“It’s an old story that is alive. It’s a story that keeps repeating itself,” says a character in the Emraan Hashmi starrer Tigers. And that line pretty much sums up the feeling that the movie evokes.
Tigers’ primary plot deals with Ayan (Emraan Hashmi), a small-time Pakistani salesman, whose future takes a turn for the worse when he gets recruited by a big multi-national to sell baby formula. A baby formula that only the rich can afford, but the poor have to add impure water to the mix to feed it to their children.
On his maiden day, the recruiter informs Ayan and other potential candidates that he wants them to be ‘tigers’ in their fields, trapping top doctors and medical professionals in their lair. Ayan soon becomes popular in the medical community and charms his way into their hearts. However, when he learns that the formula he so proudly and passionately sells to gullible doctors is actually a baby-killing device, Ayan revolts. We next see Ayan fighting the good fight and giving a lesson about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to those that surround him, as well as the audience.
Emraan is convincing as the man grappling with a moral dilemma. In a very understated fashion, the actor lets the viewers glimpse the angst and fear of Ayan. Filmmaker Danis Tanovic has done a credible job in relating a story to the viewers which they most likely know about, but don’t realise the gravity of. The supporting cast including Khalid Abdalla, Geetanjali Thapa and Supriya Pathak are convincing in their portrayals.
For the uninitiated, Tigers is based on a true story of Pakistani salesman Syed Aamir Raza Hussain, the whistle-blower behind the Nestle scandal in the late 90s. Aamir had later released a report which alleged that the MNC was trying to state its baby milk product’s importance over breastfeeding. However, Nestle has denied the claims.
Tigers is a well-made film with its heart in the right place. It tells an old story, but it does so with some restraint, which of course is certainly needed to an extent when you venture to make movies based on real incidents. It could have done with a little bit of editing, but that little extra bit thankfully doesn’t take too much away from the experience.
Tigers premiered at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. It is currently streaming on ZEE5.
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