There are many small mercies in Tiger 3 but we will get to that later. Brevity is not one of them, though. The film takes a world trip before the finale.

I must apologise for not understanding the matters of consequence in this film. Nevertheless, here’s a humble attempt to give you a glimpse of the goings on.

  1. Pakistani girl (who later evolves into Zoya/Katrina Kaif) in London learns MMA techniques from ISI dad and immediately after, witnesses him getting blown up in a car.
  2. Tiger (Bhai) saves a RAW agent from stuntmen dressed as Muslims and sky dives into a helicopter.
  3. RAW agent in helicopter mumbles something about a Pakistani double agent and dies.
  4. Tiger looks at his wife, Tigress Zoya (Katrina Kaif), without smirking, for once. Is she a Pakistani double agent or triple agent? This is done to mundane music. But the filmmakers may have suspected that the viewer would fall asleep and so, I guess, they didn't pursue sprinkling more songs onto the film except for a dance number in the epilogue, which is irrelevant.
  5. Tigress is hunting down Tiger at another exotic location. Tiger does not know its Tigress and Tigress does not know it’s Tiger because Tigress wears a helmet and Tiger wears a hippie disguise. Like- they don’t tell each other where they are going when they leave the house. “Khana fridge mein rakha hai…” Nothing of that sort. Instead, Tiger and Tigress do MMA. Why? I don’t know.
  6. The villain is, actually, a rogue ISI agent, Aatish Rehman (Emraan Hashmi) who dislikes the Pakistani PM (Simran) because she wants to have peaceful ties with India. And he doesn't want to wear a tie.
  7. There is a backstory. Tiger knows Aatish and Aatish knows Tigress and Tigress is now married to Tiger. And Tigress helps Tiger in cooking Aatish’s goose and so Mrs Aatish Rehman, who is pregnant, is killed while trying to assassinate an Indian General from a rooftop at an exotic location.
  8. So, Tiger Cub (a boy) ends up with Aatish as a hostage and Tiger and Tigress have to stop doing MMA and steal some suitcase with a device for Aatish in order to save the Tiger Cub, who has a medical condition. It’s time to save the species.
  9. Next- Tigress does MMA with a Mrs Bruce Lee (Michelle Lee) in a Bath House. They’re dressed only with towels wrapped around their torsos. The towels should have come off after the first kick but they don’t. At one stage one does almost come off, so they pause the fight. Nudity (nobody else in the bath house) is more dangerous than death. By the way, Tigress wants Mrs Bruce Lee’s eye because it's a password to save the species.
  10. Tiger is hanging upside down from a ceiling to open a vault, waiting for the eye.
  11. Tiger and Tigress also have to save the PM! (Not ours, the Pakistani’s)
  12. Pakistani children play the Indian National Anthem.

This is an important moment in the film. But we will get to that later. First, as promised, the small mercies…

  1. There is a modicum of finesse to this entire endeavour. When compared with the Jawans and the Pathans and the Gadars, this one is a fraction more bearable. It doesn’t completely destroy the senses. Had the editor been ruthless and cut at least forty five minutes of screen time, this film would have passed the test as a desi version of all the impossible Bond like missions of the west.
  2. Most of the locations are pleasing to the eye.
  3. There is an attempt at a slightly more nuanced look at the India-Pakistan relationship.
  4. The Pakistanis are not all black heads and blockheads.
  5. The background score sounds videshi and very familiar.
  6. Emraan Hashmi may lack aura but is adequately genuine.
  7. The smirk on Bhai’s face has reduced in intensity even though he may still have problems with his arm pits.
  8. Katrina Kaif has some nice moves in MMA.
  9. The acting is not over the top and nobody is screaming.

The performances don’t matter, though. The viewer has come to see the stars and they are happy with that. Lip job- no lip job, steroid- no steroid, as long as they are there on the big screen, the viewer seems to be happy (or is he?). And the filmmaker is aware of this. So Pathan makes an appearance to help Bhai when he is facing death in the avatar of twenty soldiers with bad aim, carrying automatic weapons. And it makes the viewer squeal with joy.

Now… the Pakistani children playing the Indian National Anthem… It’s all cleverly done in the screenplay but what is alarming is the reaction of the Indian viewer. Instead of feeling proud or sentimental and enjoying the scene, the entire house stood up immediately. Popcorn or no popcorn, necking or no necking; everyone stood up in the middle of a FICTIONAL scene.

Do you recall Pavlov’s dogs hundred years ago in Europe?

YRF Spy Universe

Director: Maneesh Sharma

Cast: Salman Khan (Bhai), Katrina Kaif, Emraan Hashmi