Salman Khan, Sohail Khan, Zhu Zhu, Matin Rey Tangu, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Om Puri
There is no longer a typical Salman Khan film. His films are changing. He is much more than the handsome face, great physique, and abnormal amount of luck. He has proved that with BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN & SULTAN. With TUBELIGHT, he had set out to conquer the skeptics again but unfortunately, his hard work falls short. We all know that he is no NSD grad and more often than not,Salman has depended on his charm to win love, but TUBELIGHT needed more than that.
Bharat (Sohail Khan) and Laxman (Salman Khan) are inseparable. The two buddies have grown up in a quaint village where everyone is familiar but the two brothers are complete with each other. They live in their village, in their innocence, and believe their village is the only world. There is a marked difference between the two - highlighted by Laxman’s slow understanding of things. While Laxman is the village’s Tubelight, Bharat is the man to watch out for… he simply ends up getting everything that others like Mohammad, Zeeshan Ayub’s character, can only hope for… But Bharat’s luck runs out when he gets taken in as a prisoner of war. It is now upon Laxman and his unfailing determination to get his brother back that the entire film depends on…
While Laxman volleys between the army camps and his village, there are many stories that join his… the most prominent one being that of an ostracized child (Matin Rey Tangu) and his mother (Zhu Zhu).
The film which is an official remake of the LITTLE BOY, doesn’t hold the poignancy of the original script because somewhere Salman Khan takes away the focus. Not his acting but it is his stardom it is that makes TUBELIGHT languish. Nothing in the film is bigger than Salman Khan. Salman’s stardom hasn’t really come from being the dimwit, innocent man with a formula for hope. No - his success has come from being the messiah. Director Kabir Khan has tried to marry the two images and failed. As beautiful as the film looks all thanks to Aseem Mishra the cinematographer, there is nothing soul-wrenching in the film. You don’t feel the pain. The second you start sympathizing with the mother and son for being treated as outcasts, the narrative changes. There is nothing that holds your love other than Salman Khan - that too due to sheer loyalty towards him.
His scenes which were supposed to make you weep, leave you analytical about his acting, which wasn’t supposed to be. You cannot over analyze a Salman Khan film because you have to simply feel it. But I couldn’t feel TUBELIGHT. There was never a part in the film which spoke so coherently to my heart that my mind would stop smirking. It happened with BAJRANGI…., it happened with SULTAN but TUBELIGHT left me feeling hopeless despite their dependency on the formula for Yakeen aka determination.
The people who are worth mentioning in the film are Matin and Isha Talwar who did their bit beautifully. Salman Khan acting alongside his brothers (other than DABANGG) is always tacky to see, their madness and their love doesn’t translate into cinematic chemistry and somehow the language they speak remains their own without any resonance for the audience. The punch lines went flat, the acting awry… making you want to beg Salman Khan to just be the actor. Not the brother, not the scriptwriter and certainly not the director. Speaking of the director, Kabir Khan has all my sympathies. It is not easy to make Salman Khan be anyone other than himself. Kabir Khan has done it once - all he needs is the actor’s unbiased support to make that magic again.