Pathaan Review: A watchable Action Entertainer!
Release Date: January 25, 2023
Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Dimple Kapadia, Ashutosh Rana & others
Direction: Siddharth Anand
Nikhil’s Rating: 3/5
The Yash Raj Films movie begins the year with sky rocketing expectations due to Shah Rukh Khan, returning to the big screen as a mainstream masala action hero after 5 long years- His last film Zero was a dud. Pathaan is also significant for the production house after a series of duds in 2022. It also marks a milestone for both YRF and Shahrukh Khan as they complete 50 and 25 years of being in the movie business respectively! As one can tell, the stakes were very high for the people involved.
Do they end up delivering? Read ahead to find out!
Pathaan begins with uniquely designed logos: One for YRF completing 50 years and one of the YRF ‘Spy Universe’. One may say that the latter is something that the audience has never seen. The audience is largely correct with this statement. It certainly is a first to see the spy universe logo on the big screen. What people may not be privy to is the fact that the makers have been cooking up this Marvel and DC style universe since 2012 and Pathaan happens to be the fourth film in the series!
Pathaan is the fourth movie and kicks of YRF’s ‘Spy Universe’ inspired by Marvel & DC. My recommendation would be to watch War if you have not already before watching Pathaan just to get into the groove if you do decide to watch it.
This movie begins with a Pakistani Army General, Qadir enlisting Jim, essayed by John Abraham for revenge against India after the news of Article 370 being revoked is reported. Jim is an ex Indian agent owns Outfit X is a private terror outfit.
Shahrukh Khan as Pathaan is an ex- RAW agent who has been forced to retire due to injury or trauma. He is enlisted by Nandini (Dimple Kapadia) to stop Jim from a planned attack in Dubai where a scientific conference is about to take place. Pathaan & Nandini enlist few operatives and form a group to try and foil Jim’s plan and mission. The Joint Operation & Covet Research (JOCR) is established for this purpose.
In addition to this, Pathaan also learns about a codeword called ‘Rakhtabeej’ and how it has affected the lives of ex-agents in Dubai.
Will the JOCR established by Nandini, Pathaan and team be able to stop Jim and his plans? What prompts Jim for the deeds he undertakes? What is Deepika’s role in this plot?
Yash Raj Films, through the Tiger franchise has always aimed to present stories in a larger-than-life manner keeping the source material inspired by true stories or events. Barring the film War, Ek Tha Tiger, Tiger Zinda Hai and Pathaan are all inspired by true events and take the audience on an entertaining journey. Audiences are not meant to look for logic while watching these films. They are meant to be what are known as ‘popcorn entertainers’ or out-and- out commercial films which make the star the hero figure and have action set-pieces mounted on a lavish scale. Pathaan fits this description to the T.
Here, Shahrukh Khan is the star and king quite literally as he is back from a hiatus of 5 years. People all over the world have thronged theatres to watch this movie like there is no tomorrow and for good reason. Shah Rukh Khan in all his glory and aura has probably one of the best entry sequences for his character Pathaan in a while. I do regret not the movie on the first day or in the first week. People all over the world had turned cinemas into stadiums as whistles, claps and cheers echoed through the theatre.
Pathaan is a film that takes creative inspiration from the Mission Impossible, James Bond and Fast & Furious franchises
when it comes to mounting its action sequences. When watching these films people do not intend to look for logic and just have a good time even if the sequences have unreal staging and outcomes. Pathaan is no different especially post interval. It serves as a great comeback film for our titular character and actor, and that is what propels the movie even when things become a tad dull. One may question the unrealistic VFX and cringy dialogue at some places, where the audiences’ interest may dip. But sticking with it may yield a satisfactory experience for some. Deepika Padukone as Rubina Mosin has an interesting layer and character. It is anabsolute joy to watch her in an action driven role and making the same very convincing and believable.
John Abraham as Jim is cold and menacing. It is a tip of the hat to the original Dhoom movie as to how unpredictable his character is. His back story portrayed in a flashback scene was hair raising, to say the least. Some dialogues given to him felt a little too over-dramatic in nature. But his presence commands the screen each time his scenes play out. He is a formidable nemesis to Pathaan. I am curious to see the range of actors YRF chooses to essay the roles of antagonists in future spy universe movies.
Shridhar Raghavan’s screenplay keeps the plot moving and engages the audience throughout the duration of the movie. In the second half however, the movie does suffer in its pacing but the actors kept me invested and curious to know what happens next. I had gone into this film with a mindset of being entertained and thrilled and Pathaan delivers these aspects, albeit a few hiccups. Siddharth Anand’s story does seem a little far-fetched in the second half due to how the plot points end up being executed. At one point, there is a heist scene that was inspired by Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. The visual effects at places felt that they needed more finesse.
The action sequences are of a fair standard, especially when it comes to hand-to-hand combat. Watch out for a sequence in which Deepika’s character takes on a few of Jim’s henchmen which is quite enjoyable. A glimpse of it has been showcased in the trailer of the movie.
I feel that the action sequences in War were better in terms of execution. Don’t get me wrong, Pathaan has good larger- than life action and is watchable. But I expected the action to be sleeker considering that was the genre of the movie.
Pathaan has two songs. One of them was controversial but has not been removed from the film. Jhoome Jo Pathaan is a song that has a hook step and attack that is very satisfying. The music has been composed well and has led to audience members across social media make reels and bring the house down with whistles, cheering and excitement in theatres.
Overall, Pathaan is a watchable fare due to its hero Shah Rukh Khan. With him being missing from the big screen for 5 years and completing 25 years in the film business, there could not have been a better production house to give him, as they say ‘comeback’ film. His fans are elated to see him come roaring back. It is not a perfect film and has garnered mixed reactions from audiences and critics. But no one can deny that people are happy to watch an entertainer on the big screen after so long.