Pathaan Movie Review: Can Shah Rukh Khan and Pathaan not only revive the superstar’s flailing box office condition, but also redeem Bollywood’s average run these days? Going by the packed crowd with whom I watched this spy thriller directed by Siddharth Anand, the signs definitely lead that way. Pathaan might not be a perfect action entertainer – there are some very glaring issues and problematic themes, but there is one thing that it never stops doing – being a paisa-vasool entertainer! Pathaan Beats KGF 2! Shah Rukh Khan’s Film Sells 5.56 Lakh Tickets in Advance Booking for Its Opening Day.
Pathaan begins in 2019 when the subrogation of Article 370 causes unrest in Pakistan’s military camp and coerces a general there to contact a rogue operative, Jim (John Abraham) to take revenge for them. Had some qualms with this part of the plot, but then even SRK needs to keep all the factions satisfied, right? Even if Pathaan veers into Bollywood’s despised tendency to incorporate Islamophobia in films of these genre, see the recent Mission Majnu.
Anyway, returning to the plot, Jim’s the head of a shadowy organisation called Outfit X that consists of former members of other spy organisations. Jim himself is an ex-RAW agent, but they aren’t aligned to any country – they just work for those who pay them the highest.
Hot on the heels of whatever Jim is upto is our very own Pathaan (Shah Rukh Khan). His entry is badass, as Pathaan ambushes a meet of one of Jim’s associates and flies away with him. From thereon, we learn more about Pathaan, and how he along with Nandini (Dimple Kapadia) had started JOCRA, a unit in Indian Intelligence that consists of agents who are retired from RAW because they are considered physically ‘broken’. However, Pathaan is now a rogue agent, and the reason for that is Rubina (Deepika Padukone).
Watch the Trailer of Pathaan:
After both Jim and Pathaan’s intro in the first act, the first half gets into a lengthy flashback that extends into the second half. There are quite a few paisa vasool scenes in these portions. Be it the scene in Dubai where Jim tries to kidnap two scientists and Pathaan arrives to stop him, or Rubina’s seductive entry in the “Besharam Rang” song and the sequence after that song that sneaks in a surprise, Siddharth Anand packs in enough oomph and hoopla to keep you enthralled. Occasionally, it is difficult to take Pathaan seriously as a film, especially the absurd heist sequence in Russia that veered nearly into Happy New Year territory. What works better in these portions is Shah Rukh Khan’s roguish charm that we enjoyed in films like Don and its sequel, and Deepika Padukone’s sultry appeal, not to mention, when they are together, they are like a burning match and kerosene and the result is a fiery hot combustion! The interval sequence is intriguing, though it is a twist that isn’t very hard to guess.
But Pathaan isn’t done with the paisa vasool moments yet, and the biggest of them all comes just around the post-interval sequence. You know who I am talking about. Yes, Salman Khan makes his much-hyped cameo here, and the result is nothing short of electifying entertainment. Seeing both SRK and Salman Khan together, fighting baddies in coordinated unison while sneaking in Karan Arjun
Anyway, returning to second half, I feel there was some lull in the proceedings once the flashback gets over. I felt Deepika’s character wasn’t very convincing, writing-wise, in terms of her allegiance-shift. Writing more on her would be SPOILER-ish, but I wasn’t satisfied of the reason why she would want to shift sides. The introduction of Macguffins in the plot in the form of a bioweapon pushes Pathaan further in the Fast & Furious territory and makes for a very cliched plotline. Thankfully, even though Pathaan continues to align to this story, it returns back to form in the thrilling third act with some explosive fight scenes between Pathaan and Jim.
Speaking of Jim, what a return to form it has been for John Abraham, who makes for a very compelling antagonist. He manages to steal the show almost every time he appears on screen, and he has some of the best lines in the film. Like the saying goes, an action film is as good as the villain in it, and Jim is quite the formidable one here. Deepika Padukone is smoking hot and she does well in the action sequences, though her impact on the screen isn’t the same as how Katrina Kaif was in Ek Tha Tiger
As for Shah Rukh Khan, the superstar is clearly having fun here, and it felt nice to watch a film of his after a long time where the crowds are hooting and whistling at his entry and his dialogues. Bollywood might not be Shah Rukh Khan, but Shah Rukh Khan is definitely Bollywood, and his revival as a mass-appealing superstar bodes well for the industry’s good fortunes. You loved him as a romantic superstar, now enter the era where he is going to enthrall you as an action superstar, and Pathaan is the right stepping stone for that. Can’t wait for Jawaan to arrive.
PS: With Pathaan, YRF has established its spy universe that links the Tiger movies as well as Hrithik Roshan’s War. Apart from Tiger’s cameo, there are plenty of callbacks to the other movies and the first mid-credit scene promises a bigger picture in the universe and bigger role for Pathaan.
Pathaan is an out-and-out entertainer with ridiculously entertaining masala moments, logic-defying action scenes and Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and John Abraham setting the screens on fire with their dynamic charisma and swagger. Enjoy!
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 25, 2023 12:52 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website wmleader.com).