"Jimmy Cliff" (Saif Ali Khan
), aka Jeetendra, is a highly westernized Indian man who works in a call center. He falls for Pooja Singh (Kareena Kapoor
), and she cons him into stealing money from her boss the gangster Bhaiyyaji (Anil Kapoor
). But Pooja double-crosses Jimmy and takes off with the money, leaving him to deal with the wrath of Bhaiyyaji, and with Bhaiyyaji's hired goon Bachchan Pandey (Akshay Kumar
). After Jimmy, Bachchan and Bhaiyyaji catch up with Pooja, there is a major gun battle with the police, which leads to Jimmy, Pooja, and Bachchan being sent off to recover the money that Pooja has hidden. Jimmy and Pooja hatch a plan to manipulate Bachchan by having Pooja romance the big goon. And then things get complicated...
Released a couple of years ahead of the current action movie boom in Bollywood, Tashan had a star-studded cast and was heavily hyped, but flopped on release. It has developed a cult following, and its comparatively sophisticated action scenes (by Bollywood standards) were certainly ahead of their time.
This film provides examples of:
- Action Girl: Pooja
- Adorkable: Bachchan Pandey in love.
- All-Star Cast: Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Kumar were close to the peak of their popularity, and Kareena Kapoor was a rising star. Anil Kapoor was a former leading man who had only recently transitioned into character roles.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: Bhaiyyaji plans to do this to Pooja at one point.
- Ax-Crazy: Bhaiyaaji.
- Bait the Dog: Bhaiyaaji seems like a somewhat eccentric but funny and likeable bad guy with a terrible case of Malaproper. Then we see the flashbacks where he is revealed to have killed Pooja's father, not to mention him killing a hapless victim by smashing his head in with a cricket bat.
- Big Bad: Bhaiyyaji
- Childhood Sweetheart: Pooja claims to be this, in her attempts to get friendly with Bachchan.
- Decoy Protagonist: When the film starts, it appears to be mostly about Jimmy, but over time he is increasingly upstaged by Bhaiyyaji and Bachchan Pandey, and by the end of the story it becomes clear that Pooja is the main person driving the plot arc.
- Faux Affably Evil: Bhaiyyaji, who seems to be Affably Evil until he reveals how willing he is to torture and kill people.
- Femme Fatale: Pooja
- Guile Hero: Pooja, for certain values of "hero." Jimmy also wants to be this, but with varying degrees of success.
- Guns Akimbo: One of Bachchan Pandey's trademarks in the action scenes, along with Le Parkour.
- Heel-Face Turn: Bachchan goes from Punch Clock Villain to The Hero due to The Power of Love.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jimmy, Pooja and Bachchan all qualify to some extent, but Bachchan-a bearded, extremely uncouth man with his own code of honor and a surprising romantic side-is probably the most classic example.
- Laughably Evil: Bhaiyaaji until he stops mucking around in the second half of the movie.
- Le Parkour: Akshay Kumar gets to show off one of his favorite hobbies in a couple of the action sequences.
- Malaproper: Bhaiyyaji's specialty
- Painting the Medium: Jimmy and Bachchan offer voiceover narration in the first half of the movie, in a way that appears to be asides to the audience. In the epilogue, Jimmy, Pooja, and Bachchan all address the audience directly.
- Power Trio / Big, Thin, Short Trio / Two Guys and a Girl: Jimmy, Pooja, and Bachchan show elements of these dynamics when they are all working together. Bachchan is the big one, Jimmy is the short one, and Pooja (played by an actress who dieted and exercised her way to a "size zero" for the role) is the thin one.
- Psychopathic Manchild: Bhaiyyaji seems to qualify.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: the sequences between Jimmy and Bachchan play out like this, even though metrosexual Jimmy is a skirtchaser and a weasel, and tough guy Bachchan is the more romantic and chivalrous of the two.
- Scarf of Asskicking: one of Bachchan's key fashion accessories.
- Sleeves Are for Wimps: resident Mr. Fanservice Bachchan Pandey dresses like this in the "Dil Dance Mare" song sequence.
- The Cast Showoff: see under Le Parkour, above.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: A rare sympathetic example, as Pooja's manipulations and secret agenda have elements of this, and Jimmy also briefly tries the role on for size towards the end of the film.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Pooja uses this on Jimmy to great success, and on Bachchan with more limited success, leading her to try the "longlost childhood sweetheart" gambit instead.