With Siddharth Anand’s Pathaan, Shah Rukh Khan is back on the big screen after a long absence of four years. The movie is a part of YRF’s spy universe and also stars Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Dimple Kapadia, and Ashutosh Rana.
The fans can’t get enough of the two of them on screen because Salman Khan makes a lengthy cameo appearance in the movie. In the movie Pathaan, Shah Rukh Khan plays a RAW agent who has been on leave for some time but is called back to work when Jim, played by John Abraham, poses a threat to the country. Shah Rukh is the star of an action-packed movie.
Pathaan made Rs 57 crore on its first day, according to trade expert Komal Nahta. Largest opening for a Hindi movie ever. That as well, on an odd day that wasn’t a holiday, and the movie isn’t a sequel!
Pathaan, an ambitious action thriller that plays to the crowd and lives up to the expectations, is something of an event movie since it marks Shah Rukh Khan’s return to the big screen after a long absence of four years. Pathaan starts off as a filmy Mountain Dew commercial with far-fetched dialogue but is high on star power and style as it slowly but steadily finds its own.
The story revolves around India’s decision to revoke Article 370 (the special status of Jammu and Kashmir) and how it affects a Pakistani officer who demands compensation from India for its “error.” He extends an olive branch to the imposing Jim, an ex-RAW agent who was wronged by his own people. He is joined by his seductive partner Rubai, a former ISI agent played by Deepika Padukone, who has murky motivations. As they move between countries and engage in a risky game of betrayal and retaliation, Pathaan, Jim, and Rubai lock horns and lock eyes. The three compete to obliterate and defend the worlds they hold dear.
In his spy thriller, director Siddharth Anand goes over the top. He approaches it more as a superhero movie that requires a great deal of suspension of disbelief. Here, it is clear that he is fascinated by and worships conventional Hollywood blockbusters like the Mission Impossible flicks starring Tom Cruise and the Marvel movies. Expect a femme fatale, a wingsuit a la Falcon, heightened action and chase scenes, death-defying feats on cars, bikes, ice, and helicopters, immortal heroes and villains mouthing sharp speech, and all of this drenched in the idea of patriotism.
For a large portion of the movie, the focus is on the action rather than the emotions, which is new ground for SRK, who is best known for his romantic or conversational roles. It’s remarkable how, at 57, he still portrays himself as a full-fledged action hero, letting his physique and his intensely expressive eyes do the talking. His presence saves a mediocre storyline and poor visual effects. Vishal & Shekhar’s music for the movie succeeds in reflecting the courage and bravado on exhibit, even though the background soundtrack doesn’t exactly feel in harmony with the scenes.
The standout aspect of Pathaan is also John Abraham’s excellent Jim performance. John is frightening and presents a typical example of the villain partially overshadowing the hero, whether it’s through his Bane-like masked entrance or stunt routines.
Although Deepika Padukone is a badass and is flawlessly cast as the obedient, morally dubious, leggy agent, their chemistry feels undercooked. It doesn’t have the same energy that John-characters SRK’s do. Once more pulling a Tenet, Dimple Kapadia gives the proceedings the necessary seriousness and emotional weight. You wish other characters had the same level of genuineness she did.
As Bhai meets the badshah, Karan and Arjun are reunited in the YRF espionage universe to give you an unforgettable whistling moment. Pathaan has all the elements of a masala potboiler, including slow-motion entries, an iconic good versus evil conflict, and most importantly, a seductive, smouldering Shah Rukh Khan who can fight the good fight both on and off-screen. If you are willing to overlook the frivolity in dialogues like “You are pretty screwed,” that is. He is still without a doubt the King.