Shah Rukh Khan launches Pathan after 4 years

After 4 years of waiting for a Shah Rukh movie, Pathan is finally here. And it’s a non stop thrill ride.

Shah Rukh stars as Pathan, an Indian intelligence agent who is fighting to save India from evil forces represented by the mononymous Jim (John Abraham). Dimple Kapadia plays SRK’s no-nonsense boss. It’s all very Indian James Bond. There’s even a holographic gadget man.

Then Jim, despite his unimpressive name (what happened to the days of villain names like Gabbar Singh and Mogambo?) manages to kidnap a scientist from under Pathan’s nose. We learn that he’s in search of a mysterious object called Raktbeej, and Pathan must get to it before he does. To add to the mix, Jim’s top lieutenant is the dangerously sexy Rubai (Deepika Padukone in full femme fatale form).

What follows is two hours of high octane fun: spectacular airborne fight sequences with complete disregard for the laws of physics, some equal opportunity skin show, great songs and one wildly applauded cameo. There’s even a fight on a frozen lake! 

A little more conversation, a little less action please

Pathan is pure action from start to end credit scene. Aside from a brief romantic moment when he bandages the heroine’s bloody wounds, SRK spends most of his time glowering at the bad guys. His relationship with Dimple is the real heart of the movie. Fun as all the adrenalin is, SRK action movies always feel like a bit of a waste because they don’t leverage his considerable charm. Instead, we get a shirtless Shah Rukh showing shiny six pack abs (The oil budget alone must have cost a fortune). The actor is 57, so depending on what you want to believe, this is either an amazing physical feat or a skillful CGI effect. Judging by the screams in my theater, no one cared. 

Shah Rukh Khan Courts Controversy

The film has caused much controversy in India, the big one being the saffron color of Deepika’s bikini in one song. Activists have called it offensive to Hinduism, protestors are burning Shah Rukh posters, and several political leaders have criticized the movie. Ironic, because Pathan is a very patriotic film—there are speeches about putting country above individual, Pathan yells at a terrorist for not speaking Hindi, and everyone is ready to sacrifice themselves at the drop of a hat.

And yet, sadly, in today’s charged atmosphere, it seems like even that is not enough.


Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Ashutosh Rana.

Director: Siddharth Anand

Sandhya Char has been contributing to India Currents since 2002. Her work has appeared in several publications including in India West, India Post, Rediff/India abroad, ComputerEdge magazine and Shadowed...