Pathaan Movie Review: Shah Rukh’s seat belt warning was serious! This bumpy ride is definitely worth your ticket

Pathaan Movie Review: Shah Rukh Khan’s film graced the screens on January 25. The film, directed by Siddharth Anand, is replete with high-octane action sequences. But, there are some minor glitches, says our review.

Bombay,UPDATED: Jan 25, 2023 13:02 IST

Pathaan Movie Review: Shah Rukh Khan's film is worth your money.

Pathaan Movie Review: Shah Rukh Khan’s film is worth your money.

By Tushar Joshi: There is a poetic justice in his glare. He has the physique of a spy, but it is the eyes that do most of the talking in Pathaan. After a gap of four years, Shah Rukh Khan is back on the big screen doing what he does best – charm your pants off and remind us why he’s part of a dwindling breed – the real superstars. Director Siddharth Anand, who’s best known for glamorizing his stars and presenting them in what sometimes look like lavish set pieces inspired by Hollywood films, Pathaan is no departure from his signature style. If anything, it is a reminder of his previous work – the bromance load War and the Mr and Mrs Smith desi tribute called Bang Bang ! Here, Anand serenades the audiences with scenes and imagery that is a direct tribute to some iconic Hollywood films.

Shah Rukh’s Pathaan is a shadow of Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark. He might not be as rich as Stark or have a super hero spacesuit, but his game with women and one-liners are an accurate ode to him. Similarly, Deepika’s Pakistani ISI agent act has shades of Scarlett Johansson in her action flicks. The climax and a few other action scenes too feel like blueprints picked from Hollywood films like Mission Impossible, Fast and the Furious and others.

But Pathaan isn’t a wannabe film. Neither is it trying to masquerade as a Vin Diesel or Tom Cruise offering. Pathaan’s story is the first chapter in India’s first indigenous spy-verse. If the West has MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), India has its own SCU led by the trio of Tiger, Kabir and now Pathaan. The plot is laden with patriotic sentiment. A rogue agent, Jim (a very good looking John Abraham), is set to seek vengeance against India. The timing of his revenge comes at a time when India scraps Article 370, thereby triggering neighboring country Pakistan’s sinister designs to capture Kashmir. Pathaan is now on a mission to stop Jim, but trust issues crop up 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 its much-needed pre-interval twist. Heavy on action scenes and smart dialogues, the film looks sexy and sensory.

Here’s the trailer:

Pathaan’s second half triumphed over its first. The action pieces are devoid of logic and reason, but then again, this isn’t a documentary. It’s also the first time you watched SRK do hardcore action scenes. And the reason it works is because Anand has given him some realistic hand combat sequences with John. It’s not just jet planes zipping through midair or Ferraris skidding on ice, the action in Pathaan is bold and fearless.

Shah Rukh is the heart of Pathaan and he’s a constant reminder of why we enjoy watching him on the big screen. He sells the most bizarre plot twists with a straight face and you are charmed to buy it. Deepika Padukone needs a bonafide stand-alone action film. She truly has the physique and demeanour to do a Tomb Raider. John Abraham as the bad guy is a terrible casting choice. Once you go beyond how good he looks in Pathaan, you realize why he’s one of the greatest action heroes of our times. John has never got his due in a lot of his films. Thankfully, in Pathaan, he not only holds his ground opposite SRK but also shines with grace. The high point that everyone nervously waits for in Pathaan, which is also a major highlight of the film, is the ‘Pathaan meets Tiger’ moment. It is an absolute thrill to watch Salman and SRK in the same frame throw digs at each other while beating some goons. This will go down in the annals of cinematic history as a perfect tribute to the stardom of these two actors.

The main hiccup in Pathaan is the action blocks, which sometimes gets tiring. Some portions look like they have a stunt double and others make it too obvious that they have been shot with a green mat. Recently, Hollywood actor Tom Cruise pulled off a stunt in his latest Mission Impossible film that will go down in history as the greatest love an actor can have for his craft. The 60-year-old actor did his own bike dive 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 part of realism into our choreography. The other glitch with Pathaan is with some of the dialogues, SRK gets flirty with Deepika and calls her a ‘bomb’ while admitting he’s ready for a ‘blast’ as her thigh seductively grazes him. In another scene, he tries to use his comic side to rhyme the Russian currency roubles with the word ‘boobles’ while referring to a lady flaunting her clevage. Smarter writing would definitely have saved Pathaan.

Pathaan is unapologetically fun. It isn’t trying to send a public service message or pass commentary on the current state of affairs. Instead, it sets the clock back to a time when a Shah Rukh Khan film at the cinemas was a moment to rejoice. In a recent #AskSRK session, the actor revealed his unfulfilled wish. He wrote, ‘Itni shakti rahe mujh mein ki aap ke bacchon ko bhi entertain kar sakoon’ (I hope I have the strength to even entertain your kids).” If his enthusiasm and energy in Pathaan is anything to go by, then one thing is for sure – SRK is not going anywhere.This Pathaan is the perfect opening to India’s very own Spy Universe.

3.5 out of 5 stars for Pathaan.


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