Tag Archives: Pathaan

Movie Review: Pathaan (2023)

3 Stars (out of 4)

This is a review of the Extended Edition of Pathaan playing on Amazon Prime

Pathaan delivers exactly what you’d expect from a blockbuster action entertainer starring Shah Rukh Khan as a super spy. The newest entry into the Yash Raj Films “Spy Universe” of pictures — which also includes Ek Tha Tiger, its sequel, and War — features Khan as the title character. He goes by a nickname given to him by Afghani villagers he saved from a missile decades earlier when he was simply a soldier, before he started working in intelligence.

Pathaan founded a special sub-unit within RAW consisting of fellow soldiers previously deemed too damaged emotionally or physically to continue working in the armed forces. With a renewed sense of purpose, the members of the JOCR (pronounced “joker”) unit embark upon India’s most dangerous covert missions.

JOCR’s main enemy is Jim (John Abraham), the former partner of Hrithik Roshan’s character Kabir in War. After being betrayed by the Indian government, Jim commands a team of mercenaries contracted by a Pakistani general to retaliate against India for revoking Kashmir’s special status. Jim is more than happy for the chance to get his revenge.

In a movie that is blatantly patriotic, Jim’s status as a former Indian soldier and spy makes him a more compelling villain than if he was just a random foreign adversary with a grudge. Jim forces Pathaan to consider whether the country that he loves really loves him back and raises the question as to what a nation owes its soldiers in return for their sacrifice. It’s a thoughtful counterpoint to the many blindly patriotic films released these days.

It helps that John Abraham plays Jim as a fun and charismatic villain.

During Pathaan’s quest to stop Jim’s dastardly plan, he is both helped and hindered by Rubia (Deepika Padukone), a Pakistani agent working undercover as one of Jim’s lackeys. For evidence that Pathaan is not a movie grounded in gritty realism, one need look no further than Rubia’s spy wardrobe, which consists mostly of bustiers and swimwear. Even her flight suit shows cleavage.

Pathaan‘s periodically goofy tone requires a certain amount of buy-in, but this is a movie made for an audience already fond of its leading man. Instead of simply saying, “Ow,” when he’s punched, Pathaan whines “Ow ow ow,” evoking memories of some of the less macho heroes Khan has played in the past. You’re never not aware that you are watching Shah Rukh Khan, but that’s part of the fun.

In terms of action, Pathaan is at its best during scenes of close-quarters fighting, as when Pathaan is introduced or when he’s aided by a special guest while on a prison transport train. The larger scale set pieces — which involve innumerable helicopters — are not as impressive, but that’s less of a commentary on their quality but a factor of CGI-fatigue. Even the most novel computer-generated sequences look like the weightless, manufactured stunts they are at this point (and that goes for most Hollywood action blockbusters as well).

Since suspension of disbelief is such a big part of Pathaan, it’s best just to enjoy the film for what it is. The cast looks hot, the dance sequences are sexy, and good triumphs over evil — not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.

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Streaming Video News: March 21, 2023

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with today’s streaming debut of Pathaan. Shah Rukh Khan’s entry into the Yash Rash Films spy universe has earned $17,367,368 in North America during its theatrical run, according to Box Office Mojo.

I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with the announcement of the new series Tooth Pari: When Love Bites, premiering April 20. The show stars Tanya Maniktala as a vampire who falls in love with the shy dentist (played by Shantanu Maheshwari, who was adorable as the love-struck tailor’s apprentice in Gangubai Kathiawadi) who fixes her broken tooth. Sikander Kher, Revathy, Tillotama Shome, and Adil Hussain round out a pretty stellar cast. I’m kind of excited about this:

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Prime Video Presents India 2022 Event

Amazon Prime Video India held a big press event today to announce the slate of original and licensed Indian content they plan to release over the next two years. The company’s YouTube channel published a short video with footage from some of the featured titles:

Variety’s Naman Ramachandran posted descriptions for the entire slate of new series and movies in the works. His article also mentions all of the series set to return with new seasons, including Breathe: Into the Shadows, Comicstaan, The Family Man, Four More Shots Please!, Made in Heaven, Mirzapur, Mumbai Diaries, Paatal Lok, and Panchayat.

The presentation also included mention of three “special collaborations” and co-productions, which will presumably get theatrical releases before streaming on Prime. Those are Tiku Weds Shiru (starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Avneet Kaur), Neeyat (Vidya Balan), and Ram Setu (Akshay Kumar).

On top of all that, Amazon went ahead and announced all of the titles that fall under their licensing associations with production houses Ajay Devgn Ffilms, Dharma Productions, Excel Entertainment, and Yash Raj Films for their forthcoming theatrical releases. Here are all the Hindi movies that will make their way onto Prime after their theatrical runs are over (by order of theatrical release date if known, then alphabetical):

  • Runway 34
  • Jayeshbhai Jordaar
  • Prithviraj
  • Govinda Naam Mera
  • Jug Jugg Jeeyo
  • Phone Bhoot
  • Shamshera
  • Thank God
  • Pathaan
  • Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani
  • Bholaa
  • Tiger 3
  • Drishyam 2
  • Fukrey 3
  • Jee Le Zara
  • Kho Gaye Hain Hum Kahan
  • Yudra

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