Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham
Pathan, an action thriller, is one of the most anticipated films of the year 2023. This film is an event of sorts, as it marks the return of Shah Rukh Khan to the big screen after four long years. Pathan comes with the tag “Action Entertainer.” The film features massive actors like Deepika Padukone and John Abraham. Released in three languages—Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu—Pathan has everything that the big action movie genre demands.
Pathan, expanding YRF’s spy universe, is the origin story of ex-army turned undercover agent Pathan (Shah Rukh Khan) and his arch-villain Jim (John Abraham). The plot follows India’s revocation of Article 370 (the special status of Jammu and Kashmir) and its impact on a Pakistani officer, who wants India to pay for this mistake. He seeks Jim’s help, an ex-raw agent who is wronged by his own people. He is joined by his ravishing accomplice, Rubai, an ex-ISI agent (Deepika Padukone), with ambiguous motives. Pathan justifies its massive budget (two-fifty crores) with its locations: Moscow, Dubai, Africa, Afghanistan, Spain, Paris, and New Delhi.
The film has lavish stunts: colliding helicopters, flying bikes, and speeding jet skis. The stunt and VFX team of the film must be appreciated for the extravagant action set pieces and the believable visuals. Despite the grandeur, glory, and greatness of the film, the most entertaining scenes in Pathan, however, are with SRK and Salman Khan. Seeing two Khans, the superstars of Bollywood, still holding on to their thrones is a reminder of an era when the love they commanded was unquestioned.
Pathan, instead of just acting as SRK’s comeback vehicle, has done justice to all the stars in the film. Action overrides emotions, and that’s definitely new territory for SRK, who is most loved in romantic or conversational roles. Deepika gets to throw in a few punches too. Pathan is high on power and style but lacking in story. The overall writing isn’t impressive enough to leave a mark. The idea to milk threat with comedy didn’t work well. The film gets a bit too unrealistic at times, but that’s what you get when filmmakers try to mount a film on the scale of a Hollywood action film. Pathan has all the elements of a big star-studded film: action scenes, romance (though the chemistry between Deepika and SRK feels underdeveloped), background music, foreign locations, massive weapons, and slow-motion entries.
In the beginning of the film, SRK says, “Fasten your seat belts.” Yes, Pathan is a bumpy ride, so fasten your seat belts.
Verdict: Book your tickets to see SRK in Action!