TUBELIGHT STORY : Laxman Singh Bisht (Salman) is nicknamed tube light by his neighbours because he is feeble-minded. Despite being special, Laxman lives by one life-lesson; keep your faith alive and you can do almost anything, even stop a war.
TUBELIGHT REVIEW : At the outset, one must warn people that Tubelight is a departure from your regular Salman Khan mass entertainers. Here Bollywood’s darling-star plays a child-man who doesn’t take off his shirt or flex his biceps. So the audience going in for this one, must first invest belief (or should that be disbelief?) in this age of innocence offering from Kabir Khan, whose past outings Ek Tha Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan were more commercially-wired.
Tubelight inspired by the Hollywood film Little Boy directed by Alejandro Monteverde, is told with a fable-like simplicity. Set in Jagatpur, a pretty North-Indian town, during the Indo-China war, the locals are mostly hangers on, who have little to do except laugh at Laxman’s antics or berate him. Banne Chacha(Om Puri) mentors him, imparting Gandhian gyaan at every given opportunity. Narayan (Mohd Zeeshan) is the local bully who slaps the hero around without provocation, making the slaps sting less and irritate more. Things brighten up a bit when the drop-dead gorgeous Liling(Zhu Zhu) and perky Guo(Matin), who are Chinese immigrants move to Jagatpur. But even this track seems conveniently-placed just to evoke the Hindi-Chini bhai bhai sentiments.
The war sequences are poorly mounted and evoke no emotion because the filmmaker hasn’t invested in it either through evocative writing or mind-numbing montages.
The film that propagates the values of family, faith and patriotism doesn’t manage to take a complete leap of faith because somewhere someone couldn’t pull this one off convincingly. In fact, everything is so cloyingly sweet that you start feeling you’ve strolled into a sermon rather than a Salman movie. Pritam’s Naach Meri Jaan and Sajan Radio are magical, as is Shah Rukh Khan’s cameo as magician, Go-Go Pasha. Aseem Mishra’s camera work is largely-breathtaking.
When it comes to performances–Salman laughs and cries unselfconsciously, unraveling the lesser-seen side of his macho image. He cannot move mountains with his performance but he manages to keep the faith alive. Sohail is sincere. Zhu Zhu shows spunk and young Matin entertains. And, Om Puri reminds you of the mettle unsung heroes are made of.