Salman Khan in a still from Tubelight Image: YouTube/SKF
At the start, let's just make it clear that this film is not for bhai fanatics. For this Salman Khan is nothing like anything you've ever seen before. He neither swings his belt, nor delivers those cheesy romantic lines, nor does he fight goons in slow mo. Heck, even his shirt doesn’t come off at any point. So on that note, this is not the Eidi you expected. But all said and done, what Kabir Khan has managed to extract out of Salman, even Sanjay Leela Bhansali couldn't. And for that Salman should be forever grateful to his buddy, Kabir.
Kabir knows how to make Salman act
The OTT expressions that could give Jim Carry a complex may have looked so extra on the Dabangg cop but when it comes to the man-child Laxman, you wouldn't be able to imagine it any other way. So while Kabir lets every other actor act 'naturally', he lets Salman channel his inner man-child (let's not forget his character is inspired by an eight-year-old boy from Little Boy), even as he stares at the mountains and grunts constipatedly in the hope of stopping the war. Genius!
He knows how to make Salman dance
Though Remo D'Souza proudly declared that Salman is a great dancer, we all know that's not true and he's only saying it to impress him. Salman can move to the music but that can only be compared to the movements of a cockroach fliped upside down, and that's definitely not dancing. As Laxman, those jittery awkward moves fit perfectly. And when the background dancers look better than him (like always. Go check on YouTube), that's okay because Laxman is unlike anyone else.
Kabir probably salvaged Sohail Khan's career
Since how long has Salman been trying to do that? Decades, let me tell you. Remember Veer and Maine Pyaar Kyu Kiya? Oh the horror! But this time, Kabir not only gave Sohail the most important role of his career and the film — the story is basically based on Laxman's journey to get his brother, Bharat (essayed by Sohail,) back — but also gave Sohail the least screen time. Bhai is happy and the movie goes unaffected. Masterstroke!
Kabir plays Baba Siddiqui to Salman and Shah Rukh Khan
The travelling magician who is a better motivational speaker, SRK (and I'm guessing that's where he got the inspiration for his TED Talks speech) whispers sweet nothings into Salman's ears — as if it was Baba Siddiqui's Iftar party — and that eventually goes on to end the feud between two neighbours. Geddit?