Pathaan: Brainless Entertainer

Shah Rukh Khan’s flick, Pathaan tells the same old ‘Kashmir story’ that Bollywood has always showcased, with or without the bikini, reports Fahd Khan

Bollywood flick, Pathaan poster showing the lead actors including Shahrukh Khan, John Ibrahim and Deepika Padukone

Bollywood film Pathaan which is literally minting money revolves around an ex-army man turned RAW agent. He is the Pathaan, the main protagonist of the flick played by Shah Rukh Khan. The Star cast includes John Abraham, who plays Khan’s arch-rival, Jim, the main villain. Deepika plays the role of an ISI agent Rubayi. The film tells the audience about how an amendment in the Indian constitution is infuriating its neighbour, Pakistan.

The film begins with the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and its effects on a Pakistani general who, in an effort to exact revenge on India, hires the former RAW agent turned dreaded devil, Jim to carry out the mission of destroying India. Jim feels betrayed and dejected since his family was killed as a result of the terror organization holding him captive and torturing him during one of the missions he was leading as the government of India failed to give the ransom amount.  Jim is joined by Rubayi, an ISI agent who works with him to complete the mission.

Pathaan, Jim, and Rubayi travel quickly across several nations to carry out their respective missions of destroying and saving the worlds they believe in.

Superstar Returns

The movie marks the return of the superstar Shah Rukh Khan to the big screen after a hiatus and his comeback is quite enough to pull the audience to the theatres. Shah Rukh Khan, who has been the heartthrob of Bollywood fans for his portrayal of Rahul and Raj in the romantic Yash Raj and Karan Johar directorials, finds his new place in the action genre. His evocative eyes and chiselled body manage to salvage the poor script and screenplay.

Pathaan is an ambitious and most hyped film of the year, thanks to the boycott gang for the free publicity. When the teaser and trailer of the film were released, it promised to be an out-and-out action film and provides what it had promised. For a long time in the pre-interval, the audience wonders about what is going on. Be it the high-octane action scenes on the streets of Dubai, or the flashbacks, people are unable to connect to the story as the movie is fast-paced.

Bad Story

The story is a hackneyed, idea that has bored people already. However, there are a couple of emotional scenes post-interval like the touching Afghanistan flashback sequence where Pathaan gets his name and the one where he saves India from the disaster. Betrayal and apologies like the typical Bollywood movies, the screenplay is loose and predictable at many points. Interestingly the hero and the villain, both are equally powerful which we hardly find in Indian moviesBoth perform some never seen high-octane action scenes on a train and are a delight to watch. If Pathaan punches his villain, the villain punches him back. Salman Khan’s cameo as Tiger is the USP of the film, the whole theatre
turns into a stadium when you see two of the biggest superstars in one single
frame. Both perform some never seen high-octane action scenes on a train and are a delight to watch. The action scenes seem to be inspired by the Bond series or Tom Cruise’s Top Gun Maverick.

Shah Rukh Khan has played his part extremely well. Every time the screen lights up with his brilliant acting when he appears on the screen and he is looking more handsome than ever at 58. His dialogue delivery and emotions can be felt by the viewers.

It seems as though John Abraham was destined to play Jim because of his tough demeanour, muscular build, and eyes filled with vengeance. In some scenes, particularly the final one, one feels sorry for Jim and thinks that he should have been rescued. Nobody in Bollywood other than John could have provided the Pathaan with fierce competition. John as Jim gave the finest performance of his career.

Alluring Performance

Deepika as Rubayi has a certain allure of her own, and her action moments with Pathaan and Jim create a strong impression. She also shines in the emotional scenes and is at the hottest best. Her character may be seen to be inspired by Black Widow and many other female Hollywood characters.

Siddharth Annand’s direction is average. He has focused more on the action, and grandeur rather than quality and story. The film has been made on a huge scale; more than Siddharth’s previous film War. The director has not been able to do justice providing the star cast he had. There are a number of shortcomings in the story rather than good moments. Scenes like Pathaan beating Russian forces single-handedly is hardly digestible. The Afghanistan episode in the climax of the film is also predictable.

Shah Rukh Khan whose Red Chillies VFX company is known to have revolutionized Bollywood in terms of VFX and CGI fails terribly in Pathaan. Its VFX is done by Yash Raj itself and is too shabby. In many of the scenes, one could easily trace the shot having been filmed on the green screen but the fast pace prevents the general masses from locating the technical issues.

Film’s two songs – Besharam Rang and Jhoome Jo Pathaan make one groove to the music as its plays, credit goes to Vishal-Shekhar. Satchith Paulose’s cinematography is spectacular as they have captured the essence of exotic locations of France, Spain, and Russia.

Casey O’Neill, Craig Macrae and Sunil Rodrigues’s action is the highlights of the film and matches the global standards. The editor Arif Sheikh has tried to keep the film fast-paced and crisp.

The background music by Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara is the film’s soul that keeps one hooked to the seat. The BGM on villains’ entry encourages people to download the music.

On the whole, Pathaan is a brainless entertainer. Shah Rukh Khan fans who see his return after four years will watch it regardless of whether it has a plot or not. Given the situation in which the Depika’s bikini created such a huge fuss seems far-fetched as Pathaan supplements and compliments what the government did in Kashmir and how it wants to be conveyed.


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