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.
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 a Pakistani agent during the mission.
Ek Tha Tiger marks the third collaboration between Kabir Khan and Yash Raj Films, after he previously directed 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. 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.
The film received mixed reviews, with praise for its action, music, and performances of its leads, while there was criticism for its inconsistent tone. It set numerous box-office records during its theatrical run. 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. The film received six People’s Choice Award nominations, and won five.
A sequel titled Tiger Zinda Hai, was released on 22 December 2017.
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. what happens next is shown in next movie named Tiger Zinda Hai.
Ek tha Tiger marks the fourth feature film to star Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif.
Further information on the characters: Tiger (franchise)
Salman Khan as Avinash Singh “Tiger” Rathore
A RAW agent who goes undercover under the alias Manish Chandra.
Katrina Kaif as Zoya “Zee” Humaimi / Zoya Singh Rathore
An ISI agent who goes undercover to counteract the efforts of Tiger.
Ranvir Shorey as Gopi Arya
A RAW agent and Tiger’s handler.
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.
Gavie Chahal as Abrar
A section captain of the ISI, and Zoya’s handler.
Samar Jai Singh as RAW agent
An agent who later joins hand with enemies