Tubelight - Review

wogma rating: Switch channels if it's on cable (?)
quick review:

Too many “issues”, too many morals. Much little acting, much little story.

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“Believe that the right thing will happen”, society's outlook towards people who are developmentally challenged, Gandhian values, futility of war, misdirected nationalism, judgements based on looks – these are the themes Tubelight goes over. All lofty, all preachily approached, all boring.

The first thing you do when you see an adult with a developmental challenge is patronize him/her, right? Ok, a few ridicule them. Tubelight takes both the patronization and ridicule to a whole new level. When people laugh at him, the entire village laughs at him except for a handful (just one in one scene) who sympathize. When the village isn't around these sympathizers treat him like you wouldn't treat a five year old. The meta patronization is that the entire crew encouraged Salman Khan as he when around doing what he thought was acting.

Sure, it can be argued that developmentally challenged people do believe whatever they are told and are rather innocent. But, what Laxman (Salman Khan) does in all his innocence is amusing if not outright annoying! The forced baby tone used by Salman Khan, especially in the voiceover is plain painful.

Fortunately, you have Om Puri to bring a grounded feel to the performances even though he is preaching (because you know, he is a Gandhian). Matin Rey Tangu and Zhu Zhu bring about a calm by their presence. You might disagree with Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub's Narayan with as much he makes his argument, but he convinces you of his hate. Similarly, Sohail Khan, makes us believe that a straight face with expressive eyes are emotions enough for his character Bharat. I actually caught myself thinking, Sohail Khan should taken up more films as an actor. Hopefully, non-Salman films.

Writing is to blame here as much as his performance though. An actor can look only as believable while mouthing a line, “Where can you find the strength of faith?” And that is his signature line. It is even more frustrating when the line is portrayed as “faith in self” but all the situations that test faith are actually testing hope and not self-belief.

Similarly, you wonder what they are trying to do with the other issues the film raises. The main theme of the mental disability is botched completely. The other theme that runs thick through the film is that of judging people who look different. When the general attitude of characters in the film is that of ridicule or hatred, it is understandable. That is what the film wants to highlight. However, if the protagonist himself pokes fun at things like different-sounding names, it doesn't seem right. Especially, given what the film is trying to say otherwise about the situation.

To add to the misery, the scenes drag. While thankfully slow-motion has been avoided, the other tool used to create drama – silences and pauses are way too long. Instead of adding to the intensity of the scene, they make you wait for it to make a move. The songs too add to the run-time almost making you wonder if the makers knew the material didn't have enough to hold attention. The music and lyrics are lacklustre and reminded me of the dreadful music from the 90s.

It is strange that Tubelight has so many things to say and yet felt like it said nothing. I don't expect to be impacted by the manner in which issues are raised. But I expect the makers to at least try. It actually felt like, they thought what they saw on the paper had loads of mean, but when they got down to making the film, they lost faith.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A few fist fights. A few war scenes
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: A brother believes that the right thing will happen to him
  • General Look and Feel: The beautiful Himalayas. The setting is supposed to be the 60s, but I doubt you would be able to tell.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 1
  • Story: 0.0
  • Lead Actors: 1
  • Character Artists: 2.5
  • Dialogues: 0.5
  • Screenplay: 1
  • Music Director: 0.0
  • Lyrics: 0.5

Tubelight - Movie Details

Tubelight - Trailer

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Comments (8)

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ANuP:

had seen the original LITTLE BOY , a day before watching Tubelight , didn't find it worth remaking. Infact American critics totally crashed that movie with critism , also was a box office flop. Don't know whose idea it was to remake it.
I have to agree that Tubelight was improvement on LITTLE BOY. But still they didn't elevate much. Story is still bad. Message is still manipulative. And turning a 1hr49min movie into 2hr30min movie with longer scenes and songs is a really bad idea.
Still I would say z I didn't thought that Indian critics will dislike it so much. Little shocking for me.

Umair Hussain:

First things first, it's great to see Om Puri one last time. Puri was one of the very finest actors our country ever produced, and Kabir Khan's Tubelight marks his last filmed performance. Sure, he looks like he's walked straight off the logo for Kentucky Fried Chicken, and is given trite platitudes to mouth instead of actual dialogue, but it's still wonderful to watch him chew on watermelon and tell us how faith can move mountains. In fact, say I, we should all be grateful to Khan and Tubelight for illustrating to us just how true it is that dear Mr Puri is, indeed, now in a better place.Watch TubeLight Movie
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Fan:

I don't know where to start the review. But since it is a Salman Khan film, let us start with him.

Salman plays a dim witted guy, thus the reason for the name of the film. His act is horrible, to say the least. Clearly he has not even bothered to spend some time with mentally handicapped people to observe their mannerisms. In the 70s style he just plays an exaggeratedly stupid act. Nevertheless he cries well, and frequently he makes you cry with him. The previous time Salman did a good crying act it was in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam.

Apart from acting, Salman (and Sohail) look over bloated and middle aged guys. I don't think that was intended, and so it reflects more their actual physical conditions. Flabby everywhere, and age appearing on the faces.

Let's move to the others. Personally I was tremendously impressed by Isha Talwar (Maya) and Zhu Zhu. Isha's presence was sheer sunlight. She is extremely delightful to watch, a natural act be it in happy situations or less happy situations. And Zhu Zhu was another gem. That her character was made to speak Hindi throughout the film is admirable. Her lip formations were perfectly aligned to what she was speaking, very commendable if in real life she is not from India. And her expressions were following the words being said in the dialogues. Thus a doubly difficult act if in real life she is not an Indian and new to Hindi. Kudos.

All the rest of the cast, including Matin, are alright. Matin is adorable mainly because he is a child and has oriental features. Beyond that nothing great on the acting front.

The special effects, if they could be called that, are the worst to see in recent times.

The movie in itself over simplifies a complex problem of war. The message of 'in a war nobody is right, and nobody is left' is there but gets buried under lots of other things. An overt attempt to continue on the Bajrangi saga, but not with solid material it simply fails to deliver the goods.

As a pure cinematic experience the film is average or even below average. But being Eid time, and being a Salman film, it will do fairly well commercially. Even though it might fall far behind the Bahubalis and Bajrangi Bhaijaans.

Anuj:

This film had no commercial value to begin with, uninspiring promos & music and nothing going for it apart from the fact that it was an Eid release starring Salman Khan. Neither does it have a "selfie le le" moment for the core Salman fanbase and nor does it have the emotions and content of a Bajrangi Bhaijaan or even a Sultan for the neutral audience. This is something like Salman's version of Mohenjo Daro. Just that such is the man's popularity that even a Tubelight might end up in the 125-150 cr range!

ehinome okojie:

Tubedark is being trashed more by the audience than the critics.

Anuj:

All said & done, this is certainly not as bad a movie as some ridiculous and completely baseless reviews are making it out to be. Yes it suffers from a strong Bajrangi/Forrest Gump hangover and yes the writing and performance are uneven, however its nowhere near being unwatchable. For all the senseless negative propaganda by the trade & media, Tubelight still makes a lot more sense to me than Ra1, Happy New year, Dilwale, Bodyguard, Dhoom 3 & Fan. Its unfortunate that Salman Khan's fanbase is unwilling to accept him in a vulnerable humane character & always wanna see him as a bravado larger than life on screen figure. Perhaps the curse of having a fanbase that consists of mostly "blind star worshipping fanatics" than genuine cinematic fans!

www.bollywoodreviewguide.blogspot.com

Bibs:

:D u decide to watch "tubelight" and "behen" and this guest jeet gets to review "death in Kunj"!...why meetu..why ??...I've been following your reviews for couple of yrs now and it seems now, the choice of films are no longer yours to make..I visited the site after a while to read your thoughts on "hindi medium" n "kunj" but had to be content with some Salman bashing..i liked that though :)

meeta:

Hi Bibs, well, I was on a vacation when some of those released. And others, Jeet happened to watch before me, so he reviewed it. :)

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