Pathaan: An Entertaining Globetrotter With A Lesson On What Makes One A Patriot

Worth the four-year wait!

Pathaan (Hindi)

  • Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Ashutosh Rana, Dimple Kapadia, Gautam Rode, Gavie Chahal, Shaji Choudhary, and Salman Khan (cameo)
  • Director: Siddharth Anand
  • Producer: Aditya Chopra
  • Music: Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara
  • Runtime: 2 hours 26 minutes

In the climax of Pathaan, Shah Rukh Khan talks about how a true soldier doesn’t ask what the country has done for him but reflects on what he can do for the country. This one dialogue perfectly sums up the essence of the film.

In fact, Pathaan can be called SRK’s answer to those who question his patriotism time and again.

In style, Pathaan is reminiscent of the Tiger film (Ek Tha Tiger and Tiger Zinda Hai) and also 2019’s War. All of them have been produced by Yash Raj Banner.

This is an extension of that universe where the focus is on giving a complete package which will make the audiences, particularly the masses, happy.

The story

The movie begins with India’s revocation of Article 370 (Special Status of Jammu and Kashmir).

This affects a Pakistani officer who feels that India is doing a huge mistake. This officer joins hands with an ex-RAW agent Jim (John Abraham) who was wronged by his own people.

Aiding Jim in this mission is the mysterious Rubai (Deepika Padukone). Rubai is not what she appears to be and it is only in the second half that her real identity is revealed.

The rest of the story is about how RAW agent Pathaan (Shah Rukh) locks horns with Jim across continents and who eventually wins.

Dimple Kapadia and Ashutosh Rana play important parts.

What worked out?

As earlier said, the focus here is on giving a complete package and director Siddharth Anand does succeed in keeping the audiences engaged, more so if you buy into the treatment.

For any hero versus villain story to work, the antagonist must come across as equally strong and this is where the director succeeds the most.

John Abraham’s Jim has a solid back story. Jim isn’t your regular clichéd villain.

He is always a step ahead of our hero and this adds more zing to the victory of the film at the end. The action scenes between SRK and John have both style and grit.

What also helps Pathaan is the fast-paced screenplay of Shridhar Raghavan, particularly in the first half.

The non-linear narrative hopping from one continent to another is filled with interesting twists and turns. A perfect example of that is Deepika’s Rubai.

At one point, we feel that she is with John and the next second with SRK. This helps in increasing the curiosity of the audience.

One of my favourite scenes in the first half is how SRK gets his name Pathaan. His scenes with the locals of Afghanistan are filled with a certain warmth.

Another major highlight of Pathaan is the train sequence involving Salman’s Tiger and SRK’s Pathaan.

The elaborate action sequence of both taking on the baddies is a delight to watch, more so if you are a fan of the stars.

The interaction between the two superstars has moments of nice humour. Not surprisingly this sequence got the biggest whistle in the theatres.

The music by Vishal and Shekhar is quite groovy, particularly the song “Besharam Rang”.

What didn’t work out?

One major issue with Pathaan is the abrupt love angle between SRK and Deepika. It practically jumps out of nowhere.

More focus has been given to creating a sensual chemistry between the two stars rather than an emotional gravitas.

Deepika looks great in her action sequences and makes for a perfect action heroine. But beyond the glamour, there isn’t much.

In fact, Dimple Kapadia in a smaller role lends more gravitas.

Another major issue is the simplistic and clichéd manner in which it deals with the topic of patriotism. And the Pakistani angle doesn’t add much to the story.

The real eye feasts

As Pathaan, Shah Rukh has a blast playing a full-fledged action hero.  It is a part which gives him ample opportunities to be both rugged and charming and SRK doesn’t falter.

However, it is John Abraham who springs a pleasant surprise. After a series of subpar outings, John is finally in form.

He not only looks menacing but also shines in portions where Jim expresses his angst about being betrayed.

Verdict

For hardcore SRK fans, Pathaan is well worth the four years wait. For neutrals, it is worth a watch if you can get past the simplistic treatment.

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