Home Cinema Pathaan: Shah Rukh, John Abraham shine with lavish luminosity

Pathaan: Shah Rukh, John Abraham shine with lavish luminosity

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Film Review

By Sunita Vijay

For years, his fans, in hordes, have drooled as he spread his arms in his signature posture – a poster boy romantic hero. And now they’re likely to genuflect, falling to their knees, seeing him as a stunning, topless action hero flaunting a couple of extra abs than his contemporaries on his chiselled body. It’s a role he had long been longing for, SRK mentioned in one of his interviews. In 2006, he built impressive six-pack abs for Om Shanti Om and an eight-pack for Happy New Year. Now SRK has surpassed all his past standards in fitness to be a dashing, loyal soldier, playing the part with the utmost finesse.

Shahrukh is back on the big screen as an enormously compelling first-day crowd-puller with never-seen-before body contours, ribbed abs to die for, and killing looks – indeed proving himself as the true King of Bollywood, now also in the action zone, that had never been his core arena. He shines bright in all frames as a hardcore patriotic, trusting, loyal and honest soldier, and his slaying looks, even as a quinquagenarian, will surely make anybody’s heart miss a beat! Shahrukh Khan shines with more luminosity after a hiatus of four years than I’ve seen him all my life, and John is parallel in all respects as a superbly fit and stylish villain, carrying intellectual humour, shown burning with unfading revenge, masquerading it behind a dashing personality in the role of a bad guy.

The long-haired, unsullied duty bound SRK as Pathaan has pledged to save the country, and he does it with profound, unbeatable energy. His character is carved to be believably human but meant to surpass all demoniac hurdles while performing larger-than-reality stunts. It’s not that ‘mard ko dard nahi hota’. He, too, feels tired. He has soft emotions. He needs painkillers after being injured; he desires intermittent rest. He, too, seeks an appointment to keep his long tresses groomed, but patriotism runs in his veins, and his heart beats for India. The film emits a patriotic fragrance soaked in action, humour and visual treats of two top heroes – SRK and John – in shirtless shots placing a verification stamp on their enviable fitness.

Siddharth Anand, the director, knows his job, and in Pathaan, he proves he’s one of the best in this genre. He taps into John’s adrenalising energy, Shah Rukh Khan’s swagger, and Deepika’s stature and glamour in a wholesomely conducive manner to make Pathaan a crowd-pleasing film.

The film picks the strings from the abrogation of Article 370 applying to Kashmir, Pakistan’s displeasure, its malicious plans to destroy India and its love to own Kashmir that leads to hiring a traitor to execute a viral plan to attack India. The country needs a saviour and here enters Pathaan! The globe-trotting at a super-fast speed begins, making me realise only at the interval that my spine remained straight and fists tight all through. There were few sulking moments, too, where the VFX went weak, and the film drifted away from realistic presentation intermittently. Still, Siddharth cleverly keeps bringing the movie back on track to provide pure entertainment and succeeds in visually treating us handsomely.

The mind-boggling locales chosen in Spain, Afghanistan, Russia and other places show impeccable research work. The combats in the air, streets, frozen lakes, in a train, and on the train are enduringly captivating, embellished with suitable background music and titillating songs.

Sridhar Raghavaan and Abbas Tyrewala tactfully write dialogues for both SRK and John. Both have commitment, courage, humour and intelligence to exude customised dialogues that support their stands.

John Abraham delivers one of his best performances to date with his smart demeanour and exuberating physicality. His role is as vital as SRK’s, and he remains in his element. Even his stand to be a baddie has a supportive contextual background that runs in his favour.

Deepika Padukone’s infectious charm and ambiguity in her solid role add a suspense-filled twist to the tale. Her neat action scenes, using heavy weapons and toned body, may open doors for more similar offers.

Dimple Kapadia’s captivating presence as a stern senior in the hierarchy is played with utmost finesse. Ashutosh Rana’s performance is excellent, as always.

Pathaan is about our country under viral attack threat and the best minds working to defuse the ticking bomb. Some patriotic scenes are especially hair-raising and cleverly crafted. The tough decisions to address the ‘need’ of the hour are commendable. There is a novelty and also all the traits of top-class Hollywood action films in Pathaan.

The film delves into baffled logic and lack of emotions at places, but the individual performances of the cast and electrifying action exhilarate the experience. This isn’t a movie to miss.

Pathaan is currently running in theatres!