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Pathaan review: Shah Rukh Khan returns as the 'Badshah' of the silver screen and how!

Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan prove that they still have the magic. It’s a great popcorn outing!


Go watch Shah Rukh Khan in and as Pathaan NOW!

Last Updated: 02.27 PM, Jan 25, 2023


Can RAW agent Pathaan (Shah Rukh Khan) convince his crotchety superiors that the broken beaten agents can be put together back like the Japanese Kintsugi and be of service to the nation? His team is tested by a rogue outfit called ‘Group X’ who are like terrorists without borders. The head of that rogue team is an ex RAW agent Jim (John Abraham) who is happy to unleash terror on India. Pathaan’s job is to stop Jim and save the country. 

The story seems simple enough, except that Pathaan is Shah Rukh Khan and that’s enough to draw a full house all over the country simply because it will be a challenge to see the Badshah of Romance pick up a gun and fight. 

It could have been horribly predictable. Pakistan is the villain, and Deepika Padukone will need rescuing from John Abraham who plays the villain Jim. Jim’s back story is predictable: his pregnant wife is killed because the country does not negotiate with terrorists. But John Abraham makes for a super fit villain. His wild ride on a motorbike across the snows at Jungfraujoch being chased by Shah Rukh Khan makes for a very believable sequence. And yes, the fights in the film are brilliantly choreographed and worth every shuddering of the IMAX seat.


Shah Rukh Khan has buffed up pretty spectacularly and makes for a fabulous action hero. The action is really cool, and the plot twists are very nice. The hurt and betrayal that you see in Shah Rukh’s eyes, you feel it too. Yes, John Abraham is super fit as a villain and his dimples are still cute, but his voice does not allow the character to be heartless. 

The fight scenes in Dubai seem very Marvel’s Winter Soldier and too unrealistic. But the train scene where the filmmakers drop a bombshell on the audience? Wow! Just wow! To see two superstars fight shoulder to shoulder after 28 years is a treat that needs a rewind and replay mechanism in our movies. It means people will go back to the theatre for these moments. 

Shah Rukh Khan in Pathaan (Image via YouTube/Screengrab)
Shah Rukh Khan in Pathaan (Image via YouTube/Screengrab)

The background music is cranked up high for the action parts. But on the IMAX screen the effect is just awesome. You don’t feel your ear-drums tear because your voice box is already beyond repair hooting and screaming with everyone else. And there’s plenty of humour, including ‘K-K- Kiran’...

The controversy that was created is based on such a flimsy moment in the movie, the people who are ready to boycott the movie will miss out on a very patriotic, very ‘India is best’ themed movie. Plus Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan prove that they still have the magic. It’s a great popcorn outing! Go to the biggest screen in your city and watch!

About the author:
Manisha Lakhe writes on films and TV shows, is a poet, teacher, traveller and mom (and not necessarily in that order). Could sell her soul for Pinot and a good cheesecake.


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