Pathaan Movie Review: Shah Rukh’s Seatbelt 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 packed with high-octane action sequences. But, there are some minor issues, our review says.

Bombay,UPDATED: Jan 25, 2023 1:02 p.m. IST

Pathaan Movie Review: Shah Rukh Khan Movie Worth Your Money.

Pathaan Movie Review: Shah Rukh Khan Movie Worth Your Money.

By Tushar Joshi: There is a poetic justice in his gaze. He has the physique of a spy, but it’s the eyes that speak most to Pathaan. After a four-year hiatus, 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 declining breed – true superstars. Director Siddharth Anand, who is best known for glamorizing his stars and presenting them in what sometimes looks like lavish Hollywood movie-inspired sets, Pathaan is no exception to his signature style. Rather, it’s a callback to his previous work – the bromance-laden war and desi homage to Mr and Mrs Smith called Bang Bang! Here, Anand serenades the audience with scenes and images that are a direct homage to some iconic Hollywood movies.

Shah Rukh’s Pathaan is the shadow of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. He may not be as rich as Stark or don’t have a superhero space suit, but his game with women and men -liners is a definite ode to him. Likewise, Deepika’s Pakistani ISI agent act has undertones of Scarlett Johansson in her action movies. The climax and a few other action scenes also look like shots from Hollywood movies like Mission Impossible, Fast and the Furious and others.

But Pathaan is not a budding film. Nor is he trying to impersonate an offer from Vin Diesel or Tom Cruise. Pathaan’s story is the first chapter of India’s first native spy verse. If the West has MCUs (Marvel Cinematic Universe), India has its own SCU led by the trio Tiger, Kabir and now Pathaan. The plot is loaded with patriotic sentiment. A rogue agent, Jim (a very handsome John Abraham), is about to exact revenge on India. The moment of his revenge comes at a time when India is abandoning Article 370, thus triggering the sinister designs of neighboring country Pakistan to take over Kashmir. Pathaan is now on a mission to arrest Jim, but trust issues arise for Pathaan when a sexy distraction comes in the form of ISI agent Rubaiya Mohsin (Deepika Padukone). Is she an ally or an enemy? Its own backstory lays out its intent and gives the story its much-needed pre-gap twist. Heavy with action scenes and clever dialogue, the film looks sexy and sensory.

Here is the trailer:

Pathaan’s second half triumphed over the first. The action plays are devoid of logic and reason, but again, this is not a documentary. It’s also the first time you’ve watched SRK do hardcore action scenes. And the reason it works is because Anand gave him realistic fight sequences with John. It’s not just jets streaking through the air or Ferraris skidding across ice, the action at Pathaan is bold and fearless.

Shah Rukh is the heart of Pathaan and he constantly reminds us why we love watching him on the big screen. It sells the most bizarre twists with a straight face and you’re glad to buy it. Deepika Padukone needs a real standalone action movie. She really has the physique and demeanor to do a Tomb Raider. John Abraham as the villain is a great casting choice. Once you get past his handsomeness in Pathaan, you realize why he’s one of the greatest action heroes of our time. John never got his due in many of his movies. Fortunately, in Pathaan, he not only holds his own against SRK, but also shines with grace. The climax everyone is nervously anticipating in Pathaan, which is also a highlight of the film, is the “Pathaan meets Tiger” moment. It’s an absolute delight to see Salman and SRK in the same frame go digging while beating up goons. It will go down in the annals of cinema history as a perfect tribute to the fame of these two actors.

The main problem with Pathaan is the action blocks, which sometimes become tiring. Some parts seem to have a double and others show too clearly that they were shot with a green carpet. Recently, Hollywood actor Tom Cruise pulled off a stunt in his latest film Mission Impossible that will go down in history as the greatest love an actor can have for his craft. The 60-year-old actor took his own bike dive from the edge of a cliff. No Chroma, no body double. Just Tom on a bike doing his thing. It makes me realize that when it comes to action, we have to install some realism in our choreography. The other issue with Pathaan is with some of the dialogue, SRK flirts with Deepika and calls her a “bombshell” while admitting he’s ready for an “explosion” as her thigh seductively brushes against him. In another scene, he tries to use his comedic side to rhyme Russian currency rubles with the word “boobles” while referencing a lady flaunting her cleavage. Smarter writing would certainly have saved Pathaan.

Pathaan is shamelessly fun. He’s not trying to send a public service message or comment on the current state of affairs. Instead, it takes the clock back to a time when a Shah Rukh Khan movie in theaters was a time for celebration. During 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 entertain your children). If his Pathaan enthusiasm and energy is anything to go by, then one thing is for sure – SRK isn’t going anywhere. This Pathaan is the perfect opener to the spy universe of India.

3.5 out of 5 stars for Pathaan.

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