Pathaan Hindi Movie
In Theaters: INDIA
For an action film, Siddharth Anand's Pathaan has all the necessary ingredients as well as bells and whistles. It has a solid plot that talks about the valor and patriotism of soldiers, a star who is making a big-screen comeback after a long time, and a nigh-indestructible villain.
On paper, John Abraham's Jim may not seem like much more than an agent gone rogue, but Anand's writers Shridhar Raghavan and Abbas Tyrewala give him a solid backstory that explains how and why he becomes a killing machine. Jim is a strong opponent to Shah Rukh Khan's RAW agent. A good villain does not always need a plot crutch or the presence of the protagonist for relevance. Jim is a really good villain, although some of the things he does in Pathaan seem a bit implausible.
This is one of those films that requires you to suspend your disbelief. Siddharth Anand's brand of action cinema is slightly over the top. Take the typical scenes where the stars grab onto the end of a hanging rope while they are suspended mid-air, for instance. It is definitely not plausible, not least while they are moving at a rate of knots. The use of CGI often reminds you that this is happening in a make-believe world. Such typical moments come one time too many in Pathaan, but the film never loses a sense of perspective or a sense of fun and never becomes boring.
Coming to the plot, Shah Rukh Khan's Pathaan is an agent with a mission to protect his country and possibly the whole world from a grave threat. Does this sound all too familiar? It is as James Bond- and Ethan Hunt-esque as the premise makes it seem. Nevertheless, unlike many similar films from India, the protagonist gets beaten, bruised, and even a bit tormented more than once. When Shah Rukh Khan makes a speech about the importance of the country to soldiers, there is anguish in his voice, and it works more as a meta moment. Remember, this is the same actor whose sense of patriotism was questioned not so long ago.
The villain is no easy pushover for Pathaan, and John and SRK make for a great combination, making their battle that much more interesting. Plus, there is the sensuous Deepika Padukone as a former ISI agent. Anand dials up the heat with Deepika appearing in a swimsuit in the hit track "Besharam Rang." Deepika's sultry avatar does not have a lot of backstory, but the actor is in good form and does the action with great flexibility and panache. The movie is unapologetic about the way it uses the star's glamour. In one scene, Shah Rukh Khan's character calls her a "bomb." I am not complaining. This is among the bells and whistles I was referring to earlier. The hand-to-hand combat in the movie is simply awesome, even though the CGI is a bit hit-and-miss.
The only slight reservations I have with the film concern the use of different timelines and the treatment of a scientist. The timelines are a bit of a mess in the movie and sometimes make the plot slightly hard to follow. Besides, does bravery only apply to soldiers?
To give credit where credit is due, Pathaan is a solid Hindi action film without a misplaced sense of patriotism or an anti-Pakistan attitude. For all its minor miscalculations, Pathaan does not mess up when it comes to its Desh Bhakti (patriotism). And, yes, yes, the King of the Box Office is back with a bang!
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