Pathaan: An Overhyped Movie [OPINION]


Maanya Jain


So, the Bollywood movie Pathaan came out around January 25th, 2023 and I watched it last Tuesday. Let’s just say, I was honestly disappointed with the outcome. Given that it was a Shah Rukh Khan movie and featured other iconic Bollywood stars like Deepika Padukone and John Abraham with even a Salman Khan cameo, you would think that it’d be Bollywood movie of the year but sadly, it went below my expectations.

Let’s get started with the music. I thought the songs were okay but they weren’t very groundbreaking, but hey, that’s what I expected. “Besharam Rang” was probably the most basic song I’ve heard. I was expecting more especially since the actors in the movie have had amazing songs in their previous movies like “O O Jaane Jaana,” “Desi Girl,”  “Badtameez Dil,”  and “Tujh Mein Rab Dikhta Hai,” to name a few of my favorites from everyone’s respected movies. Now I know that the actors can’t really control what songs go into their movies, but I just feel if you have amazing actors who’ve been in plenty of movies with banger songs, that the composers should’ve put a bit more effort into the music knowing who it’s for. I could just have insanely high standards for music or listen to too many old Bollywood songs but I just thought that they heavily missed the mark. Now with “Jhoome Jo Pathaan,” I actually really liked this song. It does kind of sound like every other modern Indian song, but I can tolerate it. Overall, the music was subpar at best but I guess it wasn’t the worst music in the world.

Moving on from the songs, I will now talk about the actual plot. The plot is honestly kind of all over the place. I thought Raktbeej would be something like an all powerful weapon, which I guess a virus does technically count as a weapon, but definitely not what I was expecting. I understand that they were trying to capture the controversy that COVID-19 was made by a terrorist group but it was introduced so randomly and it’s also offensive. They should’ve given more and more clues throughout the movie that Raktbeej was a virus, but the writers kind of sprung it up on us without any sort of idea or warning.  

Also, that ice-skating scene to chase the orbs with the virus in it was literally the scene of the century. I could not stop laughing in the theater when the scene came on over how absurd it was, and I absolutely lost it when Deepika came out of the cave with her ice-skates. Rubai’s character was also very one-sided. I would’ve loved some sort of more in-depth backstory or that we at least could’ve seen the character development she went through rather than just being like “Oh she’s a ‘good guy’ now.” 

One concept I really do love is that there is a whole universe with this franchise with Ek Tha Tiger, Tiger Zinda Hai, War, Pathaan, and a Tiger 3 coming out soon. I absolutely love when writers connect their stories together into one universe. I don’t know about everyone else, but when I found out that Salman Khan was going to make a cameo as Tiger and then in the movie when they mentioned Kabir, I freaked out; it’s just such a creative way on how you can expand your story so much further.

As much as people can try to ignore it, this movie is insensitive to other prominent groups in South Asia, like Muslims. According to India Today, many Muslims are shocked that they’re religion is being portrayed in a bad light. While Pathaan himself was a Muslim, he didn’t exactly follow many of the Muslim practices and rules, with the whole ordeal between him and Rubai being very sexual. Along with this, the movie expands the divide between India and other countries. While most war related Bollywood movies are like that, it’s 2023, it should really stop being normalized. It could give everyone watching a wrong idea of what Islam is. Along with that, Pathaan as a Muslim character was very confusing. He would talk about how he would celebrate Eid with his Pathaan family but then not be religious at all. The switch is just very weird.

In conclusion, I give this movie a solid 5/10. There were some things I liked about the movie but there were also some scenes where I just stared at the screen in either complete confusion or continually asking, “why am I here?” Also, I don’t think Shah Rukh Khan is made for the action movie life. I could be super used to watching him as a romantic character, which he absolutely nails, rather than an action character where he feels out of place. As much as I question this movie, it’s overall watchable, but I definitely wouldn’t watch it again.