Watching an espionage thriller is always a treat. After all, Hollywood is replete with slick and suave spy films – from Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible to Matt Damon’s Bourne Identity – there is no dearth of these commercial entertainers in the West. But something about Shah Rukh Khan’s venture as a RAW agent in Pathaan’s trailer just stands out – either because it’s the right amount of desi and videsi or because its high-octane action sequences rival that of commercially successful Hollywood franchises.
Despite the awe Shah Rukh has incited in the audience, one cannot help but take note of the tropes and filmy dialogues that we have grown to love and sometimes poke fun at.
Here are some thoughts I had while watching Pathaan’s trailer:
1. The trailer begins with a threat – there is going to be an attack on India by a terrorist group. But honestly, it’s John Abraham’s (our antagonist) articulation of this seemingly unimaginable, never-heard-before, massive attack that had me splits. I thought to myself – why are the stakes often-times ridiculously high and unfathomable in films such as these? I am fresh out of answers – but these somewhat gimmicky dialogues are the bedrock of every commercial movie. Abraham’s ‘Ye negotiation nhi hai ultimatum hai’ might be a popular meme-churning catchphrase.
2. I love how the trailer of the film teases the right amount of patriotic fervour – but how Dimple Kapadia keeps a straight face while delivering the dialogue – ‘Ab Pathaan ke ‘vanvas’ ka time khatam hua’ is beyond me. My mind went into a frenzy with umpteen interpretations from this one dialogue – recalling that Shah Rukh was once actually called Ram and not only implied as such, in another movie of similar tonality, Main Hoon Na. Although those were different times with a different political climate.
3. An unbelievably attractive heroine is sent to fetch the exiled hero – this also happens to be the plot for every James Bond film ever. And of course, this is a pure coincidence. Deepika Padukone’s ruthless action sequences, although flawless seem especially dangerous when she is skimpily clad. But stripping a heroine of all her glamour would be a disservice to its evident James Bondesque roots. Fortunately, Deepika, for the most part (except in the dance numbers) is heavily suited and booted.
4. Shah Rukh is such a joy to watch on screen. I am not even a fan, and I can’t help but fan-girl over his easy-macho-swagger. You can’t whittle off all the overdone tropes, and Bollywood one-liners from the trailer even if you tried. But you will do it for the King of Romance and now the King of Action only to watch him fly (quite literally).
5. It’s rare to find a Bollywood trailer that does not reveal the entire plot of the film. And the sheer fact that Pathaan has somehow managed to do that shows promise. But let’s be honest, we all know what the movie is about with or without the trailer and we’ll flock to the theatres nonetheless.