Pathaan Movie Review: Shah Rukh Khan’s film hit the screens on the 25th of January. The film, directed by Siddharth Anand, is packed with high-octane action sequences. But, there are some minor flaws, our review says.
Pathaan Film Review: Shah Rukh Khan’s film is worth its money.
By Tushar Joshi: There is a poetic justice in his gaze. She has the physique of a spy, but it’s her eyes that speak the most in Pathaan. After a four-year hiatus, Shah Rukh Khan is back on the big screen doing what he does best: taking off his pants and reminding us why he’s part of a dwindling breed: true superstars. Director Siddharth Anand, best known for exalting his stars and presenting them in what at times look like lavish sets inspired by Hollywood movies, Pathaan does not stray from his signature style. If anything, it’s a reminder of his earlier work: the bromance-laden war and Mr. and Mrs. Smith’s desi tribute named Bang Bang. Here, Anand serenades the audience with scenes and images that are a direct tribute to some iconic Hollywood movies.
Shah Rukh’s Pathaan is a shadow of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. He may not be as rich as Stark or have a superhero space suit, but his play on women and one-liners are an accurate ode to him. Similarly, Deepika’s Pakistani ISI agent act has shades of Scarlett Johansson in action movies of hers. The climax and some other action scenes also feel like shots taken from Hollywood movies like Mission Impossible, Fast and Furious and others.
But Pathaan is not a movie wannabe. Neither is she trying to pose as an offer from Vin Diesel or Tom Cruise. The Pathaan story is the first chapter of India’s first indigenous spy verse. If the West has the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), India has its own SCU led by the trio of Tiger, Kabir and now Pathaan. The plot is charged with patriotic sentiment. A rogue agent, Jim (a very handsome John Abraham), seeks revenge against India. His moment of revenge comes as India scraps Article 370, triggering the sinister plans of neighboring Pakistan to capture Kashmir. Pathaan is now on a mission to stop Jim, but trust issues arise for Pathaan when a sexy distraction presents itself in the form of ISI agent Rubaiya Mohsin (Deepika Padukone). Is she an ally or an enemy? Her own backstory exposes her intent and gives the story a much-needed pre-interval twist. Loaded with action scenes and clever dialogues, the movie looks sexy and sensory.
Here is the trailer:
Pathaan’s second half trumped the first. The action set pieces lack logic and reason, but then again, this is not a documentary. It’s also the first time you’ve seen SRK do intense action scenes. And the reason it works is because Anand has given him some realistic hand-to-hand combat sequences with John. It’s not just jet planes soaring in the air or Ferraris gliding on ice, the action in Pathaan is bold and intrepid.
Shah Rukh is the heart of Pathaan and is a constant reminder of why we enjoy watching him on the big screen. It sells the weirdest plot twists with a straight face and you’re glad to buy it. Deepika Padukone needs a bona fide indie action movie. She really has the physique and demeanor to do a Tomb Raider. John Abraham as the bad guy is an excellent casting choice. Once you get past how good Pathaan looks, you realize why he is one of the greatest action heroes of our time. John has never gotten his fair share in many of his movies. Fortunately, in Pathaan, he not only stands his ground against SRK, but also shines with grace. The highlight that everyone is nervously waiting for in Pathaan, which is also a major highlight of the film, is the moment when ‘Pathaan meets Tiger’. It’s an absolute thrill to watch Salman and SRK in the same frame throw digs at each other while beating up some thugs. This will go down in the annals of movie history as a perfect tribute to the stardom of these two actors.
The main problem in Pathaan is the action blocks, which sometimes get tiring. Some parts seem to have a stuntman and others make it all too obvious that they have been filmed with a green baize. Recently, Hollywood actor Tom Cruise performed a stunt in his latest movie Mission Impossible that will go down in history as the greatest love an actor can have for his job. The 60-year-old actor did his own bike plunge off the edge of a cliff. No chroma, no body double. Just Tom on a bike doing his thing. This makes me realize that when it comes to action, we need to install a piece of realism into our choreography. The other glitch with Pathaan is with some of the dialogue, SRK flirting with Deepika and calling her a “bombshell” while admitting that he’s ready for a “bang” when her thigh brushes seductively against him. In another scene, he tries to use his comedic side to rhyme Russian rubles with the word ‘boobles’ while referring to a lady flaunting her cleavage. Smarter writing would definitely have saved Pathaan.
Pathaan is unapologetically funny. He’s not trying to send a public service message or pass comments on the current state of affairs. Instead, he rolls back the clock to a time when a Shah Rukh Khan movie in theaters was a time to rejoice. In a recent #AskSRK session, the actor revealed his unfulfilled wish for him. He wrote: ‘Itni shakti rahe mujh mein ki aap ke bacchon ko bhi entertainment kar sakoon’ (I hope I have the strength to entertain even your children).” It is certain: SRK is not going anywhere.
3.5 out of 5 stars for Pathaan.