Digital streaming websites are turning out to be a boon for filmmakers who have been struggling to release their films for some time. Earlier this year, Kunal Kohli put out ‘Phir Se’, a film which he had co-directed and acted in, on Netflix. The film was supposed to hit the theatres in 2015 but the film found itself in the midst of a legal battle and it premiered almost three years later on the streaming website. There was a lot of excitement for ‘Tigers’ when it was announced in 2012. The film was being helmed by Oscar winner Danis Tanovic, Emraan Hashmi was going through a great phase in his career and Anurag Kashyap was backing it. The film was shot without any hiccups and was screened at a bunch of festivals across the globe but the makers struggled to ensure a smooth theatrical release for the film. The dwindling fate of Emraan’s films at the box-office and the fact that ‘Tigers’ was far from being the more commercial films the actor is associated with did not help the cause either.
Ayan (Emraan Hashmi) works as a salesman for a small pharmaceutical company in Pakistan. Though he could not complete his education, he is smart, well-spoken and is good at his job. After their marriage, his wife Zainab (Geetanjali Thapa) suggests him to apply for a job in Lasta Pharmaceuticals, a multi-national company which has a huge presence in Pakistan. Ayan gets the job and goes about performing his duties as a salesman for the company with utmost sincerity. He makes a lot of friends and acquaintances like Dr. Faiz (Satyadeep Mishra) in the process. Ayan is very happy with the way his life is progressing until one day, when Faiz tells him that the milk powder being manufactured by Lasta has caused the death of thousands of infants. Though the company is aware of it, it would not do anything about it as they are only concerned about minting money. Ayan quits his job and decides to expose the wrongdoings of the company to the world.
Despite a relatively short runtime (around ninety minutes), the film manages to give you enough information to dig your teeth into as a viewer. Though one feels the revelation about the company’s wrongdoings could have happened a little early, the atmospherics of the film get you invested in it right from the first shot to the last. The film has a coherent storyline and the director’s eye for detail is evident in the way he structures the scenes. What it lacks is a sense of urgency. Given the storyline, one would have expected the film to have the beats of a thriller but that does not really happen here. There are a few interesting turns in the story but nothing that would make you jump off your seat. The way in which certain sequences have been edited and the abrupt ending make you wonder whether there was a longer cut of the film that played at the festivals.
Emraan Hashmi puts forward a very sincere and heartfelt performance as Ayan. You believe in the righteousness of the character because of how effectively he portrays it. Geetanjali Thapa leaves a strong impact as Ayan’s docile yet assertive wife despite having limited screen time. Satyadeep Mishra is very good as Dr. Faiz. Adil Hussain is, as always, dependable. Supriya Pathak and the actor playing Ayan’s father lend effective support.
There was so much more that could have been brought out from the subject matter which Danis Tanovic and co-writer Andy Peterson had in their hands but one would not really contest the fact that the film does make for a compelling watch. It has been waiting for ages to find an audience for itself and it is high time that it finds it.