'Tubelight': Shines but with low
voltage (Review By Troy Ribeiro, Rating: ***)
Salman Khan had once said, "Cinema should always be in touch with the
soil of the country. My films celebrate the heartland of India." And
probably with "Tubelight", he tries to be true to his words. So, he has
dedicated the film to the families and friends of soldiers who are left
behind to fight their own battles.
The film is an adaptation of the 2015 released American war film
Set in Jagatpur in Kumaon district and in the backdrop of the 1962
India and China War, the film is the tale of a dim-witted boy Laxman
whose brother, the only surviving member of his family, joins the
Indian Army. How he survives during the interim period without his
brother, forms the crux of the tale.
Visually, the film is enthralling. The wide angle lens used by Director
of Photography Aseem Mishra aesthetically capture the stunning locales
to perfection. The music and background score further enhance the
But it is the wafer-thin premise, packed with motivational messages and
a tinge of patriotic notes that make the plot seem forced. The script
meanders with scenes that lack gravitas. A case in point is the scene
when Narayan, one of the village bullies, throws Laxman who is walking
along with his new friend Guo into a stream. And, when Laxman picks up
a rock in defence and asks Guo to run, the assailants just whimper off,
and the scene ends abruptly.
In "Tubelight", Salman Khan does not play the dynamic hero that he used
to portray with gusto. As Laxman, he fails to exude energy onscreen and
hence, disappoints his fans. His mannerisms and body language are
strongly reminiscent of Hrithik Roshan's in "Koi... Mil Gaya". His
character is endearing but his physical demeanour is not. Initially
jarring, but by the last act you are one with the character and the
actor. Salman definitely grows on you.
Sohail Khan as his younger brother Bharat, has nothing much to offer,
except being an emotional anchor for his elder brother, and he performs
his part rather perfunctorily.
The only person who steals the show in the film is Matin Rey Tangu as
the young Guo, who Laxman befriends. He is charming with his oriental
looks and impish demeanour. The Chinese actress Zhu Zhu plays his
mother Liling with flair.
Shah Rukh Khan in a cameo with his tattooed visage and ears studded
with earrings, as a magician is dead pan and flat. He does not help to
uplift the narrative or add emotionally to the film.
Om Puri as Banne Chacha - the guardian of an ashram, Isha Talwar as his
daughter Maya, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as Narayan with his "knock knees
and Yashpal Sharma as Major Tokras -- all brilliant actors have their
moments of onscreen glory.
Overall, "Tubelight" has the tempered magic of cinema but it fails to
ignite the emotional quotient.