I recently walked into the movie theater blind and watched “Ek Tha Tiger,” which turned out to be an unevenly paced Bollywood spy rom-com. It alternately picked fun at its own spy genre, took its sappy love-story too seriously, and surprised me by igniting a final great action sequence (no CGI required!). But while the movie was a bumpy ride with its highs and lows, just watching a movie intended for an Indian populace was novel to me:
RAW and ISI replaced the equivalent of CIA and KGB. The typical exotic locales of New Delhi, Singapore, and Seoul were exchanged for Cuba and Scotland. That’s right, Scotland. Our Romeo and Juliet-esque characters weren’t separated by the name of their houses, but by the names of their countries: India and Pakistan.
They say falling in love is accompanied by the sound of music. In “Ek Tha Tiger” it really is, along with some great dancing! That’s what the movie feels like; what would be a normal, forgettable summer blockbuster in America is transmuted with a few deft, cultural twists.