxman. He is better utilized in this movie than he has been in the highly acclaimed “Death in the Gunj” that is also now in theatres. Tubelight surely remind us of the great actor he once was.

Om Puri in a still from Tunelight. Gosh! we are gonna miss him.

Unfortunately, the film is a one-man show, not enough time is spent on developing the supporting characters and that is a reason why Tubelight even after being a wonderfully written film lacks a spark.

Being a good-message film is sometimes not enough. I appreciate how Kabir Khan always highlights tough issues with courage. But courage alone sometimes is not sufficient to make Great Films.

To be honest, Salman is both a bane and a boon for Tubelight. He ruins it because of his acting limitations, but he is the man who will carry Tubelight to the 100-crore club.

As far as the ending is concerned, the film has a clichéd ending where everyone lives happily ever after. Seems like Kabir Khan thought too much about Bhai’s fans. After all, would the fans be happy if Bhai ended up sad and lonely?

You have to see the movie to better know the How’s and Why’s of the film.

As for now you can have a look at its Trailer uploaded on YouTube… Do watch it in the Cinemas. I’m sure you will love it. Happy Watching!



About the author

Ayesha Nadeem

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