Pathaan review: Shah Rukh Khan’s return to the big screen hijacks a mediocre plot

With Pathaan, Shah Rukh proves once again that he isn’t going anywhere

Rohit BhatnagarUpdated: Wednesday, January 25, 2023, 10:33 PM IST
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Pic: Instagram/iamsrk

Title: Pathaan

Director: Siddharth Anand 

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Dimple Kapadia, Ashutosh Rana

Where: In theatres near you

Rating: 3 stars

It came as a shocker when director Siddharth Anand took a U-turn from his glossy love stories and family dramas to helm power-packed action entertainers. He not only understood the pulse of the masses but also directed the country’s biggest superstars. After Bang Bang! (2014) and War (2019), Siddharth joins hands with Shah Rukh Khan for a visual spectacle and the most controversial film of the present day, Pathaan

Somalian terrorists make Jim (John Abraham), an ex-RAW officer and his pregnant wife hostage but RAW chief Nandini (Dimple Kapadia) and Colonel Luthra (Ashutosh Rana) refuse to save him and his family. Jim loses his family and goes underground. He then decides to take revenge from the country. To save the country, Nandini and Luthra bring Pathaan (Shah Rukh) from the dead. Rubina (Deepika), an ISI undercover agent, helps Pathaan to destroy Jim and his evil intentions. Who wins, Pathaan or Jim?

Siddharth smartly plays on the average plot with Shah Rukh’s super stardom. His return to the big screen after Zero (2018) overshadows the not-so engaging plot line. Pathaan definitely offers big-screen entertainment, but the stunts on an evident green screen look silly. Siddharth tries too hard to shoot convincing action sequences but the one that steals the thunder is Salman Khan’s (Tiger) train fight sequence along with Shah Rukh. It takes us back to the Karan Arjun (1995) nostalgia. They not only share a camaraderie but also a paracetamol tablet!

The aerial chase and ice sequences of the lead cast are thrilling. From Article 370, the smallpox vaccine to Covid-19, Siddharth picks up important geo-political issues and blends them cleverly into his spy thriller narrative. But, a few dialogues are cringe — Shah Rukh calls “Rubles as boobles”, his typical cheesy famous dialogue from Darr (1993) and Deepika’s dialogue, “Lawaaris se khuda gawah kaise ban gaye?”

With Pathaan, Shah Rukh proves once again that he isn’t going anywhere. He is a superstar and a massive crowd-puller to the theatres and this film is yet another testimony of his undying charm and stardom. Deepika looks smoking hot and does action scenes very well. John is a visual delight in his extension of the Dhoom (2004) vibe. Dimple and Ashutosh are just okay. 

Overall, Pathaan doesn’t fool you and delivers what is promised from its trailer… A weak plot but Shah Rukh’s magnetic presence is enough to woo his fans.

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