TUBELIGHT

Tubelight is the story of developmentally disabled Laxman, who vows to bring his younger brother Bharat back from the Sino-Indian war through the sheer strength of his self-belief.

Kabir Khan’s sixth film as a mainstream film director sees him pair with Salman Khan for what looks like the third time since Ek Tha Tiger. You would expect the otherwise ever-dependent Khan—whose skillful execution gave mainstream Indian filmmaking the much-needed vigor in Bajrangi Bhaijaan—to deliver with Tubelight, an official adaptation of Alejandro Gómez Monteverde’s critical and commercial disaster Little Boy, but this film is no different from its source, both qualitatively and conceptually.

Sure, there are some changes: Gandhian philosophies replace Biblical verses, the father of the protagonist is now a brother, and the story unfolds with the Sino-Indian War being a backdrop instead of World War II. Moreover, if Little Boy’s protagonist is mocked for being too small for his age, we have Salman Khan’s Laxman facing a similar fate for his developmental disabilities (hence the title Tubelight). However, despite Khan’s lazy clone of a screenplay, one still hopes for magic—the futility of war and our obnoxious xenophobia are rather promising themes.

Intentions, however, do not make a good movie.

As is quite evident from his dismal performance, nor does Salman Khan. One can notice his confusion in what, for him, could be a hitherto unexplored territory. For a role requiring nuance begotten mainly from acting chops, he puts up a farce, emoting in any of three different ways—constipated grunts, torrential tears, and rapid blinking. Amidst a plethora of frustrating scenes of him looking dazed and confused, one yearns—rather unexpectedly—for more Sohail Khan (yes, him) for respite.

Amidst a plethora of frustrating scenes of [Salman Khan] looking dazed and confused, one yearns—rather unexpectedly—for more Sohail Khan (yes, him) for respite.KELVIN KANTHRAJ VINCENT

Quite a damn shame. Khan, who nailed the mild-mannered naiveté for his protagonist in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, is in familiar territory. However, it is his director’s vision that seems rather compromised and, frankly, exasperating, if one is to look at the tiny problem of remodeling an eight-year-old boy around someone forty-eight years older.

Thankfully, the supporting cast does not disappoint. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub is spectacular as the village bully blinded by a false sense of nationalism, with ever-dependant character actors Yashpal Sharma and Brijendra Kala coming a close second. The two on-screen breaths of fresh air, however, are the late Om Puri, and little firecracker Martin Rey Tangu. While Puri’s distracting Colonel Sanders look makes one wonder if this is a sly product placement, his performance is splendid if philosophically overdriven.

Tangu, on the other hand, steals the show. His chemistry with Salman Khan is excellent, and one wishes to see more of them together. He and Chinese actress Zhu Zhu play Indians of Chinese origin, and the latter, though beautiful, does not deliver an impactful performance. It is quite apparent that the producers included her to appeal to Chinese audiences, hoping to replicate the phenomenal success of Aamir Khan’s Dangal (a la Fan Bingbing in X-Men: Days of Future Past).


Tubelight’s blatant sentimentalism—the producers deliver scene upon scene in desperation to make you care and cry buckets—doesn’t simply seek to tug at your heartstrings. It aims to make mincemeat out of your heart. However, if sensory assault is your idea of a holiday cheer, there are way more accomplished alternatives than this disappointing mess. Sit this one out.

Watch the trailer here:

About the Author

Kelvin Kantharaj Vincent

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Voracious reader. Passionate writer. Certified crazy. Relentless foodie.

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Cast Salman Khan
Sohail Khan
Zhu Zhu
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Tubelight is the story of developmentally disabled Laxman, who vows to bring his younger brother Bharat back from the Sino-Indian war through the sheer strength of his self-belief.


Kabir Khan’s sixth film as a mainstream film director sees him pair with Salman Khan for what looks like the third time since Ek Tha Tiger. You would expect the otherwise ever-dependent Khan—whose skillful execution gave mainstream Indian filmmaking the much-needed vigor in Bajrangi Bhaijaan—to deliver with Tubelight, an official adaptation of Alejandro Gómez Monteverde’s critical and commercial disaster Little Boy, but this film is no different from its source, both qualitatively and conceptually.

Sure, there are some changes: Gandhian philosophies replace Biblical verses, the father of the protagonist is now a brother, and the story unfolds with the Sino-Indian War being a backdrop instead of World War II. Moreover, if Little Boy’s protagonist is mocked for being too small for his age, we have Salman Khan’s Laxman facing a similar fate for his developmental disabilities (hence the title Tubelight). However, despite Khan’s lazy clone of a screenplay, one still hopes for magic—the futility of war and our obnoxious xenophobia are rather promising themes.

Intentions, however, do not make a good movie.

As is quite evident from his dismal performance, nor does Salman Khan. One can notice his confusion in what, for him, could be a hitherto unexplored territory. For a role requiring nuance begotten mainly from acting chops, he puts up a farce, emoting in any of three different ways—constipated grunts, torrential tears, and rapid blinking. Amidst a plethora of frustrating scenes of him looking dazed and confused, one yearns—rather unexpectedly—for more Sohail Khan (yes, him) for respite.

Amidst a plethora of frustrating scenes of [Salman Khan] looking dazed and confused, one yearns—rather unexpectedly—for more Sohail Khan (yes, him) for respite.KELVIN KANTHRAJ VINCENT

Quite a damn shame. Khan, who nailed the mild-mannered naiveté for his protagonist in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, is in familiar territory. However, it is his director’s vision that seems rather compromised and, frankly, exasperating, if one is to look at the tiny problem of remodeling an eight-year-old boy around someone forty-eight years older.

Thankfully, the supporting cast does not disappoint. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub is spectacular as the village bully blinded by a false sense of nationalism, with ever-dependant character actors Yashpal Sharma and Brijendra Kala coming a close second. The two on-screen breaths of fresh air, however, are the late Om Puri, and little firecracker Martin Rey Tangu. While Puri’s distracting Colonel Sanders look makes one wonder if this is a sly product placement, his performance is splendid if philosophically overdriven.

Tangu, on the other hand, steals the show. His chemistry with Salman Khan is excellent, and one wishes to see more of them together. He and Chinese actress Zhu Zhu play Indians of Chinese origin, and the latter, though beautiful, does not deliver an impactful performance. It is quite apparent that the producers included her to appeal to Chinese audiences, hoping to replicate the phenomenal success of Aamir Khan’s Dangal (a la Fan Bingbing in X-Men: Days of Future Past).


Tubelight’s blatant sentimentalism—the producers deliver scene upon scene in desperation to make you care and cry buckets—doesn’t simply seek to tug at your heartstrings. It aims to make mincemeat out of your heart. However, if sensory assault is your idea of a holiday cheer, there are way more accomplished alternatives than this disappointing mess. Sit this one out.

Watch trailer here:

About the Author

Kelvin Kantharaj Vincent

Facebook

Voracious reader. Passionate writer. Certified crazy. Relentless foodie.

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