Tigers is the latest film from Bosnian director Danis Tanovic, who won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for his first film No Man’s Land back in 2002. Tigers is based on the true story of Ayan (Emraan Hashmi) a Pakistani salesman who gets a coveted job selling baby formula produced by a (thinly-disguised) multinational corporation. But when he learns that babies are dying due to misuse of the formula and the corporation is turning a blind eye, he turns whistleblower, putting himself and his family in danger.
The film uses a framing device in which Ayan tells his story to a team of movie producers over Skype. I dislike framing devices in movies in general, and found this one to be particularly clunky. The parts set in Pakistan are good, however, and full of familiar faces, including recent National Award-winner Geetanjali Thapa as Ayan’s unfailingly supportive wife, Supriya Pathak and Vinod Nagpal as Ayan’s parents, and Adil Hussain as Ayan’s sinister boss at the corporation. After labouring for so long in the Mahesh Bhatt- and Ekta Kapoor-produced trenches, Emraan Hashmi has gotten really good at looking stricken – a talent which serves him well in this film. Jokes aside, though, he does give a solid performance. And it is interesting to me that after a decade of appearing in potboilers, Emraan has started dipping his toe in the more off-beat end of the pool – first with Shanghai (which also played at TIFF, in 2012) and now Tigers. It should be noted that the movie contains deeply upsetting footage of gravely ill and dying babies. Although perhaps even more upsetting is the note at the end of the movie which states that while some of the footage was filmed in Pakistan as long ago as 1989, some of it was also filmed as recently as 2013.