Pathaan, a spy thriller following the usual template, introduces the audience to the protagonist Pathaan (played by Shah Rukh Khan), India's best soldier and spy. The antagonist Jim (played by John Abraham) is creating a virus named 'Raktbeej' that could potentially destroy an entire city, and Pathaan is on a mission to stop him. The film also features Rubai (played by Deepika Padukone), who plays the leading lady with a seductive personality and the ability to use a machine gun.
Although the movie explains why Jim is the villain and Pathaan is the hero, it fails to shed light on Rubai's character. The director focuses more on the style aspect of the film, rather than developing a strong story. The weak subplots make it hard to relate to the characters, and the twists in the story are reminiscent of the Abbas Mustan era, making it feel outdated.
Despite the weak storyline, Shah Rukh Khan's magnetic charisma brings back the essence of mass entertainment to the film. He carries the film's weak plot with his charm, just like Hrithik Roshan did in War. The film's dialogues could have been better, but Khan's performance makes up for it.
On the other hand, Deepika Padukone's character, Rubai, is portrayed as a smart woman who can outsmart both Pathaan and Jim. However, the film reduces her character to a bikini-clad seductress, which is a common trope in Bollywood. Although Padukone looks stunning, reducing her character to mere eye-candy feels like a missed opportunity.
John Abraham as Jim holds the wicked bewitchery for a long time, but the script doesn't allow him to explore his character's full potential. Dimple Kapadia's character also falls into the trap of half-baked scriptwriting.
The film's director, Siddharth Anand, tries to make the film look cool and stylish, taking inspiration from other films like Fast and Furious 5. The background score by Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara is excellent and sets the right tone for the film. The interlude with all the dhol in Vishal - Shekhar Besharm Rang's song adds that extra style quotient to the film.
Overall, Pathaan is a decent spy thriller that touches the benchmark set by War. It has its ups and downs, but Shah Rukh Khan's performance makes it a perfect comeback material for him.
Overall, while Pathaan follows the typical spy thriller formula, it falls short in terms of delivering a truly smart and engaging storyline. The subplots explaining why the good guy is good and the bad guy is bad are weakly executed, and the director fails to adequately develop the character of the leading lady, Rubai. Despite these shortcomings, the film does have some thrilling moments that are enough to keep viewers intrigued, although they are not as clever as one would expect from a spy thriller.
The film's director, Siddharth Anand, prioritizes style over substance, which hampers the story's development. Meanwhile, screenwriter Sridhar Raghavan's treatment of the story feels overly generic, lacking the clever twists that would have elevated the film.
Shah Rukh Khan is undoubtedly the highlight of the film, bringing his signature charisma to the role and carrying the weak storyline with his alluring presence. However, his character's dialogue could have been better. Deepika Padukone delivers a strong performance as Rubai, but her character's seductive portrayal is a tired and outdated trope in Bollywood.
John Abraham is underutilized in his role as the film's villain, Jim, and falls short of the wicked bewitchery his character could have had. Dimple Kapadia also suffers from the film's weak scriptwriting and ends up doing something that has been done by many before.
Despite its flaws, Pathaan has its merits, including impressive background music by Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara, and a standout interlude by Vishal-Shekhar Besharm Rang with all the dhol. Siddharth Anand's direction is commendable, even if he leans too heavily into style over substance.
All in all, Pathaan marks a strong comeback for Shah Rukh Khan and delivers a solid if not exceptional spy thriller experience.
On the other hand, Deepika Padukone's character, Rubai, despite being portrayed as a smart and capable woman, is reduced to a mere object of desire. It's disappointing to see her character use her sexuality as a tool to manipulate Pathaan and Jim. It perpetuates the tired and harmful stereotype of women being objects of sexual desire, rather than complex and nuanced characters.
John Abraham's performance as Jim is noteworthy, but unfortunately, the script fails to utilize his full potential. He brings a wicked charm to the role, but it's not enough to save his character from being a failed prototype of Mr. A from Dhoom 2. The script also wastes the talents of Dimple Kapadia and Ashutosh Rana, who are relegated to half-baked roles.
Despite its flaws, director Siddharth Anand's stylish direction and Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara's impressive background score elevate Pathaan to some extent. The action sequences are thrilling, and the visuals are stunning. The Balhara brothers deliver yet again with a score that complements the scale of the film. Vishal-Shekhar's "Besharm Rang" with its dhol interlude is a certified banger and adds an extra dose of style to the film.
In conclusion, Pathaan may not be the most original spy thriller, but it has its moments of intrigue and thrills. Shah Rukh Khan's charismatic presence and Siddharth Anand's stylish direction make it a decent watch for fans of the genre. However, the film's weak subplots, underdeveloped characters, and problematic portrayal of women hold it back from being a truly great spy thriller.
In conclusion, while Pathaan follows the typical spy thriller formula, it falls short on delivering a compelling storyline and character development. The weak subplots fail to provide a satisfying explanation for the character motivations, and the director's focus on style over substance is evident throughout the film. However, the strong performances by Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, and John Abraham elevate the film to some extent. The Balhara brothers' background score is noteworthy, adding an extra style quotient to the movie. Pathaan is a decent attempt to create a spy universe but falls short of meeting the high expectations set by films like War. Nonetheless, it serves as a perfect comeback for Shah Rukh Khan, who gifts his fans every second worth the four years, one month, and four-day wait they had for him.
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