After a long hiatus, Bollywood gave us a massy action-thriller film in Pathaan. Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, and John Abraham, the success of the movie is proof that people were desperately waiting for a Bollywood-style dhamaal amidst the lousy remake era Bollywood tried venturing into.
What’s interesting to note is that it is very easy for these Bollywood massy films to turn into a disaster. A little overboard and it can easily be branded as outlandish, frivolous, or even a spoof. Pathaan bravely balanced all the elements (the cast, the scenes, the dialogues) and walked the tightrope to give us the film that we were looking for.
While we cannot deny that Pathaan is a classic over-the-top action movie, the movie still has its moments of realness. Moments where despite the action sequences, the scenes depict such honesty and self-awareness that you are bound to take note of it. And if you are an SRK fan, you would love the SRK movie references the movie throws at you (spoiler alert).
The Bollywood action hero is always projected as indomitable with a ‘mard ko dard nahi hota‘ spirit running in his veins. Shah Rukh’s Pathaan subverted this and gave us a flesh-and-blood hero who, very realistically, asks for painkillers!
And guess who gives him those painkillers? *wink wink*
While this scene is there for a clever comic relief, you have to give credit to the makers for giving us a hero that is real and raw. And of course, if you have the two Khans on screen, the theatre is bound to go gaga. There is a scene where Pathaan and Tiger make a clever reference to the state of events around them. They note how they have been at this for almost 30 years now and with the sorry state of events around them they cannot leave the job to the kids.
When you think of it, you can only smile at how smartly they hinted at how long they have been ruling over the Hindi film industry. And quite frankly, if you ask me, no one else can do it better than them! And how can we forget the Bhaag Pathaan Bhaag, a Karan-Arjun moment adapted for Pathaan? Epic!
In the recent decade, Bollywood has made movies on topics that really matter beautifully – topics on which we needed to talk and topics that had to be brought to the mainstream. While we are not taking away the limelight from them, in fact, we need more of those movies. What we mean is how Bollywood was also lacking in these mainstream mass-appeal movies.
The success of Pathaan lies in these moments of realness and even self-depreciation which make you chuckle and also make you realize that you are watching a film solely for entertainment purposes. And that was, surely, missing for a long time.