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Tubelight Movie Review: This exquisitely shot film exposes Salman Khan’s inadequacy as a performer

He might be a charming persona (?) to his fans, a “bhai” even, but nothing changes the fact that Salman Khan’s list of fortes doesn’t feature acting. He might have been watchable a decade or two ago, but as Salman Khan became bigger than himself, as he became the Bhai we now know him as, the weight of his following and brand that his name has become started to bog down his renditions as an artist. I personally never liked him – not now, not before. I wasn’t really excited for this film either.

Tubelight is soulless. Its heart may well be in the right place but that’s all there is to admire about this film. Lakshman aka Tubelight played by Khan is a grown man with the mind of a younger man and heart of an infant. He is so pure and innocent at heart that he is Aloknath-approved. He loves his brother Bharat (played by his real life bro Sohail Khan) a lot and the two are inseparable, with the latter almost always taking care of his innocent elder brother. So when India and China are at war and fit and healthy young men are asked to come forward to join the Indian force, Bharat steps forward. From here on, the story is anybody’s guess.

Tubelight is an official remake of Little Boy, a 2015 American film, which, believe it or not, was itself a flop in the first place! Now, why would you remake a flop movie? Even if you wanted to, why on earth would you cast the Khan brothers in it?

This film is about 2hr 20mins long, but feels like a good three and a half hour movie. The narration drags in the first half, and drags some more in the second. Most of the first half is used in establishing characters and nothing significant happens. The story progresses considerably in the second half but you are too bored to care. Here’s the thing with this story: it might be good on paper but on-screen, you need “actors” to pull this off. Not stars. Salman Khan tries his best but it hardly lands. I personally never felt connected to any of the characters. There he was, Salman Khan, doing an emotional scene, and I didn’t budge (I cry a lot in movies). When he laughed, I sat straight-faced. Sohail Khan is worse. I can understand (although I do not agree with) Salman’s casting in this role (read: marketability) but why cast Sohail as his brother?

As my friend rightly remarked while watching the film, Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub who plays Narayan (and boy, is he a treat to watch!) could have given the role of Bharat the justice it needed. Late Om Puri is in his element. Isha Talwar’s character is not even uni-layered. The woman just has to mouth some dialogues. Such a waste! Chinese VJ and actress Zhu Zhu doesn’t get to do much, and the little Martin Rey Tangu is adorable.

I haven’t watched Kabir Khan’s films but I’m told the guy’s good. But this project of his is a sheer disappointment.

Apart from the commendable camerawork, Tubelight has little else to remember it by. There’s a lot of shiz in the film about how faith can move mountains. How wonderful it would be if it made films work! I’m going with 1.5 out of 5!

PS: All the images are Youtube screenshots from the official trailer.

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