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PATHAAN - Entirely relying upon over-the-top action and nothing else, SRK moves back to the safe bet of masala action films, post trying some different subjects in the past. (Review by Bobby Sing)

26 Jan, 2023 | Movie Reviews / 2023 Releases / Just In

Coming straight to the point, an action thriller equipped with fast-paced, over-the-top action sequences thrown at quick intervals is both expected and accepted as a key feature of the genre. We have repeatedly appreciated and cheered for such insertions in both Hollywood films and cinema made in South India, supported by well-executed VFX, defying the logic. So, a film incorporating them as its USP is never the issue provided they are all superbly crafted and entertaining.

However, it certainly becomes a concern when a film entirely relies upon such sequences coming one after another with no continuity in the timeline, just added to keep the viewers busy without giving attention to its story progression, character development, or script. 
That’s exactly the case of PATHAAN, the comeback film of Shah Rukh Khan with story and direction by Siddharth Anand, with no novelty of any kind either in its storytelling, execution, or subject. In fact, the film is not at all interested in presenting any story or novel plot in its content and purposefully keeps focusing on the action sequences that feature every element of the earth including, fire, air, water, snow, ice, and much more.
Based on the same old repetitive plot of a clash between a terrorist (obviously connected to Pakistan) and a government agent with a solid reputation, PATHAAN straight away introduces SRK and John without wasting any time and their opening fight keeps you fairly engaged. But just after this good start, it soon goes back to the overused rotten path travelling to different parts of the world, bringing in an obvious women agent (the heroine), the controversial song, a well-shot yet convenient heist, and some exciting action.
The film thus provides the usual average entertainment till the intermission, including the forced as well as surprising skin show by Deepika, along with an unexpected double-meaning dialogue between the lead couple. Moving over a satisfactory first half lacking the novelty element, it delivers another pleasant surprise of a cameo by Salman Khan as Tiger post the interval, attempting to create a YRF spy universe just like the Rohit Shetty cop universe in Hindi Cinema.
The timely addition works and gets greeted by fan shouts and whistles. Unfortunately, that is also where all the excitement ends, as from here on PATHAAN has almost nothing to offer other than all mindless action sequences changing locations all over the world like costumes with no continuity of any kind. It then adds a pandemic virus sequence too towards the end, generating a patriotic feel, heading toward a completely predictable and cliched climax. Despite the mega-budget, the film falters in its VFX department too, which remains uneven in its presentation. At times, the action turns out to be great, but in a few places, it appears tacky, not matching the budget and grandeur of the project, raising some valid questions. 
As mentioned earlier in my reviews, I wonder why the chroma-sequences become easily catchable in our Indian films, whereas they do not appear to be the same in western movies. Thankfully, it has only one song within the film and a second in the end credits. The camera work is fine, music is catchy (and inspired as well) but the BGM simply serves the purpose without standing out. 
Giving you the actual picture, with PATHAAN, Shah Rukh Khan intentionally goes back to the safe formula of a masala, action-packed movie, which is sure going to be exciting for the fans, watching him doing hardcore action like never before. The icon also showcases an amazingly toned body in the sixth decade of his life, the age when Amitabh Bachchan, one of the biggest icons of Hindi cinema, started opting for mature, character-based roles in films like MOHABBATEIN (2000).
Shah Rukh certainly looks great in his hard worked act, especially performing well-directed action. But John steals away a big part of the limelight, impressively playing the villain, which should surprise many. A similar shocker comes from Deepika, who strangely continues the deliberate skin-show act post-GEHRAYIAAN, looking sizzling hot.

While Dimple Kapadia does fine (appearing with her beautiful hair, still intact after decades), the makers brutally waste actors like Ashutosh Rana and Prakash Belawadi. On the other hand, the timely cameo of Salman Khan (post intermission and in the end) proves to be a major uplifting point of the film, without any doubt.
Stating a worth-contemplating point, though PATHAAN might be a great move by SRK, for a big majority of fans, it is in reality a very desperate and helpless step taken by the icon, post trying all the innovations and novel subjects in his previous films namely ZERO, JAB HARRY MET SEJAL, FAN, DEAR ZINDAGI and more done with reputed directors. Since he was not accepted by his huge fan following in these ‘different’ films, he had to move back to a safe masala movie as his comeback project, ensuring its box office success.
PATHAAN is also a result of recent roaring successes of films like KGF and KGF2, which again had all hard-to-believe, logic-less action sequences as their USP, widely accepted by pan-India viewers. Though PATHAAN misses the emotional quotient prominently featured in the KGF series, the makers more or less follow the same thought process of keeping the viewers thoroughly engaged with high-paced action sequences coming one after another, without giving them any time to search or think about the storyline. 
Commenting upon the recent Indian regional cinema successes in the Hindi belt, it is an irony that they too remain only the masala action-oriented films led by stars, entirely coming from the South. What sadly remains missing is the release and success of all the worth-watching films being made in Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, and more Indian languages along with South Indian cinema.
In straight words, there has been no pan-India success of any such kind of film made with a novel thought process coming from the South, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bengal, or any other region of the country. Neither these kinds of films get a pan-India release nor get dubbed in Hindi for a wider audience. So even the distribution and exhibition nexus keep releasing masala entertainers made in regional languages of the South, resulting in similar kinds of films imitated by the Hindi film industry. After all, it involves business and they have to supply the content which is in demand and a probable safe bet at the box office.
Coming back to PATHAAN, the film entirely relies upon its over-the-top action and nothing else simply forgetting all about any storyline or script. Wonder how many pages would have been there in its bound script as the progression only has elaborate action sequences during most of its duration. It is also a perfect example of how and why Hindi Cinema is wilfully following the recent box office successes, including both Indian and Hollywood films like KGF, FAST & FURIOUS, and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE series.
Unfortunately, in this process of blind following, it is sadly losing out to the strong content-driven cinema being made in other Indian languages (not limited to just South cinema). 
Overall, while PATHAAN’s success will boost some spirit back into the ongoing projects of Hindi cinema, it is certainly not taking it forward, either in terms of content, execution, or subject, completely ignoring the writing department. But then, its success will surely get both the KHANS back in business, unarguably one of the last two Superstars of Hindi Cinema. 
Rating : 2.5 / 5 (including the additional 0.5, purely for the potent Shah Rukh-Salman Khan sequences bringing the nostalgic memories back of KARAN ARJUN).

Tags : PATHAAN Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing, Shah Rukh Khan comeback film
26 Jan 2023 / Comments ( 5 )

Hello Sir,

Always wait for your review, as it's unpaid and unbiased. 

Thank you for staying true. 


Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot for your valuable support Shivani.
Your words give me the courage to keep on going sharing my honest views.
Thanks again.
Keep Visiting and Writing in.

Gobindpreet Singh Gupta

Sat Sri Akal Bobbyji,

I saw the movie over this weekend and seriously was very much disappointed with it. Your review rightly mentioned the discontinuity in story telling and the misdirections. After the movie ended, me and my family was wondering on should we have watched it on OTT instead and saved our money. Barring 2-3 action scenes and Dimple Kapadia' patriotic death scene rest of the movie seemed to be so pale without having any connect even with the hero of the movie, which is not good as in such movies audience wants to root for the hero.

Even John Abraham played his usual self, I would like to mention that his character was well written and hence it created a major impact.

Bobby Sing

Sat Sri Akal Gobindpreet,
I honestly shared my views about the film on its release and really glad that many agreed to it despite the film becoming the biggest grosser of all times. For me this isnt any representative of our Indian Cinema to be straight.
Thanks a lot for sharing your experience and views.
Keep Visiting and Writing in,


Film - SUCKS! Actors - at all NONE!

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