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TUBELIGHT - A modest but feeble attempt to break the routine giving a social message. (Review by Bobby Sing)

24 Jun, 2017 | Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / T / ALL ABOUT INSPIRED MOVIES / Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases

The latest Eid release of Salman-Kabir Khan is here and it can easily be called an extension of the emotional journey that began with BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN in 2015 helping an innocent kid girl. This time Salman himself gets into the persona of a child-like simpleton called TUBELIGHT for his inability to quickly understand the things (just as a tubelight flickers a few times before it finally lights up), and the story is a heartwarming tale of two brothers against the back drop of Indo-China war in 1962.
An official adaptation of an American English film LITTLE BOY (2015), thankfully TUBELIGHT turns out to be slightly better than the original. And that should certainly be a big relief for many as LITTLE BOY wasn’t any entertaining or highly moving film despite revolving around a neglected kid and his special ability of having a miraculous ‘faith’.
No doubt, TUBELIGHT isn’t the typical Salman Khan entertainer giving you enough opportunities to cheer, shout and enjoy in its 150 minutes of duration having a great time. But this isn’t any completely non-performing or dud either and deserves to be rated as a decent one time watch, more for its performances and fresh appeal, along with an important message for all citizens of India in particular (discussed later).
Having said that, there can be no denying to the fact that the film has a too thin and hard to believe plot that doesn’t really work, especially in its second half (featuring the mountain moving act) and it scores too low in terms of the typical filmy entertainment as always promised by a Salman Khan film. However that doesn’t overshadow its noticeable merits that certainly need to be mentioned giving its deserving due.                                                                                                                                           
To begin with, a film successfully manages to stand out, if its entire supporting cast performs extremely well along with the lead performers. And that’s exactly where TUBELIGHT thankfully scores (despite being a Salman Khan film!) with late Om Puri, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Yashpal Sharma, Isha Talwar, Brijendra Kala and even Sohail Khan giving all likeable performances as required. Though Shah Rukh Khan remains unable to add anything significant through his much publicized few minutes cameo, both Zhu Zhu and Matin (the kid) shine bright in their important thought provoking acts of ‘not accepted’ Indians.
Playing the unusual, vulnerable role of a grown up child-like-man, Salman Khan does fairly well and you got to give him credit for the same when he could have easily done another of his routine star-image kind of roles avoiding the big risk. Yes, at times he seems to be trying too hard playing a never-before kind of character coming out of his comfort zone, but that’s exactly how actors need to reinvent themselves making a conscious effort. Overall a courageous attempt from an actor, who could have easily avoided the hard work walking on an all familiar path.
In technical department, TUBELIGHT again scores for its cinematography and art direction, particularly for the few war sequences (though I was expecting them to be much more intense). But the same cannot be said about its musical score that fails to give you any great song to take back home. Plus it does seem to be a bit stretched with nothing much to say in few of its forced sequences asking for a better edit.
As a director, Kabir Khan probably conceived the film with all good intentions, but he should have considered the fact that the original film LITTLE BOY had not worked (majorly due to its weak plot) and thus it required some major changes in the script in order to make it more believable and impressive for the Indian viewers. Strangely he chose to ignore the fact and went on to make a sincere remake with some major changes in characterizations and sequence of similar events happening in the original film. As a result, the film does marginally score above its original, but could have been a lot better exploiting the fresh positive feel in its execution.
Coming to the message as mentioned above, No I am not talking about TUBELIGHT being an Anti-War project. In fact, both the ‘importance of faith’ and the ‘anti-war message’ do not appear in any solid or proper form in the film as being speculated by all. 
What I am actually talking about here is the ‘surprising educated unawareness’ in India wherein the Indian citizens only fail to acknowledge and respect their fellow citizens from the North East regions, considering them as some kind of outsiders or foreigners following a sick-biased mindset since decades. Besides, one particular scene gets TUBELIGHT some extra brownie points in which Kabir brilliantly showcases the present scenario of ‘Jingoism’ all around with reference to the patriotic slogan “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.   
In all, TUBELIGHT isn’t any highly entertaining or emotional film compared to Salman-Kabir’s BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN. But it doesn’t mean that one can dismiss it altogether ignoring its appreciable merits. A one-time watch for sure, the film also made me realize one astonishingly contradictory fact about our Hindi film industry, where at one end we keep complaining about the STARS not trying to do different films and roles breaking the set secured pattern. But on the other when they bravely try to do the same, we are too eager to pull them down due to our own reasons. 

(The article also got featured in UC-News mobile app in June 2017) 

Shared below are views - Beyond the initial review with some more interesting insights.


As mentioned in the detailed write-up, the biggest mistake Kabir Khan makes in TUBELIGHT is to follow the original English film as it is without making any significant changes for the Hindi film viewers. Moreover it seems he chose to remake LITTLE BOY as he was in search of a similar plot close to BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN having all identical emotional elements playing it safe. And the English film had them all such as a simpleton kind of key character, family emotions, a kid remaining with the hero for most of the time, tension at the border and talks about a neighbouring country generating patriotic feelings amongst the audience as desired.
However he was wrong in taking the viewers as granted remaining overconfident about a subject missing the entertainment quotient that happens to be the real decisive factor in a Salman Khan film. 
So though TUBELIGHT has all good performances from the entire cast ensemble including Salman Khan trying to come out of his famous casual comfort zone, the film actually suffers due to its writing and direction for which Kabir Khan will have to take the responsibility more than anyone else.
There were reports of some tension between Kabir and Salman Khan during the making, that might have been there due to the difference of opinion about various elements in the film lacking the entertainment factor. Plus a not so pleasant state of affairs for Sohail Khan too, as despite giving an earnest heartfelt performance, this still might add into the long list of 'less-successful' films done with brother Salman Khan (also considered as a jinx).
Rating : 2.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 for rightly addressing the issue of prejudice often seen for the citizens of North East India.) 

Note: In addition, its really amazing that these BIG STARS do show their concern over the deliberately increased ticket prices at the time of all major releases, but very cleverly choose to remain silent when it comes to their own big film release in a festival weekend.
As usual, once again the prices were increased by the multiplexes specifically for TUBELIGHT’s shows and though the public doesn’t complain accepting it as their open exploitation, BTC will continue its revolt by deducting one star from the film’s ratings for this shameful practice.

Final Rating : 1.5 / 5

Tags : Tubelight Review By Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Inspired Films, Official Hindi Remakes of American English Films, Hindi films on 1962 Indo-China War, Hindi War Movies
24 Jun 2017 / Comments ( 4 )
Thanks sir for your wonderful views as usual. As you know I watched it first day first show ( literally- coz I don\'t hv money enough to buy tickets in any of the other show - shameless ticket price) and that too in a multiplex ( first time for a Bhai movie).. To be honest I was happy with this simple movie and really appreciated salman for coming out of his comfort zone and doing something honest and different. I really don\'t know what to say about the critics..first I got depressed but then I thought - May God bless them..
Bobby Sing
Thanks Avik for your appreciation and yes you are right. Its not at all any bad movie as expressed in some reviews. Cheers!
I didn\'t like crying Salman khan... He was crying most of the time in the movie.... yes agree simple movie and good movie.
Bobby Sing
Yes it certainly is a simple and one time watch movie. Thanks for writing in Purnima. Cheers!
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