Pathaan movie review:
First and foremost, Bollywood is back. Shah Rukh Khan is back.
‘Pathaan,’ a spy movie laced with heavy doses of patriotism, has Shah Rukh Khan acing the action avatar, flaunting the floppy-hair-glinting-aviators-eight packs. Deepika Padukone, who matched SRK stride for stride, gave Katrina Kaif, who kicked serious ass in Tiger 2, stiff competition. There’salsoDimpleKapadia,whoreprisesherroleasthefoxyMoneypennyinChristopherNolan’s‘Tenet’.
And the main antagonist, played by John Abraham, who makes the most of his dialogue. The plot involves a slew of spies, sardonic RAW chiefs (Ashutosh Rana), evil ISI generals, and gun-toting terrorists in global hotspots.
Pakistan is once again interested in Kashmir (it will never learn, will it). Jim (John Abraham), an Indian, has gone rogue. Rubina (Deepika Padukone), the gorgeous ISI agent, looks equally at home in a bikini as she does in skin-tight spandex. In top-secret laboratories, a lethal virus far more dangerous than Covid 19 is being developed. Desh-ke-dushman are crawling all over the place, posing a clear and present danger. But don’t worry, India’s best and bravest, Pathaan (Shah Rukh Khan), is on the way.
The difficulty in completing a two-and-a-half hour film is visible in the places where you stifle a yawn (yes, it can happen even when everything is galloping along at break-neck speed). Pathaan and Jim face off in the air (many helicopters were damaged in the making of this film), skimming over ice floes and under icy water, chasing each other down twisty roads.
There is some roll-your-eyes silliness, which is typical for this type of film. Furthermore, the third person mention of ‘Pathaan’ becomes tiresome (kitni baar bologe, yaar). Believe us, we got it right the first time. But the slack is quickly tightened: an entire train is commandeered for a special starring Pathaan and a keffiyeh-wearing spy whose trademark moves had the audience roaring.
Then there’s the song that sparked outrage weeks before it was released in theatres. There’s nothing in it that we haven’t seen before (YRF songs on beaches should be a separate Bollywood sub-genre), but Pathaan and Rubina swaying and narrowing their eyes at each other on a Spanish beach is more of a potato than a potato.
But let me reassure those who are concerned: nothing besharam happens, even when there is nothing between them but a gun.
The film arrives at a time when Bollywood and SRK are under attack. ‘Pathaan’ is that sateek jawaab of this beleaguered pathaan, who manages multiple feats in his comeback after a clutch of medium-bad to terrible films: gives it to the #BoycottBollywood brigade, pulls off the dishy-and-dishevelled look rippling those abs, gives us a laugh-out-loud moment (I won’t ruin it, but it involves a line.
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Pathaan movie, starring Shah Rukh Khan, will be the first movie in India to be released in ICE format.