wogma rating: Watch but no rush (?) - SRK-fans, who can stop you from rushing to the theatre? Others, buy tickets to boycott boycotts ;)

quick review:

What is it about action films that feels funny when SRK does it, but we lap it up when it’s Tom Cruise? Once you shake that off, Pathaan is entertaining and good, silly fun. At times it’s so cheesy that you can’t help laughing. The stakes are high throughout the film, so you’re with it even if you know how it’s going to end.

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Director: Siddharth Anand
Running time: 145 minutes
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Squeals of “Shah Rukh” “Shah Rukh” from different corners of the theatre as I enter it. I’d say my movie is off to a good start already. There’s nothing like watching the exhilaration of fans. I don’t get it. But I love watching it. The rest? Well, once you see heavy-duty goons waiting their turn in line to be beaten up by the hero, you know not to take the film seriously. Having given into that, it is some solid action entertainment watching an agile Shah Rukh Khan twist and turn his body to get his way.

There is never a dull moment, and even though you know they are likely to get out of the mess, you want to know how. And to keep you on your toes, the good team loses a couple of times too.

And that is what it really boils down to. Watching Pathaan is a lot about admiring Shah Rukh Khan’s physical dexterity. The man is 57!

Of course, this is within the context of some really high-stakes situations. The villain is butt-hurt and supposedly dispassionate. So, the end goal is something absolutely out-of-reach. The two timelines subtly add to the drama because through most of the film, we know what happened. But we don’t know how. A lot of it is shown, yet some of it is told—the latter, of course, is a put-off. A part of the disappointment is mitigated by the presence of a female soldier with a more-than-a-prop role. Put together, Pathaan’s writing becomes more than what one would expect from films of this genre.

To top it off, the stakes are always, always building up. Even in the details. So, there are two helicopters in air, attached to each other, approaching a tunnel. That’s thrilling enough. But wait, they can fly over the tunnel. Uh-oh, the rope keeping them together is maneuvered. Now what? And this goes on almost non-stop. And one situation subsides only so that another one can start. This means there is never a dull moment, and even though you know they are likely to get out of the mess, you want to know how. And to keep you on your toes, the good team loses a couple of times too.

Interestingly, given the decent writing, there are three gaping misses. Not holes in the plot, that there are many. Despite the constant action, there is enough time for me to predict what will happen next. There is always a pause, a slow-mo shot, and an emotional dialogue that brings the action to a standstill. Sure, this is par for the course in an action thriller, but it is clumsily done here. It seems like a pre-decided rhythm to which the pauses are inserted rather than an organic turn in the story.

Then there is the lacklustre dialogue. Even the most emphatic delivery cannot help if the deliverable is less than plain. And lastly, the film misses the chance to ask deeper philosophical and political questions that the story allows. And yet, it is understandable that they don’t have the luxury. And alas have to choose the easier path called Pakistan-bashing.

Having said that, the action choreography is slick and executed really well. Except for the shabby CGI in the UAE sequence, the other action sequences have some great moves. Yes, I repeat a line for Shah Rukh’s flexibility and grace. Is he agile! And hey, he even has a couple of good moments of acting.

Watching Pathaan is a lot about admiring Shah Rukh Khan’s physical dexterity.

John Abraham came across as an intriguing choice for a menacing villain. His character, Jim is menacing and brutal. He should scare me to the bones. But, I could think of him as either cute or wooden, not letting me take him seriously. I always wondered what a not-scary-looking but merciless villain would be like. And now I know, “not bad, a good change from the normal.” Similarly, Deepika Padukone’s presence is appreciated just because of the screen space she gets in a male-dominated genre. Else her action, dance, dialogue delivery are all a bit too mechanical.

But the action is wholesome. It is interspersed with some light moments. Sometimes they are entertaining because they are self-referential. At other times, the action is so ridiculous that you admire the creativity. And you remind yourself, you would have accepted it if it were Tom Cruise. My gut says that the pauses I spoke of earlier make the difference. We will have to see a couple more in the YRF Spy Universe to know if that’s true.

Meanwhile, this one was good fun. And as you watch the post-credit cuteness, you know the makers enjoyed bringing it to us. And hey, it helps that I get to participate in not boycotting the film.

- meeta, a part of the audience

20 reviewers(?) - 11 yays 9 so-so 0 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Bolly Spice : ...Visually, Pathaan is a feast of fury. The fights especially between Shah Rukh and John Abraham(the latter as a seething terrorist grits his teeth so hard we fear for his teeth) are virile and boisterous. The sound decibel drowns out all subtlety.... full review

Thumbs up, by Urmimala Banerjee, Bollywood Life : ...Pathaan is one of the best action films made in India. It is a visual treat. Shah Rukh Khan proves yet again why he is king. His commitment to his craft and audience will make you Jhoom in the theatres and how.... full review

Thumbs up, by Devesh Sharma, Filmfare : ...All-in-all, Pathaan announces in no uncertain terms that Shah Rukh Khan is back. After conquering romance, he looks set to scale new heights as an action star. Write him off at your own peril.... full review

Thumbs up, by Aashu Mishra, Filmi Beat : ...Overall Pathaan is a complete masala entertainer that you can watch with your entire family. Go watch a bucket full of popcorn to enjoy the film at a theatre near you.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nitin Jain, : ...With not may compulsive reasons dished out from Bollywood, visiting the friendly neighbourhood cinema hall along with the family, watching a Shah Rukh Khan ensemble film once shouldn’t hurt.... full review

Thumbs up, by Aparupa Devnath, India TV : ...Overall, Pathaan is a must-watch if you are looking for a classic Bollywood adventure movie. There is no denying that the Shah Rukh Khan starter will make you leave the cinema halls with a smile and no disappointments. Pathaan is definitely worth the wait and all the hype.... full review

Thumbs up, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...With Shah Rukh Khan joining Tiger (Salman Khan) and Kabir (Hrithik Roshan) to complete a trio of invincible YRF spies, expect a lot of big-screen explosions, extremes and extravagances in the coming years. But it is doubtful if anything would be as big, ballsy or unalloyed as Pathaan. It comes closer to what mass-oriented Hindi cinema once used to be than any other recent star vehicle has done.... full review

Thumbs up, by Titas Chowdhury, : ...In Pathaan, he might be the saviour of the nation but is not threatened, rather, in absolute awe of Rubina as she takes down a bunch of spies through jujutsu. He has no apprehension about taking orders from his female boss, played by the inimitable Dimple Kapadia. What also makes him appealing apart from all the washboard abs and action-hero avatar is the fact that he is quite a feminist. Yes, we have an almost feminist action hero! That’s a pretty good start to an era that was long anticipated and it’s no surprise that Shah Rukh, rather inadvertently, has set the precedent.... full review

Thumbs up, by Himesh Mankad, Pinkvilla : ...Pathaan has all the ingredients that are needed in a Hindi Film to emerge as a BLOCKBUSTER. It has action, scale, emotion, and music alongside the presence of Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who is presented as a larger-than-life Superstar in a feature film after a while. Pathaan is ready to set the box office on fire and is also on a mission to create new records not just on the opening front but also in the long run. It’s a BONDAFIDE BLOCKBUSTER in the making and also sets up the YRF Spy Universe in a big way with Tiger, Kabir, and Pathaan!... full review

Thumbs up, by Tanisha Bagchi, The Quint : ...When it's Siddharth Anand, you can expect a smattering of soft nationalism, and Pathaan isn't devoid of that. However, the makers ensure that jingoism isn't generously served on a platter as is the case with a lot of recent films. There's no attack on a particular community, the antagonist isn't stereotyped and painted all black, rather the outstretched arms of inclusivity aren't just for India but other neighbouring countries as well.... full review

Thumbs up, by Renuka Vyavahare, Times of India : ...Pathaan has all the ingredients of a masala potboiler — slowmo entries, iconic battle of good versus bad and most importantly, a sexy-smouldering Shah Rukh Khan, who can fight the good fight on and off the screen. He’s still the undisputed King.... full review

So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks : ...overall while Pathan success will boost some sprit back in to the ongoing projects of Hindi cinema, It is certainly not taking iin teran=ms forward, either in terms of content, execution or subject, completely ignoring the writing department. But the, success will surely get both the KHANS back in business, unarguably one of the two superstars of Hindi cinema.... full review

So-So, Deccan Chronicle : ...Siddharth Anand and Shah Rukh Khan deliver a top-of-the-rack, leave-your-brains-behind action thriller that not only reiterates SRK’s position as the numero uno but also that hate and no-brainers have a great market.... full review

So-So, by Vivek M V, Deccan Herald : ...The final scene is a tad heart-warming as we see Shah Rukh and Salman, two of the biggest stars of Indian cinema, in a friendly chat. They talk about how irreplaceable their aura is. One hopes the actors are more self-aware and the scene was a nice l... Read more at: full review

So-So, by Rohit Bhatnagar, Free Press Journal : ...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.... full review

So-So, by Sanjana Deshpande, Free Press Journal : ...Pathaan, although is a typical Hindi spy film, is entertaining especially with Shah Rukh Khan displaying his tested charm amidst the save-India exercise. The break from jingoism spotted in films these days was refreshing.... full review

So-So, Hindustan Times : ...Go watch it for Shah Rukh Khan and you would only come back with a smile, and maybe grooving a bit. Don't miss the scene just before end credits for it's not everyday you see two superstars in a banter about their stardom.... full review

So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...‘Pathaan’ is that sateek jawaab of this beleaguered pathaan, who manages multiple feats in his come-back after a clutch of medium-bad to terrible films : gives it those ones to the #BoycottBollywood brigade, pulls off the dishy-and-dishevelled look rippling those abs, give us a laugh-out-loud moment ( I won’t ruin it for you, but it involves a line from an early SRK character, also in a YRF film, which would have become eminently meme-worthy if memes were a thing those days) and saves Bharat Mata.... full review

So-So, by Sameer Ahire, Movie Talkies : ...Pathaan has two songs, Besharam Rang and Jhoome Jo Pathaan, and both are decent. The former is a visual phenomenon of glamour and sex appeal, while the latter is more like an anthem song that you usually expect in the end credits. And don’t you leave the auditorium because there’s another scene that confirms that “Spy-universe Zinda Hai…”. The cinematography and background score is captivating and thrilling.... full review

So-So, by Anuj Kumar, The Hindu : ...Siddharth focuses too much on choreographing action, often leaving emotions hanging by a thread, but it is the individual charm of the performers that makes up for the lack of strong emotional core. No wonder, early in the film, a scientist says, science is easy; love is hard.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

2 readers - 2 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Want to Watch, by Harpreet Singh

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Raj : Bollywood seriously needed a wholesome entertainer

Yay! Thumbs Up, by TimELiebe : Could it be that Americans FINALLY Get Why We Love Indian Entertainers...?

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads and loads. Even if it is not on the screen, some of the implied torture is gruesome.
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Skimpily-clad people.
  • Concept: Soldiers gone rogue. Other soldiers trying to save the world from the rogue ones.
  • General Look and Feel: Slick action.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Pathaan - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Running time:
145 minutes

Comments (5)

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Harpreet Singh

Thank you for that review, it’s just what I needed. Off to Cinemark this evening with my family of 4 !


Dear Meeta, couldn't resist my temptation to catch up your review from the ICU bed. Alas.. I can't head to the cinema-hall...! Would LOVE watching this..! Heard that fans are going GA-GA over Bhai's entry..! (smiles)

@Harpreet glad you went for it. And hope you all enjoyed.

@Raj ouch. Hope you are doing better and wish you a speedy recovery.

Just so you know, PATHAAN has become such a huge international hit even AMERICAN movie sites are talking about it! They're comparing SRK to Tom Cruise - I was a bad me, and went in to respond that unlike Cruise, Shah Rukh Khan actually has talent! :D

I confess to it being a pleasant surprise that America in the last year has suddenly gotten on board with Indian movies, thanks to this one and RRR. (I'd be more impressed with its Oscar nomination for Best Song if A.R. Rahman hadn't already won for "Jai Ho!")

OTOH, I don't know how you're going to feel when more Americans loving "Bollywood Movies!" like me drop in on your site, Meeta.... ;)

@TimELiebe ha ha ha ha. The more the merrier! A warm welcome to all.

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