Pathaan – Movie review

The average age of India’s population is 28. Also, the Indian schooling system is abysmal. And to top that, most Indians have very poor reading habits. And the icing on this cake is – over indulgence with social media; a place for people with very limited attention span.

If any Indian movie maker considers these attributes, they will not make movies like ‘Inception,’ or an ‘avatar’ etc., but will prefer lifting snippets from various Hollywood movies, and string the assortments together to fix a movie. The idea is to make a movie for a mind of a 12-year-old kid.

Pathaan is a movie made by a mind of a 12-year-old.

And that is what ‘Pathaan’ is. Elementary or slightly less than that.

I was prepared to leave the movie at the interval. Probably the makers guessed that some would do this. But the interval happened with betrayal and suspense. And I waited just to see what was on offer post-interval. They betrayed me.

The movie ‘Pathaan’ chief promotion was the controversy over a few shots in a song sequence in the movie. Well, to me it was a damp bluff. They promoted the song as if is oozing with sex. Actually, it is a badly pictured song and contains none of the electricity with SRK and Deepika had shown their first movie together – On Shanti Om (2007). The idea may have been to re-create the six-pack magic again. But this time it’s pretty stale. This is not because the pair and the persona are repeated after 16 years. It is also not because SRK is now 2 years short of 60 and Deepika is now unfortunately married. The plain and simple reason which I could sense is – the song is bad, and the choreography is tacky.

The ‘controversial song’ Besharam Rang is neither ‘Besharam’ (shameless) and nor has any ‘Rang’ (colour).

Activism is also a paid profession. Once Mr. Modi used a word in his speech – Andolan-jivi – (आंदोलन जीवी) – people whose profession and livelihood are activism. Probably the makers of the movie paid a few vocal social media influencers. Even the Chief Minister (CM) of Assam made a killing. SRK called the CM and may have offered a generous campaign fund. The CM took to the tweeter and announced the august interaction with the superstar which occured strategically at 2 AM in the night.

Moota-Mooti, (roughly) key people (activists and a CM) promoted ‘Pathaan’ and did their jobs pretty well. They may have also earned pretty good too, besides saving much budget for promotions and advertisements. Great curiosity was generated, and before people became wiser about the movie, the makers made hay within days.

I grudge the fact that this drivel will earn 400 to 500 crores. Even more, who knows? And the common understanding of the movie trade is that these earnings by a movie cannot happen again for a long time now. If earnings and revenue are the aim, then ‘Pathaan’ has done its job. But movies like ‘Pathaan’ also leave disappointment in its wake. And the audiences are not all forgiving for long.

Also, there is learning from the movie. Ironically, some awful movies teach well. Next time, whenever there is a song controversy or story controversy about a movie, people will get smart and not fall for it. The makers/promoters of that movie could try to get cheap attention. It certainly worked with ‘Pathaan.’ It will work a few more times before such ploys lose steam. Then, not even a Chief Minister can save that movie.

None of the Pathaan stars have any presence. What has earned the movie attention is viral social-media.