‘PATHAAN’ REVIEW | 25 January, 2023

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Yash Raj Films Pvt. Ltd.’s Pathaan (UA) is a spy thriller. Pathaan (Shah Rukh Khan) forms a secret service agency comprising those agents who have been considered useless by the Indian government due to physical injuries etc. Supporting him is his boss, Nandini (Dimple Kapadia). Although Colonel Luthra (Ashutosh Rana) is also with Pathaan, he is not sure whether Pathaan’s plan is good.

In Pakistan, General Qadir (Manish Wadhwa) appoints erstwhile Indian secret service agent Jim (John Abraham) to reclaim Kashmir by getting India on its knees. So, Pathaan’s first mission after forming J.O.C.R. is to stop Jim in his track. Assisting Jim is ISI agent Rubai (Deepika Padukone). As time progresses, Pathaan gets to know that Jim’s sinister plan includes letting loose a virus which can threaten the very existence of human beings wherever it is let loose.

Does Pathaan succeed in thwarting Jim’s plans? If so, how?

Siddharth Anand has written a story which has so many twists and turns that it keeps the audience completely hooked. Yes, the story may not be novel but in spite of that, it doesn’t get predictable or boring. Shridhar Raghavan’s screenplay is first-rate. The pace is so phenomenal that the viewers do not get any time to think. The drama is not just interesting but also pretty engaging and engrossing. While keeping the tension alive throughout the length of the film, Raghavan has made sure to add light moments in the drama so that the audience gets a breather after short intervals, in the midst of the tension-ridden drama. Some scenes and sequences deserve special mention. Pathaan’s introduction, of course, is mind-blowing. So are Rubai’s introduction and, similarly, Jim’s introduction. The confrontation scenes between Pathaan and Jim are very exciting. The entire sequence of Salman Khan atop the train will bring the house down. In fact, there will be thunderous applause right through the sequence. What’s more, the clapping and whistling starts even before Salman arrives on the scene. Again, there will be deafening applause in the controversial Besharam rang song, more so when Rubai appears in the even more controversial saffron-coloured swimming costume. The climax sequence in which Pathaan lays his hands on something coveted will also create a mini earthquake in the cinema halls. The last scene of the film (not being revealed) is just too outstanding. In several of these applause-worthy scenes and sequences, it will be difficult for the audience to clearly hear the dialogues, such will be the euphoria in the initial days. What’s more, Shridhar Raghavan has infused just the right amount of patriotism in the drama which will swell the viewers’ chests with pride. Abbas Tyrewala’s dialogues are fantastic, many of them clap-worthy too.

Shah Rukh Khan, coming after a long gap, strikes back like a wounded tiger. He does an absolutely splendid job. He looks like a million bucks, and uses all the charm at his command to endear himself to the audience. For all those who felt, Shah Rukh Khan was a spent force, this film comes as a tight slap on their faces. He is in full form and does the fullest justice to the character of Pathaan. In the role of Rubai, Deepika Padukone looks steaming hot and acts with effortless ease. It’s sheer delight to watch her perform as an ISI agent. Both, Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone look like international stars. Both of them dance with so much grace! John Abraham is mind-blowing in the role of Jim. He is menacing, and his cool demeanour goes supremely well with his character. Ashutosh Rana lends a lot of dignity to his character. Dimple Kapadia is wonderful. Salman Khan lends tremendous star value and shines in a special appearance. In the sequences in which they appear together, he and Shah Rukh Khan bring the house down. Manish Wadhwa leaves a fine impression as General Qadir. Aakash Bhatija makes a mark as Amol. Prakash Belawadi has his moments as Dr. Sahani. Ekta Kaul (as Shweta) is good. Viraf Patel (as Rishi), Shaji Choudhary (as Raza), Diganta Hazarika (as Joseph), Rajat Kaul (as Raafe), Prem Jhangiani (as Dr. Farooqui), Grace Girdhar (as young Rubai), Ashutosh Singh (as Rubai’s father), Amanpreet Hundal (as Rubai’s mother), Mansi Taxak (as Jim’s wife) and the others lend terrific support.

Siddharth Anand’s direction is superb. His narration keeps the audience engrossed right from the word ‘go’. He deserves full marks for making a film on this scale and for keeping the narration so tight. Vishal-Shekhar’s music is super-hit. There will be thunderous applause in the cinemas in the Besharam rang song, more so when Deepika Padukone appears in the controversial saffron-coloured swim suit. Kumaar’s lyrics are extremely mass-appealing. The Jhoome Pathaan song is also lovely. Vaibhavi Merchant’s choreography in the Besharam rang song, and Bosco-Caesar’s choreography in the Jhoome Pathaan song are heavenly. Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara’s background music is terrific, impactful and effective. Distinction marks to the duo for a background score that adds so much to the drama! Satchit Paulose’s cinematography is outstanding. Action and stunt scenes (choreographed by Casey O’Neill, Craig Macrae and Sunil Rodrigues) are supremely thrilling and exciting. Rajat Poddar’s production designing is of a very high standard. Aarif Sheikh’s editing is super-sharp.

On the whole, Pathaan is a blockbuster, no questions asked. It will break plenty of records and create many new ones. It is destined to be one of the biggest Hindi hits.

Released on 25-1-’23 at Regal (daily 4 shows), Inox (23 shows, in daily 20 shows from 26-1-’23) and other cinemas of Bombay by Yash Raj Film Distributors. Publicity: outstanding (thanks to the controversy around the Besharam rang song). Opening: earth-shattering. …….Also released all over. Opening was historic everywhere.