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Hindi film Pathaan was in the eye of a storm before it hit the screens. The saffron bikini heroine Deepika Padukone wore dancing with hero Shah Rukh Khan had got on the nerves of the saffron brigade, which tried its best to protest against the film’s screening. However, the film saw the light of day on January 25 amid #boycottpathaan calls on social media.
Is the film controversial, as some claim? Aside from the controversy, is it worth watching?
A spy adventure: *Spoilers ahead*
A spy-thriller that goes through many twists and turns like in a game of Snakes and Ladders, Pathaan is a tale of a larger-than-life seeming hero butchering all evil-doers and emerging triumphant. Just like the very many movies made before it.
When a conspiracy is hatched abroad against India, the hero, an undercover agent, has no other job but to hop from country to country to get to the bottom of the plot. Meanwhile he flirts with the heroine who is from Pakistan. If you question the hero’s scruples in this regard, you have probably not seen James Bonds’ romances with the heroines of Russia. That is what Shah Rukh Khan does as well.
As the story does not revolve around a young man, SRK’s face and appearance does reveal a bit of age, but nobody’s about to complain. Parodying commercial Tamil and Telugu potboilers for a while, SRK has finally stooped to the level of a commercial hero, fulfilling the expectations triggered by his four-year-long hibernation after his last film Zero.
John Abraham plays the villain with equal might, and he comes across as content with doing his job well, beating and getting beaten. But as both hero and villain roam about bare-chested, it feels like a fashion show.
A spy-thriller that goes through many twists and turns like in a game of Snakes and Ladders, Pathaan is a tale of a larger-than-life seeming hero butchering all evil-doers and emerging triumphant. Just like the very many movies made before it
As if not willing to be outdone by the two top men, heroine Deepika Padukone sashays in, displaying her own charms.
Just as Judi Dench appeared as M in James Bond’s movies, Dimple Kapadia pops her head in. Gifted actor Ashutosh Rana makes his presence felt in just a couple of frames. Satchith Paulose’s cinematography and the score composed by Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara have helped the hero’s adrenaline rush rub off on the audience.
Editing and other technological features are well done. The VFX, though, is a tad imperfect. Particularly, Pathaan’s stunts look like those of our local stunt master Anal Arasu.
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The craftsmanship of Sridhar Raghavan’s screenplay makes up for the logical defects inherent in the storyline. The Tamil-dubbed version of Pathaan has dialogues and songs that fit neatly and elegantly into the whole scheme.
Pathaan would have passed by as yet another Hindi film but for the controversy that gripped the Besharam Rang song scene showing SRK wearing green and Padukone in a saffron bikini. The video released on YouTube seems like a pre-release publicity stunt because in the actual film, SRK and Padukone are wearing different coloured costumes in the fleeting scene. The scene was probably re-shot.
It is widely thought that in real life, SRK’s father belongs to Pakistan and to Afghanistan’s Pashtun ethnic group, whereas his relatives in Pakistan claim they had migrated from Kashmir. Interestingly, SRK was shown as a member of the Pathaan ethnic group in Kamal’s film Hey Ram as well. Anyhow, SRK has widely been labelled with the Pathaan tag in real life.
The film Pathaan puts forward in passing a critical remark that justifies Pakistan’s point of view and that the Indian government does not care about the good people who have struggled for the good of the country. This criticism, though subdued, has the potential to provoke a row.
The film also pokes fun at the rumours that after the BJP captured power, the dominance of Khans in Bollywood – Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan – has dwindled
The film also pokes fun at the rumours that after the BJP captured power, the dominance of Khans in Bollywood – Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan – has dwindled.
Salman Khan, who gave a memorable performance as Tiger in Ek Tha Tiger, acts in a stunt scene with SRK in Pathaan. In the last scene, both speak lines that indicate they have become tired of 30 years of running and had better give way to young actors. When talking about who will be the right young man they want to patronise, however, they mock at the young breed and finally decide to keep running for the sake of protecting the country.
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This feels like a message that the Khans will continue to dominate Bollywood. The way both SRK and Salman Khan speak reminds us of the haughty style of Rajini and Vijay.
If you want just an entertainer as a stress buster, go watch Pathaan, which is a spy thriller to the core.
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