'Pathaan' Movie Review: The soaring success of the SRK starrer is set change the face of Indian cinema

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature

By Murtaza Ali Khan

After a long smear campaign that tried to put it down, the highly-anticipated Shah Rukh Khan starrer Pathaan has finally hit the theatres the world over. For the fans of Shah Rukh Khan, it is nothing less than a carnival. They are coming to the theatres in huge numbers which is reflected by the long queues that can be seen outside the theatres everywhere. All this has resulted in a huge opening for Pathaan (with the domestic collection crossing the 55 crore mark on Day 1, making it the biggest opener ever for Indian cinema) and the long Republic Day weekend is set to catapult its weekend collections to unprecedented numbers in Hindi cinema's history.

Pathaan is a paean to the unsung heroes of India who day in and day out put their lives on the line in order to protect the glory of the motherland by guarding it against its countless enemies and forces that are trying to weaken it. These are spies, soldiers on covert operations, members of the intelligence network, whose sacrifices often go unnoticed. The Siddharth Anand-directed Pathaan in its unique own way takes us on a whirlwind global adventure with these selfless soldiers committed to the highest ideals of duty and sacrifice.

In terms of massy cinematic entertainment, Pathaan has everything that anyone can ask or hope for: adrenaline-pumping action, non-stop thrill and adventure, endless twists and turns, exotic locations, a-list actors at the top of their game, cutting edge CGI and VFX, and jaw-dropping stunts.  Also, both the film's songs are already chartbusters. The time-tested pairing of SRK and Deepika Padukone is another major crowd puller. Not to mention, John Abraham's return to playing antagonistic badass characters after a long hiatus. Also, watch out for a surprise cameo from someone very special.

The soaring success of Pathaan is set change the face of Indian cinema. It will encourage more filmmakers to make big budget action extravaganzas and multi-starrers shot across very many different locations across the world, not unlike the James Bond, Fast and Furious, and Mission: Impossible films. Also, the birth of the YRF Spy Universe is set to usher in a new era of franchise-based storytelling unpinned by not just sequels but also crossovers and spinoffs. Henceforth, whenever we look at the Hindi cinema, it will always be marked by the following dichotomy: Bollywood before Pathaan and Bollywood after Pathaan.

A version of this review was first published in The Indian Panorama.

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