Pathaan is easily one of the most keenly awaited films to have come from India in the last few years. Apart from the makers promising some high-octane massy entertainment, it also marks the return of Shah Rukh Khan as a main lead after over four long years. The hype for the film was highest we have seen in recent years. So the only question worth answering is whether Pathaan lives up to the all pre-release firecrackers?
In terms of the storyline, the film directed by Siddharth Anand has a general tale that one would expect from a high scale spy action film. The story, obviously, revolves around Pathaan (Khan). He is a secret intelligence officer whose only aim is to serve the country, which includes keeping it safe from the clutches of its enemies, especially the likes of Jim (John Abraham).
John’s character is a terrorist but with a twist. He has a grudge against India and its intelligence agency Pathaan works for. Jim, generally, works like a freelance terrorist – someone who would attack any country for money, not for any personal involvement. But when he gets the contract of carrying out a huge attack on India, he gets personally motivated.
But Jim has to deal with Pathaan, who will stop at nothing to save India from such a catastrophic attack. Pathaan crosses paths with a beautiful, confident and strong girl, played by Deepika Padukone. But can she be trusted?
Despite the basic storyline of Pathaan not being very novel, the writers have put in enough surprising elements to keep it interesting. This was mostly helped by the back and forth narration, related to the history of Pathaan. The reveal at the interval point gives a high, even if you had guessed the outcome before.
Such action films tend to go a big downhill or lose the grip post-interval. But Pathaan has been smart in this aspect. Generally, the main motive of the terrorist is revealed at the start in such films and then the hero goes on a mission to foil it. But the main story of Pathaan is unfolded later, which reduces the chances of the film suffering from the second-half syndrome. More importantly, the ending moments, along with exciting, are also moving.
Pathaan is a masala action film, filled with breathtaking stunts and action sequences. The visuals are good enough, if not best, to satisfy the action lover in you, especially if you watch the film in Imax, like I did.
But films of this genre also requires one to leave logic outside the hall. If you are not able to do this, Pathaan is surely not for you, for this film can be enjoyed only in this way. But even from the standards of such genre of films, the creative liberties, both in terms of story development and some action sequences, are too much at times. If the makers would have shown some control over this area, Pathaan would have appealed even to the non-masala crowd.
Coming to the next important question about Khan’s performance, you can’t expect a great act in a film of this genre. But SRK succeeds in portraying the heroism needed to carry the film on his shoulders. The undercurrent of humour makes it better. He also does well while showing his emotional side, especially in the scene where he is seen saluting.
This is one of John Abraham’s better acts; way better than his last two outings – Satyameva Jayate 2 and Ek Villain Returns. Deepika Padukone displays confidence and is impressive in the action sequences too. But her characterization appears confused, which somewhat lowers the overall effect. The surprise element here is Dimple Kapadia who shows her long experience as she shines as Pathaan’s senior.
One of the biggest attraction and the high point of the film is the scene featuring Salman Khan in a cameo as Tiger. It’s one of the many paisa vasool moments in the film.
Overall: Pathaan is an enjoyable affair if seen with a big crowd on the big screen while keeping your topmost organ away. The film has a good chance of working at the box office.
Rating: 3 out of 5
Director: Siddharth Anand
Producer: Aditya Chopra for Yash Raj Films
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Dimple Kapadia, Ashutosh Rana
Writers: Shridhar Raghavan, Siddharth Anand and Abbas Tyrewala