Pathaan is a 2023 Indian Hindi-language action thriller film co-written and directed by Siddharth Anand and produced by Aditya Chopra under Yash Raj Films. The fourth installment in the YRF Spy Universe, it stars Shah Rukh Khan in the title role, alongside Deepika Padukone and John Abraham, with Dimple Kapadia and Ashutosh Rana in supporting roles. Pathaan, an exiled RAW agent, works with ISI agent Rubina Mohsin to take down Jim, a former RAW agent, who plans to attack India with a deadly virus.
Principal photography commenced in November 2020 in Mumbai. The film was shot in various locations in India, Afghanistan, Spain, UAE, Turkey, Russia, Italy and France. The songs in the film were composed by Vishal–Shekhar, while Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara provided the score. The film was made on an estimated production budget of ₹235 crore (US$29 million) with a further ₹15 crore (US$1.9 million) spent on print and advertising. Against the norm, pre-release publicity was limited with no media interaction or public events.
Pathaan was theatrically released in India on 25 January 2023, coinciding with the Republic Day weekend. The film received positive reviews from critics, who praised its screenplay, direction, action sequences, music and cast performances.
The film set several box office records for a Hindi film, including the highest opening day, highest single day, highest opening weekend and highest opening week for a Hindi film in India. It eventually emerged as the highest-grossing Hindi film of all time in India and set records in all major overseas markets. Pathaan grossed ₹1,050.30 crore (US$130 million) worldwide, becoming the second highest-grossing Indian film of 2023 (highest before being surpassed by Khan’s next release Jawan), the third-highest-grossing Hindi film of all time, and the sixth-highest-grossing Indian film of all time.
2019: The Indian Government revokes Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which grants special status for Jammu and Kashmir. The news impacts a cancer-ridden Pakistani army general Qadir, who decides to exact vengeance against India and signs a contract with Jim, who leads a private terrorist organization called Outfit X.
2020: Pathaan is a RAW agent, who along with his senior officer Major Nandini Grewal open a unit dubbed “Joint Operations and Covert Research” (J.O.C.R.) in order to recruit former RAW agents and soldiers who were forced to retire due to past trauma or injury, but want to continue serving the country. With RAW joint secretary Colonel Sunil Luthra’s acceptance, Pathaan and his team head to Dubai to stop Outfit X’s suspected plans of attacking the President of India at a scientific conference. However, they realize that their actual plan was to kidnap two scientists Dr. Farooqui and Dr. Sahani and the information they received about the imminent attack on the President was just a ruse to mislead them.
Jim attacks the scientists’ convoy and Pathaan tries to stop him. A fight ensues where Jim manages to escape with Dr. Sahani. At the debrief back at the agency, Luthra reveals that Jim was a former RAW agent, who was awarded the Vir Puraskar for his bravery after the agency could not find his body when Somalian terrorists killed his wife and unborn child after the government refused to pay out the ransom demanded in 2003. He had apparently faked his death in order to seek vengeance against the agency and country for not saving his family.
Meanwhile, Pathaan learns about the codeword dubbed “Raktbeej” and also that the dead people in Dubai were ex-agents and their money was transferred from the account of Rubina Mohsin (Rubai), a Pakistani doctor in Spain. Pathaan travels to Spain and is captured by Jim’s men, where he also learns that Rubai is an ex-ISI agent. When Jim leaves his hideout, Rubai attacks Jim’s men and escapes with Pathaan. Rubai reveals that Raktbeej is in Moscow, where they travel to steal it before Jim does. However, Rubai betrays Pathaan and has him captured by the Russian police. It is revealed that Jim used Rubai to make Pathaan steal the Raktbeej for himself. Pathaan is captured, tortured and taken to prison by a train, but is saved by “Tiger”.
2022: Pathaan travels to Africa and captures Jim’s henchman Raafe. He meets Nandini and reveals about Jim purchasing two Saber missiles, while Nandini reveals Rubai’s location in Paris. Pathaan meets Rubai, who reveals that the Raktbeej is a mutated smallpox virus, which was forcibly developed by a captive Dr Sahani under Jim’s orders. She also expresses guilt about betraying Pathaan without knowing that her country would plan such a heinous attack. They travel to Jim’s lab in Siberia and manage to recover one orb containing the virus with great difficulty, while Jim escapes with the other orb. Luthra and Nandini reach Jim’s lab to take the orb back to India in order to develop a vaccine. Luthra also has Rubai arrested for having questionable loyalties.
At the Indian Institute of Contagious Diseases (IICD), Dr. Farooqui opens up the orb to Nandini without apparently finding anything. Jim calls them and reveals that the orb has already spread the virus in the facility. The infected scientists, along with Nandini die in the facility by shooting themselves, to curb the spread of the virus. Later, the facility is destroyed in a controlled blast. Jim provides an ultimatum to evacuate Indian soldiers out of Kashmir within 24 hours. Pathaan interrogates Raafe about the location of the missile and learns that the missile is situated in Afghanistan. After rescuing Rubai, they lure Jim’s associates into a trap and attack Jim’s base. Qadir is killed by Rubai after he activates the missile containing the virus. Pathaan chases after Jim with a jetpack and they both crash land into a cabin.
Meanwhile, Rubai deactivates the missile, but finds that Raktbeej is not in the missile, but instead in a passenger-bound airplane, which is about to land in Delhi. Rubai informs Pathaan, who finds that Jim has the detonator. Luthra calls the air traffic control to prevent the plane from landing in Delhi. In the cabin, Pathaan and Jim fight brutally, resulting in the cabin to begin sliding off a cliff. Despite getting stabbed by Jim, Pathaan steals the detonator, deactivates Raktbeej and kills Jim by throwing him out of the cabin as the foundation is about to break. Afterwards, Pathaan is reinstated into RAW and made as the head of J.O.C.R, while Nandini is posthumously awarded with the Vir Puraskar for her bravery.
In a mid-credits scene, Pathaan and Tiger are seen pondering about retiring and suggesting young agents who can replace them, but eventually decide to keep fighting the threats themselves.
- Shah Rukh Khan as Pathaan, a RAW agent
- Deepika Padukone as Dr. Rubina “Rubai” Mohsin, an ISI agent
- Grace Girdhar as a young Rubai
- John Abraham as Jim, leader of “Outfit X” and a former RAW Agent
- Dimple Kapadia as Dr. Nandini Grewal, head of the Joint Operations and Covert Research (JOCR)
- Ashutosh Rana as Colonel Sunil Luthra
- Prakash Belawadi as Dr. Sahani
- Prem Jhangiani as Dr. Farooqui
- Shaji Choudhary as Raza, member of JOCR
- Ekta Kaul as Shweta Bajaj, hacker and member of JOCR (IIT Chennai recruit)
- Diganta Hazarika as Joseph Mathews, sniper and member of JOCR
- Viraf Patel as Rishi Arya, intelligence analyst and member of JOCR (NDA recruit)
- Aakash Bhatija as Amol, member of JOCR
- Rajat Kaul as Raafe, Jim’s henchman, former GID agent
- Manish Wadhwa as General Qadir
- Rumi Khan as Jim’s henchman
- Mansi Taxak as Jim’s wife
- Ashutosh Singh as Rubai’s father
- Amanpreet Hundal as Rubai’s mother
- Keith Sequeira as Captain Mehra (Pilot)
- Rakesh Khatri as ATC Supervisor
- Mustafa Aksari as Fayyed, an African arms dealer
- Nikhat Khan as Sabba, Pathaan’s foster mother
- Salman Khan as Avinash “Tiger” Singh Rathore (cameo appearance)
Yash Raj Films, Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone and John Abraham officially announced Pathaan on 2 March 2022 on their social media accounts, revealing the release date with a first look teaser. It was previously teased by other cast members, including Salman Khan and Vishal Dadlani, on various occasions before. Dadlani announced the film on Twitter, stating, “No number from the past matters, no number in the future is too big. The whole world is waiting for Shah Rukh, more importantly, we’re all working on a kickass film with great songs.” This film is YRF’s first Dolby Cinema.
Shanoo Sharma was the casting director. Khan was cast in the film in September 2020. Padukone joined production that November, while Abraham rounded out the main cast in June, joining filming in Mumbai. Dimple Kapadia was cast in December 2020. Salman Khan was confirmed to make a cameo appearance in November 2020, reprising his role as Avinash Singh Rathore from the Tiger franchise.
Principal photography of the film began on 17 November 2020 in Mumbai. In January 2021, filming moved to Dubai. Some of the major action sequences including a long chase sequence were shot in the same schedule. On 12 April 2021, the crew took a two-day break. However, following the reports of some crew members of the film tested positive for COVID-19 and subsequent lockdown in Maharashtra, further schedules of the film were postponed. The filming resumed on 25 June at Yash Raj Studios in Mumbai. Later in July, another schedule of the film began. Padukone began filming in this schedule. A song was scheduled to be shot from 7 October in Mallorca and Cádiz, but the schedule was postponed.
In February 2022, production moved to Spain to shoot action sequences including Khan, Padukone, and Abraham. Filming then took place in Mallorca and Cádiz. The Spain schedule was completed in March 2022, with the Mumbai schedule completed in Yash Raj Studios as the film wrapped. In October 2022, reshoots and additional scenes were completed. The film was shot in multiple locations across India, Afghanistan, Spain, UAE, Turkey, Russia, Italy and France. It was the first Indian film to be shot in Siberia’s Lake Baikal.
The soundtrack album for Pathaan was composed by Vishal-Shekhar, lyrics by Kumaar for the two songs “Besharam Rang” and “Jhoome Jo Pathaan”. The original score was written and composed by Sanchit and Ankit Balhara, two of their score pieces “Jim’s Theme” and “Pathaan’s Theme” were released with the soundtrack album by YRF Music on 22 December 2022. Apart from its original, the soundtrack album was released in Tamil and Telugu.
Pathaan was theatrically released, in standard, IMAX and 4DX versions, in India on 25 January 2023, coinciding with Indian Republic Day weekend along with dubbed versions in Tamil and Telugu. Pathaan was the first Indian film to release in the novel ICE theatre format. The film was released in 8000 screens worldwide, which included 5000 screens in Hindi and 450 screens in Tamil and Telugu versions within India.
The film was theatrically released in Bangladesh on 12 May 2023 and thus became the first Hindi film to release in the country. The film was released in Russia on 13 July 2023. The film was also released in Japan on 1 September 2023.
The digital streaming rights of Pathaan were sold to Amazon Prime Video for ₹100 crore. On the platform, the film’s extended version was premiered on 22 March 2023 in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. The satellite rights of the film have been acquired by Star Gold, where it was telecasted on 18 June 2023.
- Pathaan is rated 5.9/10 by IMDB.
- 83%/100% by Rotten Tomatoes.
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