“Pathaan”: Shah Rukh Khan’s departure from usual romantic, conversational roles
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“Pathaan”: Shah Rukh Khan’s departure from usual romantic, conversational roles

Review: With evocative eyes his presence helps to salvage the average script

“Pathaan”: Shah Rukh Khan’s departure from usual romantic, conversational roles

New Delhi: “Pathaan” is an action thriller film that expands YRF's spy universe and marks Shah Rukh Khan's return to the big screen after four long years. The movie starring Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, and John Abraham, is dominating the box office. The movie saw a significant increase on day two after opening to a stunning Rs 100 crore globally over the weekend.

The film tells the original story of an ex-army man turned undercover agent, Pathaan, and his arch-nemesis, Jim, played by John Abraham. The plot follows India's revocation of Article 370 and its impact on a Pakistani officer who seeks revenge. He teams up with Jim, an ex-RAW agent wronged by his own people, and his accomplice Rubai, an ex-ISI agent played by Deepika Padukone, with ambiguous motives. Together, they engage in a dangerous game of betrayal and revenge as they hop continents and race to destroy and protect the worlds they believe in.

Director Siddharth Anand gives the film an over-the-top treatment, making it more like a superhero film that requires a suspension of disbelief. His inspiration from mainstream Hollywood blockbusters like Marvel films and the “Mission Impossible” series is evident in the film's action sequences and stunts, which include Falcon-like wingsuits, exaggerated chases, death-defying stunts on cars, bikes, ice, and helicopters, and immortal heroes and villains delivering punchy dialogues. The theme of patriotism is also prevalent throughout the film.

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The film's action sequences are a departure from Shah Rukh Khan's usual romantic or conversational roles, and it's interesting to see him take on the role of a full-fledged action hero at age 57. He uses his body and evocative eyes to convey the character's emotions, and his presence helps to salvage the average script and subpar VFX. While the background score may not always feel in sync with the scenarios, the film's music by Vishal and Shekhar effectively reflects the heroism and bravado on display.

One of the highlights of the film is John Abraham's portrayal of Jim, who is menacing and makes a strong case for the villain overshadowing the hero in portions. Deepika Padukone is perfectly cast as the dutiful, double-crossing, morally ambiguous agent, but her chemistry with Shah Rukh Khan's character feels underdeveloped. Dimple Kapadia brings much-needed gravitas and emotional heft to the proceedings, and it's a disappointment that other characters do not exude the same sincerity.

The YRF spy universe also reunites Karan and Arjun in an iconic whistle moment as Bhai meets the badshah. If you are willing to overlook the frivolous dialogues, “Pathaan” has all the ingredients of a masala potboiler - slow-motion entries, an iconic battle of good versus evil, and the king of Bollywood of Shah Rukh Khan who can fight the good fight both on and off the screen.

Overall, “Pathaan” is an action thriller that aims to entertain and live up to the hype. While the writing may be far-fetched, the film is high on star power and style. It showcases Shah Rukh Khan's versatility as an actor, and John Abraham's portrayal of the villain is noteworthy. But the role of Deepika Padukone is average and she didn't deliver a convincing act. However, the film's over-the-top treatment and reliance on CGI may not appeal to all audiences, and the chemistry between the lead actors could have been better developed. The film has its flaws, but it offers a thrilling and entertaining experience for fans of action and espionage films.