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Ek Tha Tiger (transl. 'There was a Tiger') is a 2012 Indian Hindi-language romantic action thriller film directed and co-written by Kabir Khan, and produced by Aditya Chopra. It is the first film in the Tiger franchise, and contains an ensemble cast, which stars Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif, and features Ranvir Shorey, Girish Karnad, Roshan Seth, and Gavie Chahal.[4]

Ek Tha Tiger
Ek Tha Tiger theatrical poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKabir Khan
Produced byAditya Chopra
Screenplay by
Story byAditya Chopra
Narrated byRanvir Shorey
Music by
CinematographyAseem Mishra
Edited byRameshwar S. Bhagat
Release date
  • 15 August 2012 (2012-08-15)
Running time
133 minutes[1]
Budget75 crore[2]
Box officeest. 320 crore[3]

The film follows Tiger (Khan), an Indian spy tasked with recovering information before it is gained by Pakistan, but is sidetracked after falling in love with a Pakistani agent during the mission.

Ek Tha Tiger marked the third collaboration between Khan and Yash Raj Films, after he previously directed the films Kabul Express and New York. 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 several in other locations in Turkey, Ireland, and Cuba, and was initially scheduled for release in June 2012, before being released worldwide on August 15, 2012.[6]

The film received generally mixed to positive reviews, particularly for its action, music, screenplay, performances, and direction, but criticized Kaif's Performance and set numerous box-office records during its theatrical run.[7] With over 320 crore in revenue worldwide, it became the highest-grossing Indian film of 2012, and is the 25th highest-grossing Indian film of all time, unadjusted for inflation. It also set the record for highest-grossing domestic opening with 33.5 crore, a record it held for three years.[8] The film received six People's Choice Award nominations, and won five.

A sequel titled Tiger Zinda Hai, was released on 22 December 2017.[9]


An agent codenamed "Tiger" (Salman Khan) – India's top spy and an officer of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) – is conducting a mission in northern Iraq. Tiger is forced to kill one of his own men who has defected to Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). He subsequently kills many ISI agents in his escape from Iraq, returns to India and reports to his boss, Shenoy (Girish Karnad), in New Delhi.

Tiger is later sent on a mission to Dublin to observe a scientist of Indian origin, Professor Anwar Kidwai (Roshan Seth), who teaches at Trinity College and is suspected of sharing his findings with the Pakistan defence establishment. Fellow RAW agent Gopi (Ranvir Shorey) accompanies Tiger on this mission.

Tiger meets Kidwai but fails to spend enough time for his observance and instead begins to spend time with the scientist's caretaker Zoya (Katrina Kaif), who is studying at a local dance academy. He tries to befriend Zoya to extract information, but begins to grow closer to her. Tiger is attacked and robbed at his residence, and immediately suspects he has been found by an ISI agent.

Despite several warnings from Gopi to not let any personal feelings get in the way of the mission, Tiger falls in love with Zoya. Tiger asks Zoya out on a date, and there they both came to know about their feelings for each other. However, during a visit to the dance academy, Tiger discovers that Zoya is an ISI agent, and was tasked on the same mission as Tiger. She refuses to commit treason, but instead of killing Zoya, Tiger lets her go.

Some time later, Tiger and Zoya meet again at a UN Foreign Minister's Meeting in Istanbul. They subsequently decide to go on the run together, escaping to Havana, but having told their agencies that they would travel to Kazakhstan, to arrest one another. Some time later, their agencies trace Zoya and Tiger after they foil an attempted robbery, and the ISI agents apprehend Zoya. Tiger then meets Gopi, and tells him he has convinced Zoya to return to India and cooperate with RAW, but requires Gopi to help save Zoya from the ISI agents. The pair then trick Gopi, and escape aboard a secret plane.

Some time later, Tiger calls Shenoy, and says they will only return when Pakistan and India no longer need ISI and RAW. In the epilogue, several sightings of Tiger and Zoya in cities including Venice, Cape Town, Zurich and London are reported, but neither agency have been able to catch them.


  • Salman Khan as Avinash Singh "Tiger" Rathore, a RAW agent who goes undercover to spy on Kidwai, under the alias Manish Chandra.
  • Katrina Kaif as Zoya "Zee" Humaimi, an ISI agent posing as Kidawi's housemaid.
  • Ranvir Shorey as Gopi Arya, a RAW agent and Tiger's handler.
  • Girish Karnad as Dr. Shenoy, the chief of RAW, who poses a deep dislike of ISI and Pakistan.
  • Roshan Seth as Anwar Kidwai, an Indian technology professor who teaches in Ireland, whose computer program is coveted by both ISI and RAW.
  • Gavie Chahal as Captain Abrar, an ISI agent and Zoya's handler.



Initially, Kabir Khan was announced to be the director,[10] but after finalising the story, Kabir approached Shah Rukh Khan with the script. Although initially liking the script, Khan didn't agree to the movie due to date issues.[11] The film's script had been completed by November 2010,[12] and underwent changes in February 2012.[13] In May 2011, reports said that Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif would work together on a film titled Ek Tha Tiger.[10] It was Khan's first venture with Yash Raj Films and his fourth opposite Kaif.[10] Before starting the film, Khan postponed a project titled Sher Khan by his brother Sohail Khan.[14] His fee for the venture was 32 crore.[15] The film was also one of Katrina's first in the action genre.[16] Ranvir Shorey was signed for a supporting role.[17] On 3 May, a photograph shoot was held with the lead actors.[12] Later, Punjabi actor Gavie Chahal signed to play a character named Abrar in Ek Tha Tiger; his Bollywood debut.[18]


Initial reports said that principal photography would start by 5 July 2011, but Yash Raj Films' spokesperson Rafiq Gangjee said that the film had been delayed because of production requirements. The first scheduled shooting began on 10 August in Dublin.[19] After a postponement when Khan went to the US for surgery for Trigeminal neuralgia, shooting resumed on 10 September 2011.[20] Filming took place at Dublin's Trinity College. Stunt directors of The Bourne Identity were hired for the action sequences.[21] Some action sequences were also shot in the city.[22] During filming in Dublin, the Irish film crew held a demonstration about filming conditions and payment, which halted the shooting temporarily .[23] The second round on filming took place in Istanbul and lasted two months.[24] In February 2012, the film's cast and crew went to Havana to shoot for a month.[25] There, Khan shot a cameo scene for a local tourism company. The sets used in the film were featured in the advertisement.[26] Problems with the script caused the postponement of the film's planned shoot in Hong Kong.[27] Afterwards, a three-day filming schedule was completed in Delhi.[28] Filming ended in June 2012 after the last schedule was shot in Bangkok.[29] Khan had to undergo a fitness program titled 'Dirty Running' over 30 days for his action sequences.[30] Kaif played her role without makeup.[31]


Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif at the launch of Ek Tha Tiger's first song "Mashallah"

The first-look poster was released in August 2011,[32] and the first teaser was released on 10 May 2012 along with the film Ishaqzaade.[33][34] The theatrical trailer received more than 1 million views within 2 days of its release, making it the most-viewed trailer for a Bollywood film.[35] Promotional tours visited New Delhi, Ahmedabad,[36] and Lucknow.[37] The makers secured a marketing deal with soft drink company Thumbs up and engaged in a consumer promotion in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Kanpur, Allahabad, Agra, Meerut and Ghaziabad.[38]

As part of the promotion, a series of comic books based on the film, and also using characters from the film Hum Tum, were launched in July 2012 and continued until the Diwali festival.[39] The first book was titled 'Ek Tha Tiger – Mahasagar Ki Suraksha'. Post release, the comics failed to generate a positive word-of-mouth. Joginder Tuteja of Bollywood Hungama commended the comics' design but said that the main story failed to meet his expectations of a deeper plot, exciting narrative and a tighter script.[40]


Ek Tha Tiger was released worldwide on 15 August 2012 – Indian Independence day. It was screened in 3300 screens nationally, which at that time was the most ever for a Bollywood film until Dabangg 2 was released in 3700 screens.[41] Ek Tha Tiger was released in 550 screens overseas.[42] Around 60 percent of the first weekend's sales had been booked in advance before the release.[43] Some multiplexes increased their ticket prices for the film.[44] Ek Tha Tiger was not released in Pakistan – a major market for Bollywood films – because the Pakistani censors decided that it shows the country in negative light.[45] Director Kabir Khan had earlier said that it was not an anti-Pakistan film.[46] After its worldwide success, the film was released in Japan on 7 March 2013 by Japan's Nikkatsu Corporation, with a grand premiere in Tokyo. 30 prints were released in Japan, which will increase to 70, making it the widest Japanese release for a Hindi film.[47][48]

Critical receptionEdit


Ek Tha Tiger received mixed reviews from Indian critics. Rajeev Masand of CNN-IBN gave the film 2.5 stars out of 5, and wrote, "despite its obvious flaws, 'Ek Tha Tiger' is extremely far from unwatchable. At best, it's a good, satisfying watch. Just don't go in with very high expectations."[49] Jahanavi Samant of Mid Day gave the film 3 stars out of 5 and said, "Ek Tha Tiger is unable to decide whether it is a spy action film or a love saga."[50]


Outside India, the film received a positive to mixed reception. Ronnie Scheib of Variety wrote, "Kaif displays some impressive moves 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, once an offscreen item. Slickly produced 'Tiger' profits greatly from Aseem Mishra's gorgeous location lensing."[51] Tuhin of Gulf News said, "The camerawork is outright bad, with the body doubles' faces very visible during the action scenes. Kaif, who has tried her hand at the stunts, is, however, fairly convincing. Though the pace could have been faster, it is a delight to watch Khan and Kaif together, resulting in a great Eid offering for Salman Khan's fans".[52] The New York Times gave a mixed review, praising the action scenes but criticising the characters' romance, saying, "Tiger and Zoya both make good kung fu street fighters, but as spies they're unconvincing, and as lovers they're cookie-cutter bland. Their loyalty to each other is never really in question and only tepidly tested, so the theme of my enemy, myself, remains unexplored."[53] According to French journalist Marjolaine Gout, the movie is "a roaring fairy tale where the damsel in distress fights back with fists and thighs" and called it a "visual and comic feast". She gave it 3.5 stars out of 5.[54]

Box officeEdit

It became the highest grossing Bollywood film of 2012 and the third highest of all time at the time of its release.[55]


Ek Tha Tiger opened with 80-85% occupancy at multiplexes and single-screen cinemas and it broke records with capacity audiences, the widest release ever. It collected around 335 million (US$4.8 million), on its first day of release; a 40% increase on the previous record, which was 21 crore nett approx set by Agneepath (2011).[56][57][58] On its second day in the single screens across India it collected around 14.5 crore.[59] and on its third day it collected around 12.1 crore, taking its total collections in its first three days to 57.9 crore, a new record for the weekend.[60] The film's collections grew on Saturday and Sunday, and it collected 941 million (US$14 million) in its extended five-day weekend.[61] Ek Tha Tiger collected 143 crore in its extended first week of nine days, and 29.5 crore nett in its second week to make a 16-day total of 179 crore.[62][63] During its third week, the film collected 95.0 million (US$1.4 million), 3 crore in its fourth week and 09.5 million (US$140,000) in fifth to make a total of 199 crore in eight weeks.[64] Its final distributor share of 106 crore is the highest ever in Bollywood as of 29 November 2012.[65][66]


Ek Tha Tiger had strong collections in overseas markets despite not being released in Pakistan. The movie collected around 36.3 crore in five days.[67] It has collected around US$10.50 million near the end of its run overseas.[68][69][70] Ek Tha Tiger is one of the highest-grossing Bollywood films in overseas markets.


After its release, Ek Tha Tiger broke several records. After its box office opening it collected 32 crore in the first day and became the highest opening collection in the history of Indian cinema and the biggest single-day collection ever.[58] The film also broke the record for opening weekend net gross (first 3 days of release), opening week net gross (first 5 days of release) and entered the '100 Crore Club; the fastest in 5 days of release, breaking Salman Khan's own record set by Bodyguard in 7 Days.[71] After collecting 33.5 crore worldwide, the film became the third highest-grossing Bollywood film of all time and the second Bollywood film to gross over 300 crore worldwide, exceeded only by 3 Idiots and Dhoom 3.[3]


Ek Tha Tiger
Soundtrack album by
Released20 July 2012 (2012-07-20)
StudioYRF Studios
Mumbai, India
LabelYRF Music
Sohail Sen chronology
From Sydney with Love
Ek Tha Tiger
Sajid-Wajid chronology
Teri Meri Kahaani
Ek Tha Tiger
Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal
Singles from Ek Tha Tiger
  1. "Mashallah"
    Released: 12 July 2012

All songs, except one composed by Sajid–Wajid, are composed by Sohail Sen. The film score was composed by Julius Packiam, who included an instrumental track on the soundtrack. Initially, Pritam was signed to compose the songs for Ek Tha Tiger and the film's first digital poster credited him as such.[72] However, he opted out of the film because of date clashes with another Yash Raj project, Dhoom 3.[73] Neelesh Misra, Anvita Dutt and Kausar Munir wrote the lyrics.[74] A song titled Jaaniyan, which had vocals by Pakistani singer Bilawal Baloch, was reported to have been leaked from the film's soundtrack. Yash Raj Films officials denied the news, and said that the album was in no danger of being leaked.[75] "Mashallah", sung by Wajid Ali and Shreya Ghoshal, was released as a single on 12 July 2012.[76]

Track listEdit

1."Mashallah" (Music by: Sajid-Wajid)Kausar MunirWajid & Shreya Ghoshal4:45
2."Lapaata"Anvita DuttK. K. & Palak Muchhal4:16
3."Banjaara"Neelesh MisraSukhwinder Singh4:35
4."Saiyaara"Kausar MunirMohit Chauhan & Tarannum Mallik4:13
5."Tiger's Theme" (Music by: Julius Packiam)Instrumental3:17
6."Mashallah" (Remix by: Joshilay)Kausar MunirWajid & Shreya Ghoshal3:24
7."Laapta" (Remix by: Joshilay)Anvita DuttK. K. & Palak Muchhal3:30
8."Banjaara" (Remix by: Joshilay)Neelesh MisraSukhwinder Singh3:27
Total length:31:27

Critical reception of the soundtrackEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
Satyajit (Glamsham)[77]     
Indo-Asian News Service (CNN-IBN)[78]     
Purva Desai (The Times of India)[79]     
Devesh Sharma (Filmfare)[80]     
Joginder Tuteja (Bollywood Hungama)[81]     

The soundtrack album of Ek Tha Tiger received unanimously positive reviews. Satyajit of Glamsham gave the album 4/5, saying, "Ek Tha Tiger roars with multi-cultured international musical feel, a musician delight that primarily targets classy listeners. Unlike massy tracks of Dabangg, Wanted, Ready or Bodyguard, it has more classy appeal attached to it and all credits goes to composer's skillfulness in catching every aura, genre and format."[77] Indo-Asian News Service posting on CNN-IBN gave the album 4/5 and said that it "offers the listener the romantic and action flavour of the movie. This one's definitely an entertaining affair with an array of sounds for music lovers."[78] Purva Desai of The Times of India also gave the album 4/5 and said that it was "[a] good effort by Sohail Sen and Sajid-Wajid because the album is fresh and sounds new, where the music composers have made an attempt to incorporate world sounds. The music is so different from Kabir Khan's earlier films like Kabul Express and New York which makes the music of Ek Tha Tiger a welcome surprise!"[79] Devesh Sharma of Filmfare gave the soundtrack 4/5, stating that "[w]e are used to pulsating music in Salman Khan starrers, so this album is a tad disappointing in that sense." and also that "The songs have a situational feel and let's hope they look better on screen than they sound."[80] Joginder Tuteja of Bollywood Hungama gave the album 3.5/5 and wrote, "[t]he music of Ek Tha Tiger is good though one expected it to have gone all the way further up." and that "In case of Ek Tha Tiger, there isn't any composition that puts you off. In fact what is noticeable is the fact that the overall sound of the album remains more or less consistent."[81]


List of positive awards and nominations
Ceremony Category Recipient Result
People's Choice Awards India 2012[82] 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
3rd BIG Star Entertainment Awards[83] BIG Star Most Entertaining FILM OF THE YEAR Kabir Khan/Aditya Chopra Won
BIG Star Most Entertaining Actor in a Thriller Film – Male Salman Khan
BIG Star Most Entertaining Actor in an Action Film – Female Katrina Kaif
BIG Star Most Entertaining Music Sajid-Wajid/Sohail Sen
BIG Star Most Entertaining Actor in an Action Role – Male Salman Khan Nominated
BIG Star Most Entertaining Actor in a Romantic Film – Male
BIG Star Most Entertaining Actor (Film) – Male
BIG Star Most Entertaining Actor in a Thriller Film – Female Katrina Kaif
BIG Star Most Entertaining Actor in a Romantic Film – Female
BIG Star Most Entertaining Thriller Film Kabir Khan/Aditya Chopra
BIG Star Most Entertaining Action Film
BIG Star Most Entertaining Director – Film Kabir Khan
List of negative awards and nominations
Distributor Date aired Category Recipient Result Reference
Golden Kela Awards January 2013 Worst Director Kabir Khan Pending [84]
Baawra Ho Gaya Hai Ke Award Ek Tha Tiger
(along with other films)
Ghanta Awards
8 February 2013
Worst Actor
Salman Khan
(with Dabangg 2)
Won [85]
Worst Actress
Katrina Kaif
(with Jab Tak Hai Jaan)

Home mediaEdit

Ek Tha Tiger was released on DVD in all regions on 25 September 2012,[86] and on Blu-ray Disc – which features Dolby TrueHD 96k upsampling and Dolby Surround 7.1 with English and Arabic subtitles – on 9 October 2012.[87][88] The film's director Kabir Khan said, "Ek Tha Tiger is the first movie to be mastered with Dolby's advanced 96k upsampling technology on a Blu-ray disc".[89]


A second film "Tiger Zinda Hai" was announced in January 2017 and was in production in March 2017. The film released on 22 December 2017. The sequel is said to be based on true stories.


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