The trailer of Tubelight shows Salman Khanas a simpleton (yet again after Bajrangi Bhaijaan) and a happy-go-lucky guy, who is close to his brother Bharat (Sohail Khan).Laxman (Salman) is called Tubelight by the loving kids in his neighborhood. However, his world falls apart when Sohail, as part of the Army, has to go away, and he doesn’t return and Laxman vows to find his brother at any cost. The film shows his journey of finding his brother and the good, bad, and ugly phases that he has to go through.
The first few moments of Tubelight shows that the atmosphere of the film is that of happiness.
The film begins with lovely music, and a view of Laxman’s life. His innocence and his childhood are seen. We are told why he is called Tubelight. Let me tell you at the onset that this introduction is nothing like we’ve seen in Salman’s earlier films. The whole vibe is different
The limelight is immediately thrown into the camaraderie shared between Laxman and Bharat (Sohail Khan). This is possibly a basis being established for the departure we are going to see soon (Bharat will join the army).
Their relationship has been strong from the beginning, and we are shown how Laxman has been a source of strength for Bharat. They lost their parents at a young age and were for each other every time. They are raised by an uncle (Om Puri) but both have helped each other grow, and had overcome bullying as kids — this is all portrayed through a song montage, Naach Meri Jaan.
They’re both extremely co-dependent, and their life full of fun and games can be seen, until the Army comes around for a recruitment drive.
This is when the tone changes, but the brothers’ love doesn’t dampen. When Bharat gets chosen for the army, the gravity of the situation hits them. Bharat keeps up a farce of being happy and even does their favorite dance step to cheer him up. Though, his sadness can be seen in his eyes.
It is important to note that for someone who is as bulky and toned up like Salman, it takes some time for us to get used to him playing a role of someone who is considered slow, childlike and emotional.
The first few scenes show only Laxman’s life and Sohail’s screen time is restricted. We now see a lot of Laxman grieving about his brother leaving, while we are also shown Bharat at war, where his regiment catches fire.
It is all about Laxman and it can easily be concluded that this is a kind of character that Salman has never played before. His role is not limited to being macho or heroic but he plays a more vulnerable role and it is refreshing.
Laxman had a mental block against Matin Rey Tangu’s character as his brother has gone for the war against China.Tubelight is set against the 1962 Indo-China war. He almost creates havoc because of his prejudice, but his uncle (Om Puri) stops him from making a further fool of himself. Later he finds out Matin’s character is not Chinese.
This is actually a very interesting scene, because Salman’s prejudice is similar to what most Indians have towards our Northeastern friends. The scene with Om Puri and Salman gives an insight into how we as an audience should be open minded and the prejudice towards the northeastern should be finished. We can see how adorable Matin is and he steals the show every time he is on screen.
It is evident through the film that till its interval, Salman has been the center of attraction and he wore the same clothes more or less through the film. Om Puri’s character of a wise old man has been given perfection and attention is paid to every single detail.
A note about the visual effects: it’s unlike what we’ve seen in Bollywood so far. The way the shots have been framed and conceptualized is interesting to see.
The change is Laxman’s view can be seen in the second half of the film and he made to believe, “fear is our enemy, and to face our enemy is the biggest challenge.” While Sohail’s fate is still tied to the war, the next few scenes show Salman’s character to be more proactive in getting to his brother.
Laxman helms a heart-warming speech about futility and talks about his wish to end the violence.
Through this backdrop, we get to know more about Matin and Chinese actress Zhu Zhu’s characters. They both have lost someone in the same war, and hence establish a bond with Laxman. Zhu Zhu is refreshing to see on screen. She keeps wishing for the war to end so her father can return (if he’s alive).
What is constant throughout the film is Laxman’s faith that everything will be alright, and his brother will return. And guess who makes that happen? Shah Rukh Khan. This famous scene is underwhelming but SRK’s act brings a much needed boost of confidence in Laxman.
If you’re wondering how it ties up in the end, there’s a major twist that brings everything together. It takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride. You expect such an emotional film to have a bittersweet ending, one that hammers home the point. But Tubelight does succumb to a clichéd ending, pandering to the good old feel good factor.
Tubelight does have a great message: hope pulls us in any situation we may find ourselves in. The movie is worthwhile watch.