Ek Tha Tiger

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Ek Tha Tiger
Ek Tha Tiger theatrical poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKabir Khan
Written by
Story byAditya Chopra
Produced byAditya Chopra
CinematographyAseem Mishra
Edited byRameshwar S. Bhagat
Music bySongs:
Sohail Sen
Guest Composers:
Background Score:
Julius Packiam
Distributed byYash Raj Films
Release date
  • August 15, 2012 (2012-08-15) (India)
Running time
133 minutes[1]
Budget75 crore (US$10 million)[2]
Box office325 crore (US$43 million)[3]

Ek Tha Tiger (transl. Once there was a tiger) is a 2012 Indian Hindi-language action thriller film directed and co-written by Kabir Khan, and produced by Aditya Chopra. It is the first installment in the Tiger franchise. The film contains an ensemble cast, which stars Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif & Ranvir Shorey. It also features Girish Karnad, Roshan Seth, and Gavie Chahal.[4] The film follows Tiger (Salman Khan), an Indian spy tasked with recovering information before it is gained by Pakistan, but is sidetracked after falling in love with Zoya (Kaif), a girl with a dark secret.

Ek Tha Tiger is the third collaboration between Kabir Khan and Yash Raj Films, after he directed Kabul Express (2006) and New York (2009). The film's production was extensive; the script underwent several re-writes, and production was delayed for a number of years prior to commencing in 2011.[5] Ek Tha Tiger was filmed primarily in India, as well as in Turkey, Ireland, Cuba, and Thailand, and was initially scheduled for release in June 2012. Its music was primarily composed by Sohail Sen, and the film was released on August 15, 2012.[6]

The film received generally mixed reviews, with praise for its action, music, and performances of its leads, while there was some criticism for its inconsistent tone. It set numerous box-office records during its theatrical run,[7] grossing 320 crore (US$42 million) worldwide. It is the highest-grossing Indian film of 2012, and the 25th highest-grossing Indian film of all time, unadjusted for inflation. It also set the record for the highest-grossing domestic opening weekend with 57.9 crore (US$7.7 million), a record it held for three years.[8] The film won for Best Special Effects at the 14th IIFA Awards and received six People's Choice Award nominations, and won five, including for Best Film, Best Actor and Best Actress for Khan and Kaif.

It is the first installment in the YRF Spy Universe. And a sequel, Tiger Zinda Hai, was released on 22 December 2017.[9]


Tiger (Salman Khan)  – India's top spy and an officer for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) – is forced to kill one of his men in Iraq for defecting to Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Tiger later poses as a writer in Dublin to observe a professor of Indian origin, Anwar Kidwai (Roshan Seth), who teaches at Trinity College and is suspected of sharing his nuclear weapons research with Pakistan. Tiger's partner, Gopi (Ranvir Shorey), accompanies him on this mission.

Tiger befriends Kidwai's caretaker, Zoya (Katrina Kaif), to gain access to his house, but the pair grow close. Tiger is later attacked, and fears his identity is compromised, which leads to Tiger publicly preventing a Luas train crash. Meanwhile, Tiger and Zoya come to know about their feelings for one another, but he discovers Zoya is an ISI agent tasked on the same mission as him. She refuses to commit treason, and Tiger eventually lets her go.

Tiger and Zoya meet at a United Nations meeting in Istanbul, and they decide to elope to Havana. Their respective agencies track them down after they foil an attempted robbery, and Zoya is arrested by the Cuban police. Tiger meets Gopi, stating Zoya will cooperate with RAW in exchange for her escape. Tiger and Gopi lead a team to intercept Zoya's prisoner transport convoy, but Tiger and Zoya flee Cuba together.

Sometime later, Tiger calls his boss, Shenoy (Girish Karnad), and informs him the pair will only return when Pakistan and India no longer need ISI and RAW. In the epilogue, several sightings of Tiger and Zoya are reported in Venice, Cape Town, Zurich, and London.


Ek tha Tiger marks the fourth feature film to star Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif.[10]
  • Salman Khan as Avinash Singh "Tiger" Rathore
    A RAW agent who goes undercover under the alias Manish Chandra.
  • Katrina Kaif as Zoya "Zee" Humaimi
    An ISI agent who goes undercover to counteract the efforts of Tiger.
  • Ranvir Shorey as Gopi Arya
    A RAW agent and Tiger's handler.
  • Gavie Chahal as Abrar
    A section captain of the ISI.
  • Girish Karnad as Shenoy
    The chief of RAW, who poses a deep dislike of Pakistan.
  • Roshan Seth as Anwar Kidwai
    An Indian scientist whose missile research is sought by RAW and the ISI.



Initially, Kabir Khan was announced to be the director,[11] and after finalising the story, approached Shah Rukh Khan with a draft of the script. Although interested, Khan could not star in the film due to scheduling conflicts.[12] This allowed the film's script, which had been completed in November 2010,[13] to undergo changes until February 2012.[14] In May 2011, a number of reports confirmed Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif would star in a film titled Ek Tha Tiger.[11] It would be Khan's first venture with Yash Raj Films, and the pair's fourth together, after Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya? (2005), Partner (2007), and Yuvvraaj (2008).[11] In order to begin filming, Khan postponed the development of Sher Khan, a project he begun with his brother, Sohail Khan.[15] He was paid a reported 32 crore (US$4.2 million) to star in the film.[16] Kaif, who only appeared in one action film prior to Ek Tha Tiger (2008's Race), performed her own stunts.[17]

The rest of the cast was finalized over the following year; Ranvir Shorey signed on in April 2012,[18] while the film marks the Bollywood debut of Gavie Chahal, who previously appeared in Punjabi films.[19] On May 3, 2012, a photograph shoot was held with the cast.[13] After release, the film was subject to a copyright dispute after writer Anand Panda lodged a police complaint, backed by the Screenwriters Association, claiming the filmmakers stole his script. Director Kabir Khan and producer Aditya Chopra were sent first information reports under charges of cheating, criminal breach of trust, and violation of the Copyright Act. Khan and Chopra subsequently filed an appeal to the Bombay High Court.[20]


The film's production contained a number of delays. Initial reports said principal photography would begin in July 2011, but a spokesperson for Yash Raj Films announced production had been delayed due to budgeting concerns. Filming began in August 2011 in Dublin,[21] but was postponed after Salman Khan underwent surgery for trigeminal neuralgia in the United States, and when some crew members in Ireland held a demonstration over filming conditions and a lack of payment.[22]

Filming resumed in September 2011 in Turkey, in Istanbul and near the border with Syria and Iraq.[23][24] There, the crew faced security concerns when they were mistaken for a hostile threat by Turkish Land Forces, and were required to lie down for ten minutes at gunpoint while the issue was being resolved.[25] Production was halted altogether in early 2012 to account for script re-writes,[26] abandoning production in Hong Kong in favor of an eventual crunch-schedule three-day period in Delhi.[27] Filming ended in June 2012 in Bangkok, Thailand.[28]

Stunt directors for The Bourne Identity (2002) coordinated the film's action sequences,[29] some of which were shot on location.[30] Khan used a self-created fitness program titled 'Dirty Running' for 30 days to prepare for the role.[31] Kaif completed her scenes without makeup.[32] Filming also took place in Havana,[33] being the first Bollyood film to shoot in Cuba. Khan also appeared in a commercial for a Cuban tourism company.[34]


Ek Tha Tiger
Soundtrack album by
Released1 August 2012 (2012-08-01)
StudioYRF Studios
LabelYRF Music
Sohail Sen chronology
From Sydney with Love
Ek Tha Tiger
Singles from Ek Tha Tiger
  1. "Mashallah"
    Released: 27 June 2012

The film's soundtrack was composed and produced by Sohail Sen, although the film's theme song "Mashallah" was produced by Sajid–Wajid. Reportedly, composer A. R. Rahman was approached to do the music of the film, which he agreed to and later backed out citing time constraints.[35] Recording for the soundtrack began in 2011. After Rahman quit the project, the soundtrack was due to be composed by Pritam, who was credited for the music on the film's first digital poster.[36] However, he dropped out following scheduling conflicts with Dhoom 3 (2013).[37] As a result Julius Packiam composed the score and Sohail Sen composed all songs except one. Packiam and Kabir Khan are frequent collaborators, having worked together on Kabul Express (2006) and New York (2009).

Neelesh Misra, Anvita Dutt and Kausar Munir wrote the lyrics, and its remixes were produced by Joshilay.[38] In late 2011, the song "Jaaniyan", recorded by Pakistani singer Bilawal Baloch, was leaked, and was reported to be included on the soundtrack. Yash Raj Films denied the song was to be on the soundtrack, and announced increased security measures to prevent leaks.[39] The soundtrack was released by YRF Music on 1 August 2012.[40]

Track listing[edit]

1."Mashallah" (Wajid and Shreya Ghoshal)Kausar MunirSajid–Wajid4:45
2."Lapaata" (K. K. and Palak Muchhal)Anvita Dutt Guptan 4:16
3."Banjaara" (Sukhwinder Singh)Neelesh Misra 4:35
4."Saiyaara" (Mohit Chauhan and Tarannum Mallik)Kausar Munir 4:13
5."Tiger's Theme" Julius Packiam3:17
6."Mashallah (Remix)" (Wajid and Shreya Ghoshal)Kausar MunirJoshilay3:24
7."Lapaata (Remix)" (K. K. and Palak Muchhal)Anvita Dutt GuptanJoshilay3:30
8."Banjaara (Remix)" (Sukhwinder Singh)Neelesh MisraJoshilay3:27
Total length:31:27

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Satyajit (Glamsham)[41]4/5 stars
Indo-Asian News Service (CNN-IBN)[42]4/5 stars
Purva Desai (The Times of India)[43]4/5 stars
Devesh Sharma (Filmfare)[44]4/5 stars
Joginder Tuteja (Bollywood Hungama)[45]3.5/5 stars

The soundtrack received unanimously positive reviews. Glamsham gave the album a 4 out of 5, saying, "Ek Tha Tiger roars with multi-cultured international musical feel, a musician delight that primarily targets classy listeners. It [catches] every aura, genre and format".[41] Indo-Asian News Service posting on CNN-IBN also rated the album a 4 out of 5, noting it "offers the listener the romantic and action of the [film], with an entertaining array of sounds".[42]

Purva Desai of The Times of India and Devesh Sharma of Filmfare also gave the soundtrack a 4 out of 5, noting it as an improvement over the soundtracks of Salman Khan and Kabir Khan's previous films.[43] They also praised the composers for their contemporary focus.[44] Joginder Tuteja of Bollywood Hungama gave the album 3.5/5 and wrote "[it] is good, though one expected it to have gone all the way. [Nothing] puts you off, but the overall sound of the album remains more or less consistent".[45]


Khan and Kaif promoting the film's lead single, "Mashallah".

The film's poster was released in August 2011,[46] and the first theatrical trailer was released in May 2012, debuting alongside the release of Ishaqzaade, another film produced by Yash Raj Films and Aditya Chopra.[47][48] The trailer received over a million views on video sharing platform YouTube within 2 days of its release, making it the platform's most-viewed trailer for a Bollywood film at the time.[49]

The cast embarked on a limited domestic promotional tour, conducting press conferences in New Delhi, Ahmedabad,[50] and Lucknow.[51] They also signed a promotional deal with soft drink company Thums Up, where Khan and Kaif appeared in commercials. The company also sponsored an expanded tour in mid-2012, with the cast also visiting Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Allahabad, Agra, Meerut, and Ghaziabad.[52]

A two-part comic book series based on the film was also released. Published by Yomics, the series also features characters from Hum Tum (2004), which was also produced by Chopra and Yash Raj Films. Canonically, this sets the two films in a shared universe. The first book, Ek Tha Tiger: Mahasagar Ki Suraksha (transl.Ek Tha Tiger: Saving the High Seas), was published in July 2012.[53] The second, Ek Tha Tiger: Web Mein Pakra Gaya! (transl.Ek Tha Tiger: Caught in the Web!), was released in November, to coincide with the film's release on home video.[54] The series received mixed reviews, with praise for its design and criticism for its plot and pacing.[54]

The film's lead single and main theme song, "Mashallah", recorded by Wajid Ali and Shreya Ghoshal, was released worldwide on 27 June 2012. The song's music was composed and produced by Ali and his brother Sajid, and its lyrics were written by Kausar Munir. The filmi power ballad topped the music charts in India throughout August and remained in the top 10 for a majority of the film's theatrical run.[40]



Ek Tha Tiger was released worldwide on 15 August 2012; the date coincided with Indian Independence Day. The film was screened in 3300 domestic theaters, a record until broken by Dabangg 2, which was screened in 3700 theaters later that year.[55] Ek Tha Tiger was released in 550 screens internationally,[56] although, it was not released in Pakistan – a major market for Bollywood – due to concerns Pakistan is portrayed negatively within the film.[57] This decision was upheld despite opposition from Kabir Khan, who stated the film does not promote anti-Pakistani sentiment.[58] The film premiered in Tokyo in July 2013, and was screened in 70 theaters in Japan, constituting the widest Japanese release for a Hindi-language Bollywood film.[59][60] Approximately 60 percent of the film's opening weekend's gross had been collected from ticket pre-orders,[61] with some theaters subsequently increasing ticket prices.[62]

Home media[edit]

Ek Tha Tiger was released on DVD by YRF Home Entertainment on 25 September 2012, and on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, and Ultra HD Blu-ray on 9 October 2012.[63] The digital and Blu-ray releases include behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, and a blooper reel.[64][65] The Blu-ray releases saw the home media introduction of Dolby TrueHD 96k upsampling and Dolby Surround 7.1 sound.[66]

The physical releases in its first week of the sale were one of the top home media releases in India, according to The Numbers data. The Blu-ray version accounted for 79% of the sales, with 3% of total sales coming from the Ultra HD Blu-ray version.[67]


Box office[edit]

Due to its unprecedented extensive release, combined with many theaters reporting the film's screenings carried over 80% occupancy during its run,[68] Ek Tha Tiger grossed over 263 crore (US$35 million) in India, and 57 crore (US$7.6 million) in other territories, for a worldwide total of 320 crore (US$42 million).[69] The film had the biggest domestic opening day and opening weekend ever, grossing 33.5 crore (US$4.4 million) and 57.9 crore (US$7.7 million), respectively.[70][71] By its fifth day of release, Ek Tha Tiger had earned over 100 crore (US$13 million) in India, the quickest film to reach this landmark, and broke the previous record of a week held by Bodyguard (2011), which also starred Salman Khan.[70] It is also the highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2012,[72] and became the second highest grossing Bollywood film of all time, after 3 Idiots (2009).[73]

Internationally, Ek Tha Tiger also performed strongly, despite being banned in Pakistan.[74] It grossed 36.3 crore (US$4.8 million) in overseas markets in its five days of release.[75] Regionally, the film collected 6 crore (US$800,000) in Australasia,[76] with an estimated 4.3 crore (US$570,000) grossed in Australia,[71] and 1.7 crore (US$230,000) in New Zealand.[77] Additionally, in the United Arab Emirates, a region with a large Pakistani and Indian emigrant population, the film grossed 16.5 crore (US$2.2 million),[78] a gross only exceeded by the North America, where Ek Tha Tiger grossed over 16.8 crore (US$2.2 million).[79] Another strong performing territory was the United Kingdom, where the film collected over 13 crore (US$1.7 million).[80][81] Its combined overseas gross amounted to 57 crore (US$7.6 million),[82] making it one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films by international gross.[83][84]

Critical response[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 71% approval rating with an average score of 5.9/10, based on 14 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Salman Khan dazzles in a rollicking but sometimes ropey romantic action thriller".[85] It polled higher with audiences, indicating a generally favorable filmgoer response.

In India, there was praise for the film's feminist themes, with Marjolaine Gout noting the film is "a roaring, visual, comic feast where the damsel in distress fights back", giving Ek Tha Tiger 3.5 out of 5 stars.[86] Anupama Chopra of the Hindustan Times also commended the feminist themes, saying "it's such a pleasure to see a Hindi film heroine not [be] a damsel in distress", while also praising the film's action sequences, giving Ek Tha Tiger 3 out of 5 stars.[87] Jahanavi Samant of Mid-Day gave the film the same rating and criticized its tone as being inconsistent, with "Ek Tha Tiger [being] unable to decide whether it is spy action or a love saga".[88] Ronnie Scheib of Variety gave a positive review, praising the performances of the leads and film's production aesthetic, noting "Kaif impresses in her action-heroine debut, while Salman Khan's thinking-on-his-feet immediacy adds depth to his usual macho muscle. Local audiences will no doubt derive a special thrill from the onscreen reunion of stars Khan and Kaif, [with] Aseem Mishra's gorgeous location lensing".[89]

Ek Tha Tiger faced harsher reception from Raja Sen of Rediff, who criticized the film's relative low stakes and pacing, noting "[Kabir] Khan scales down the ambition as he aims for a safe mainstream middle-ground in his Ek Tha Tiger, a spy-thriller which takes a while to get boiling but eventually crackles along quite effectively".[90] He scored the film 2.5 stars out of 5, with his score and reception echoed by Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN, who wrote "despite flaws, Ek Tha Tiger is extremely far from unwatchable. Just don't go in with very high expectations".[91] Rachel Saltz of The New York Times praised the action scenes but also criticized the low stakes of the characters' romance, saying, "Tiger and Zoya [are] good kung fu street fighters, but unconvincing spies and cookie-cutter bland lovers. Their loyalty to each other is never in question and only tepidly tested".[92] A similar critical reaction was noted by Josh Tuhin of Gulf News who blasted the cinematography, saying "[it] is outright bad, with the body doubles' faces visible during the action scenes", but praised Kaif and Khan's on-screen chemistry.[93]


Ceremony Category Recipient Result
2012 People's Choice Awards India[94] Favourite Movie Ek Tha Tiger Won
Favourite Movie Actor Salman Khan
Favourite Movie Actress Katrina Kaif
Favourite Action Movie Actor Salman Khan
Favourite Song of the Year "Mashallah"
Favourite Action Movie Ek Tha Tiger Nominated
14th IIFA Awards Best Special Effects Won
Big Star Entertainment Awards Best Actress in an Action Role Katrina Kaif Won


Tiger Zinda Hai

Tiger Zinda Hai was released on 22 December 2017.[95] Kabir Khan was replaced by Ali Abbas Zafar as director, and the film's script was co-written by Zafar and Neelesh Misra.[96] Salman Khan, Kaif, Chahal, and Girish Karnad reprise their roles, with Tiger Zinda Hai being Karnad's final Bollywood film before his death.[97]

Tiger 3

A third film, Tiger Aayega, was announced in June 2018.[98]

See also[edit]


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