The Tiger Hunter was hands down my favorite movie from this year’s Hawaii International film festival! The film was hilarious, heartfelt, and entertaining. Yet, it also imparts a very important message in the end, your life isn’t about what everybody else thinks is success, it’s about recognizing who you really are and being happy being that person.
In the film, Sami Malik (Danny Pudi) a young man from India whose father is renowned as a legendary tiger hunter becomes an electrical engineer and travels to Chicago in the 1970s to find a job and establish himself so he can marry his childhood sweetheart Ruby Iqbal (Karen David). He hopes to impress Ruby’s father, General Iqbal (Iqbal Theba), with his masquerade of success so he will have his permission to marry Ruby, but he fails miserably and then admits that the reality he presents to them is an elaborate hoax. The truth, is that he is the lowest worker at the engineering firm doing a menial job, and he has had everything go wrong since he arrived in America. He gets mugged on the first day there, and ends up living in a tiny apartment with several other men from India who share a suit for job interviews.
Despite his hardship in Chicago, he presses on and spends his freetime working on perfecting a microwave oven that can cook frozen TV dinners. After many failed attempts and having his design ideas stolen by the lead engineer, Sami has a breakthrough when he enlists the help of his Indian roomates, who are all skilled engineers as well, to perfect and then pitch the working mirowave to the firm’s business client as the very last minute.
In the end, Sami returns home to India to be the person he was always meant to be, himself. He and Ruby make amends and his life comes full circle. The film is a fun adventure, an immigrant comedy, and a touching narrative of personal discovery and personal truth. Director Lena Khan was kind enough to field questions after the screening and sign autographs. What an amazing an talented director! I’m looking forward to seeing more of her work in the future.