Finally, the wait is over and the Badshaah of Bollywood has arrived with a storm that has swept away an entire nation. It could have just been an ordinary day. A Wednesday. A day in the middle of the week, almost at the fag end of a month, when the purse of the middle class dries up. When people stop living and almost start dreaming. Hang on! There is an outright entertainer in India who had some other plans. To do things only and only he can do. To make a festival out of a very ordinary day. Yes, King Khan arrived. Pathaan arrived and made the whole country dance to his tunes. Cinema halls in many states opened at 6 am, hitherto unseen in the history of Indian movies and fans lined up at the Box office to have that experience of a lifetime. FDFS of Pathaan. Seriously speaking when a friend of mine shared a pic of how the audience went crazy at the 6.30 am show with the tagline’ FDFS’, it took me some time to understand what it actually meant. Oh, First Day First Show! And the entire day for me was like when the wait would end and I would be at the theatre in the evening show to experience the comeback of the man who has actually taught me many lessons through his life. I can go on sharing how he has changed me in many ways. But let’s reserve that for another article. It’s a review and as my initial emotions dry down a bit, I’ll come to the moot.
Please do not go for ‘Pathaan’ if you are expecting it to be a ‘Paths of Glory’. Do not even expect a ‘Chak De’ which in my personal opinion is the best product SRK has delivered so far. It’s a statutory warning that if you are going to the theatre to find some loopholes in the plot, you better sit at home and watch ‘Swades’, another masterpiece from the man whom we may love, we may hate but surely, we cannot ignore. But if you want to experience what stardom is, what fandom is, what comeback is, this is surely for you. There are at least a dozen scenes where I am sure you will miss the dialogues because of the frenzied whistles and cheers of the fans for their icon. It has been years literally since we experienced such craze at the Box Office and as I had already written in my preview this was long due. The way the South has forayed into mainstream India in terms of entertainment, people almost started forgetting that once upon a time, Bollywood had delivered blockbusters for which even the dreams of the common people in India used to come with silver shades, symbolizing the proximity of peoples’ hearts and the silver screen. When was the last time you heard whistles in multiplexes? When was the last time people threw their hard-earned money at the screens because the screen was showing the star they love. Watch ‘Pathaan’ for such surreal romanticisms, for such lost memories of what stardom used to be in India. When ‘Agneepath’ released, I was barely a ten-year-old kid and seeing the excitement of my seniors around, I used to think ‘Is Bacchan so big?’ My ten-year-old son and five-year-old daughter must be having the same feeling today, seeing the excitement of their father for a name even they love and admire. SRK.
Story-wise ‘Pathaan’ is something close to zero. Direction of Siddharth Anand is okayish. The brain often takes a backseat and you see crazy things happening on the screen. But has ‘Pathaan’ ever promised to be a cinematic masterpiece? It had just one promise. And there it delivers wholly. An entertainer with the highest level of star value and a promise that the star power of this man is much, much, much , much more powerful than the hate speeches of the boycott gangs all-over the nation. I have always believed that hatred can never outnumber love and ‘Pathaan’ is a classy example of my belief.
John Abraham as the monstrous Jim is scary and I am sure this movie is going to catapult his drowning career to a great extent. In fact, John as Jim is going to be a cult villain the days to come. Just one thing, he really needs to work on that smile and those mannerisms. Deepika as the sultry svelte kicks asses and is a stunner and she nails her role in the action scenes. People burning the effigies of her for that song should burn the devils residing inside them and admit that in several scenes she matched Ursula Andress or Halle Berry of Bond or Rebecca Fergusson of Mission Impossible. She is stunning and even in an action movie like this she never stopped letting her eyes talk. Ashutosh Rana was wasted. Dimple Kapadia was amazing in her role. But it is one and only SRK you root for throughout the movie. I am 14 years junior to him and I am not ashamed to accept that if I can have that energy, that passion, that zeal to succeed at his age, I’ll consider my life successful. He does not extend his arms this time, a hallmark of his stardom. Rather, I could not find a position in front of the selfie stand because so many fans were posing in that style. His wit, his dialogue delivery timing, his swag, his charisma everything was there in ‘Pathaan’. Some of the action scenes are way above what India has witnessed so far. The chase scene on the ice is a masterclass. There is a surprising and refreshing cameo of Salman Khan in the second half and even though it has nothing to do with the plot, it surely refreshes the memories of Karan- Arjun. Only ‘Bhaag, Arjun Bhaag’ changes to ‘Bhaag , Pathaan Bhaag’.
Finally, please do not judge this movie by its story or subpar direction. SRK is already working on that with Hirani ji. But if you are planning to miss ‘Pathaan’ because you have been misled by a gang of buffoons, kursi ki peti bandh lo, yeh Pathaan ka mehmaan nawaazi is something unmissable.
Watch it on IMAX theatres only.