Pathaan review: An unrelatable SRK, hyperbolic action and predictable thrills

For a change, not Shah Rukh but Deepika & John steal the show in this yet another instalment from the YRF Spy Universe.

ByManigandan KR

Published:Jan 26, 2023

pathan shah rukh khan
Deeply disappoints!

Pathaan (Hindi)

  • Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Ashutosh Rana, Dimple Kapadia, Gautam Rode, Gavie Chahal, Shaji Choudhary, and Salman Khan (cameo)
  • Director: Siddharth Anand
  • Producer: Aditya Chopra
  • Music: Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara
  • Runtime: 2 hours 26 minutes

Director Siddharth Anand’s Pathaan is a run-of-the-mill commercial entertainer that deeply disappoints as it has nothing new or significant to offer.

The film seems to have a story which, if it does not put you to sleep, strangely reminds you of popular sequences from several other films.

Siddharth Anand’s love for spies continues in this Shah Rukh Khan-starrer as well.

In War, it was an agent going after his mentor in the intelligence agency. In Pathaan, it is the intelligence agency’s current best going after the agency’s former best.

The similarities are too striking and hard to miss. Before we proceed any further, here is the synopsis.

The plot

The film starts with the news of the Indian government scrapping Article 370 which accorded special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The news rattles Pakistan’s top generals, who decide it is time to shake hands with the devil himself to bring India to her knees and capture Kashmir.

The devil, in this case, is a terror outfit that specialises in carrying out terror strikes for the sake of money.

Even as this development takes place, an Indian intelligence agency specialising in covert operations is busy on the dark net, tracking information about a private terrorist outfit that operates for money.

The terror outfit, they find, is looking to target an international scientific conference that is to happen in Dubai next.

Initially, they believe the target is India’s President who is to deliver the keynote address at the gathering.

Pathaan (Shah Rukh Khan), the top agent of the agency, and his unit descend on the scene to capture the terror unit even as the NSG accords protection to India’s President.

pathaan still shah rukh khan

Shah Rukh Khan in a still from ‘Pathaan’. (yrf/Twitter)

However, they are in for a surprise as they realise that the mercenaries are not there for the President but for two other Indian scientists participating in the conference.

The fact that this terror unit is headed by Jim (John Abraham), a former RAW operative who has now turned rogue, hits them harder.

The terrorists manage to kidnap the scientists and make good their escape. But Pathaan is in no mood to relent. He chooses to hunt them down.

One thing leads to another and soon, Pathaan finds that Jim has an elite team comprising former agents of different nationalities and that includes Rubina Mohsin, a former ISI agent.

As Pathaan tries to know what Jim is up to, he realises that his enemy is after something called the “Blood Seed”. As Pathaan tries to get the “Blood Seed” before Jim, he strangely finds an ally in Rubina Mohsin.

What is the Blood Seed and why are Rubina and Jim so desperately looking for it? The movie gives you the answers to this question and more.

Exaggerated action scenes

The film has long, intense action sequences that speak volumes of the money that the producers must have splurged in the hope of making the film appear grand.

Sadly though, the sequences don’t impress. The fights are exaggerated and seem to be on predictable lines.

Salman Khan makes a cameo appearance in an action sequence that is highly exaggerated. To his credit, his action sequence with Shah Rukh makes you laugh.

However, a scene where they feature together reminds you of a scene in Karan Arjun.

The performances

The actors use all fashionable gadgets and fancy techniques in a desperate bid to win your attention. But all that they succeed in doing is evoking your pity.

One notable feature of the film is its raunchy songs where Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone exhibit their well-toned bodies.

Deepika sizzles as the Pakistani spy. Apart from exuding feminine charm, the actress also delivers a commendable performance as a double agent who keeps switching loyalties as the situation demands.

Shah Rukh, despite his age, manages to retain his six-pack. But he seems to have lost his appeal which won him the hearts of his admirers.

In Pathaan, he comes across as a top-notch agent but doesn’t manage to strike a chord with the audiences, who find him cold and unrelatable.

John Abraham, who plays Jim, comes up with a powerful performance. He looks convincing on screen and in some scenes, manages to exude more charm than King Khan himself.


In short, Pathaan is just another thriller without any thrills.

(Views expressed are personal.)