Seldom do movies from the Indian film industry create as much hype as Pathaan did. Given the current state of Hindi films, Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan was seen as a thumping comeback, not just for the masses in theatres but also for one of the most loved stars of the country, Shah Rukh Khan. While the latter delivers partially, the former falls flat on the face from the word go.
Pathaan, the weakest of the newly created YRF Spy universe movies, doesn’t even try to be smart or make sense even for a scene. Siddharth Anand delivered above-average movies with Hrithik Roshan in War and Bang Bang, although not perfect at all, the maker seemed to have his heart in the right place. In Pathaan, Anand is solely cashing on the massive popularity of Shah Rukh Khan and the current patriotic fervour in the country.
The biggest question for a reviewer while writing about a movie like Pathaan is the starting point because there is just so much wrong with the movie. SRK’s entry, which is also the only good part of the movie, lasts for about 15 minutes and the movie just dwells deeper into mediocrity after that. An extremely confusing chemistry with Deepika Padukone, Pathaan’s inability to get his work done and yet be touted as the ‘best’ in India; unnecessary and cliched sub-plot for every spy shown in the frame add to the tiresome experience of watching the movie.
Clarity is a huge deficit for all those in the movie, including the director and writer Siddhart Anand. The intentions of the characters and especially the secondary characters are as plastic and pliable as the faces of the audiences, who were trying their best to like the movie but found it very hard.
Pathaan is a ‘Khichadi’ which was made after watching the likes of War, Tiger, and Krrish 3 (yes, you read that right). Conviction, logic, and science are the things we are left looking for as the movie progresses.
The movie has been mounted on a huge budget of 250 crores. However, one is left wondering about the usage of money. Most of it was perhaps used to get permissions for locations in Europe and the Middle East, and the fees of the actors because there is nothing worth the money invested in the movie’s output. The editors did a great job in cutting a trailer where the VFX of the movie is not exposed much because if it was, the advance booking wouldn’t have looked as good as they do now. The rudimentary and illogical scenes enacted with seemingly cheap VFX only add to the frustration of the audience.
It is at least possible to bear below-average special effects if the story has some ‘dum’, but alas that’s not really the case. Calling the movie’s script a story would be an overstatement, as it is just a collage of the most viewed Hollywood and a few Hindi action movies.
In an action movie, there is not much ‘acting’ that the cast is supposed to do. Shah Rukh Khan’s presence is infectious, he tries to hold it together with his superb action sequences, but the monotony of his character does little to leave any impact.
Deepika Padukone is good with her action, but her character is probably the one that will make you irk the most, not for a good reason. John Abraham is the best of the lot, the actor seems to be having fun with his role. There is an inherent evilness that he portrays and it suits best for the character. He is one of the only few saving graces of the movie.
Pathaan as a whole is an insult to all those who hyped the product for their favourite star. Given the exposure and the rise in different film industries from the country, there is a high chance that the audience is done with the mediocrity of this sort. The movie also seems to be an insult to the intelligence services of the country. The operations are oversimplified to a level where they start looking comedic. Given the love for SRK and the hype for the movie, it is well on its way to becoming a huge hit, but the Hindi film audience deserves a much better product than this half-baked, tasteless effort.