Finally, the much-awaited Shah Rukh Khan-starrer 'Pathaan' hit the theatres on Wednesday. And, expectedly all the pre-release exhilaration translates into high energy rush as the film presents the story of an Indian spy, who takes on the leader of a group of mercenaries who has nefarious plans to target his homeland, captivating the audience.
That the lead actor is the 'Badshah' of Bollywood gives the fans all the more reason to scream, dance and sing in the cinema halls. Serpentine queues for a 6 a.m. show is a rarity in India, at least for a Hindi film.
In short, the film is an espionage thriller that is most likely to lead box office collections. Pathaan (Shah Rukh) is an exiled RAW field operative who is assigned to take down his old nemesis, Jim (John Abraham), a former RAW agent turned rogue.
Jim leads 'Outfit X', a private terrorist organisation, which is planning to spread a deadly virus dubbed 'Raktbeej' across India. The virus, if unleashed, could be much deadlier than any other virus winessed by the mankind.
Right from the opening scene, the unusually fast-paced plot moves with RAW agents, spies, terrorists and a Pakistani Army officer scheming and plotting in different parts of the world.
Rattled by the revocation of Article 370, which granted special status to the eratwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, by the Indian government, Pakistan has all the evil intentions and the wherewithal to infiltrate and annihilate the Indian territory.
For this purpose, Jim, who has a past and had been double-crossed by Indians earlier, is hired. And here comes yet another ex-ISI agent, Rubina Khan (Deepika Padukone), leaving many guessing as to who teams with whom.
Pathaan, a diehard patriot who had retired, is called back by his boss Nandini (Dimple Kapadia). Meanwhile, their supreme boss, Colonel Sunil Luthra (Ashutosh Rana), is left worried, still trying to figure out what move to adopt to save human lives with threat of destruction looming large.
With gun-toting agents spreading destruction all around, a svelte and sexy Rubina is seen displaying her charm in a bikini that had riled up the saffron outfits until a few weeks ago when the song 'Besharam Rang' was released on internet.
Of course, she is aware of the past and present danger and knows precisely whom to side with as more and more evil-intentioned men appear on the scene. Amid such chaos, if there's one ray of hope it's obviously the presence of the most sought-after, most-loved, and fearless Pathaan.
With James Bond-like intensity, Pathaan has supreme fight sequences to match. Crammed with high octane action that is virtually frenziedly uninterrupted and relentless, there's not a single moment that would make the viewers take a breather.
Shah Rukh, who needs a box office blockbuster badly, is perhaps the only actor who could have looked lethal with his six -packs and delivering lines in hushed tones that melts Padukone.
His charm remains intact as he tries to briefly romance, while all along diving and jumping from mountains and rooftops in a bid to oust his enemies. And it isn't just his young looks, his energy is so infectious that many among the cinegoers whistled every time he scored a point over his opponent.
Such is his impact and following! Padukone too proves why she was the one chosen by Hollywood to don colourful bodysuits, leggings and catsuits. John Abraham too is a perfect foil to Khan's ripping muscles and performs well.
To match Khan's young looks, he too manages to sport a dashing fresh youthful look. The action scenes are at par with any Hollywood production, while the cinematography by Satchith Paulose captures some exquisite landscapes in Spain, Russia, Dubai, Italy and France.
Though there is not much scope for songs in such a narrative, Vishal-Shekhar numbers are extremely catchy. All those who are still worried about Bollywood's no show for months, can decisively breathe easy with the satisfaction that given the right production, engaging script and mega stars at the helm, Hindi cinema should be back on track!