YashRaj Films’ much-anticipated project, “Pathaan,” marks the end of a four-year sabbatical taken by the superstar Shahrukh Khan. India is the kind of country where films are not merely a source of entertainment but are celebrated like festivals, and the stars enjoy a fan following that actors from any other country could only dream of. This film is not about assessing the technicalities or judging the flaws; it is about celebrating a man who has given so much to his fans and to people all around the globe for the last 30 years. So let’s understand the nitty gritty of the mission that Pathaan has undertaken and whether he is able to accomplish it.
‘Pathaan’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
On August 5, 2019, India abolished Article 370, which gave a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The political move gained a lot of positive and negative reactions from the entire world. When Pakistan’s General Qadar heard the news, he started fuming with anger. Qadar was suffering from a terminal illness, and his doctor had told him that he had approximately three years to live. Qadar wanted to make the most of those three years, by waging war against India. He knew that his government wouldn’t let him execute such a plan, which is why he hired a mercenary group called Outfit X, infamously known for undertaking such missions. Outfit X was headed by an ex-RAW agent who had gone rogue, Jim. Jim was working for RAW when he and his pregnant wife were taken as hostages by a terrorist organization in a foreign land. The group asked the Indian government for a sum of ten crore rupees for sparing the life of their soldier. Colonel Luthra didn’t sanction that amount because negotiating with the terrorist was not an option. Jim’s wife died, and from that day on, Jim made it his mission to destroy India.
Pathaan had gotten permission from his superiors to create a Joint Operation and Covert Research Unit (JOCR), and once his team started working in full swing, they got some valuable information that even the Indian intelligence agency, RAW, didn’t know about. Pathaan met Jim for the first time in Dubai when he got intel about an attack on the President of India. There were two scientists who were accompanying the president, and nobody considered that the attack was not on the president but was an attempt to kidnap the scientists for some unknown purpose. Pathaan and his team went to Dubai, but they weren’t able to stop Jim. He kidnapped one of the scientists and made a narrow escape.
Did Rubina Betray Pathaan? Who Saved Pathaan From The Russians?
The JOCR came to know that an ISI agent, Rubina Mohsin’s, account was used to make payments to Outfit X, which was led by Jim. Pathaan planned to go to Spain to meet her, as it was speculated by his team that she didn’t know anything about the payments being made and had nothing to do with the Outfit X group. But Pathaan was tricked, and he realized that the information they got about Rubina was a trap set by Jim so that he could meet Pathaan in person. Rubina was, in fact, working for Jim, and she wasn’t logging in to her account or checking her emails on purpose, so that the authorities in India were led to believe that she was innocent.
Jim gave Pathaan an offer to join his mercenary group and wreak havoc on the entire world, just like he had been doing since leaving RAW. Jim tried showing Pathaan the other side of the coin. He told him that the nation and the people running it treat soldiers like them as fodder, and for them, it doesn’t matter if they live or die. Jim believed that patriotism was a ploy used by people sitting in positions of power to allure soldiers like Pathaan into believing that risking one’s life for the greater good is the noblest of all causes. Jim’s lucrative offer wasn’t able to shake Pathaan’s loyalty, and even the threat of a painful death didn’t make him shudder. Jim left on his helicopter and asked his men to kill Pathaan. Just then, something extraordinary happened that shocked each and every mercenary present on the scene. Rubina turned against Outfit X and saved Pathaan because she realized that Pathaan could help her way more than Jim in getting what she wanted. That’s when she told Pathaan about something called “Rakht Beej” and how integral it was to Jim’s mission. Now Pathaan had no clue what Rakht Beej was, though he knew that the name had popped up more than once on the darknet. Rubina told Pathaan that Rakht Beej was kept in a secure vault in Moscow. Pathaan’s instant reaction was that he wanted to accompany Rubina and get the deadly weapon in his possession. But before that, he needed to ask for permission from his superiors. So he convinced them and told them how important it was for them to get their hands on this secret weapon that had the potential to determine the fate of an entire nation.
Rubina and Pathaan reached Moscow, and they realized that it was not easy to break into the vault where Rakht Beej was kept. The vault was on the 92nd floor of a building and was secured by a complicated locking system. Grigor and Karen were two high-level Russian officials who were in charge of the vaults and had the lock and key in their possession, through which the vault could be opened. Pathaan and Rubina completed the first step of the mission by stealing it from them. Having procured the means to get access, they entered the vault, and that’s when Pathaan realized that he had been deceived all this while. Rubina took the cylinder, which had a translucent green liquid inside, which was what they were calling Rakht Beej. She trapped Pathaan inside the vault and escaped from there. Rubina had been working for Jim all this while.
Pathaan was not the kind of person who misjudged people, but this one time, he was badly tricked. Pathaan was taken in by the Russian authorities and transported to the Black Prison. His superior, whom he referred to as Ma’am (Dimple Kapadia), came to meet him there, but she asked the Russians to do whatever they deemed fit, as she told them that the nation had nothing to do with Pathaan. In reality, she had gone there to deliver a message to Pathaan, which she was able to do by communicating with him through Morse code, by secretly tapping her fingers. Pathaan knew that help was on its way. There was somebody out there, lurking in the shadows, who was going to rescue Pathaan. The Russians had planned to get Pathaan murdered while transporting him on a train. One of the prisoners on the train was given a machete, and he and others were just about to kill him when there was a thud on the roof of the train. The roof was blown open, and from it hung a checkered muffler that used to be a part of the quintessential clothing of an ex-RAW agent. In came Tiger (Salman Khan) to save his friend, Pathaan. Both of them killed the Russian soldiers together and were able to escape doom once again.
‘Pathaan’ Ending Explained: What Was Rakht Beej? Was Pathaan Able To Stop Jim?
After escaping from the Russian facility, Pathaan was itching to find Rubina to settle scores, and get to know what Rakht Beej exactly was and why it was considered to be more lethal than a nuclear weapon. Rubina established contact with Pathaan, and the agents of rival nations met once again. Rubina told Pathaan that after smallpox was eradicated from the world, a few samples of it were kept by a few countries that knew that it would serve their interests at a later stage. Pathaan didn’t understand that if the vaccine for smallpox already existed, then how could it be a threat in contemporary times. Rubina said that Jim, with the help of the kidnapped Indian scientist, had modified the genetic material and caused the mutation of the virus. The vaccine was ineffective on this mutated species, and Jim planned to target an unknown city in India and infect it with the deadly virus. Jim had a dual motive behind targeting an Indian city: he was getting paid by General Qadar, who wanted to send a strong message to India after Article 370 was abolished, and secondly, Jim had his personal reasons as he had been itching to take revenge from the Indian government after they had let his wife and unborn child get killed by the terrorists. There were two metallic orbs in which the mutated smallpox was stored by Jim, and when Rubina and Pathaan attacked his lab, they were able to procure one of them. Jim escaped with the second orb, and Rubina was taken into custody. Pathaan tried to make Colonel Luthra realize that it was only because of Rubina that they were able to get their hands on this secret information, but the Colonel reminded him that had she not been there, Jim wouldn’t have been able to get the Rakht Beej in the first place.
The orb was brought back to India, and when the team of scientists tried to open it, they found that its nucleus had only plain mineral water inside it. The scientists weren’t able to fathom what was happening and why wasn’t there any smallpox sample present inside it. That’s when their systems got hacked, and they got a video call from Jim. They had been deceived by Jim, and they were told that the smallpox sample was present in the third layer itself and not at the center of the orb. The group of scientists, together with Pathaan’s superior (Dimple Kapadia), became martyrs, and seeing them die in front of his own eyes stirred something inside Pathaan. At that moment, he took a vow to find and kill Jim, even if it meant putting his own life at risk.
Jim was in an unknown location in Afghanistan, and he had loaded the smallpox sample on a missile that was all set to target an Indian city. Pathaan and Rubina reached there with their team, and they managed to kill every member of Outfit X. General Qadar was also killed by Rubina. She took revenge for keeping her in the dark and making her do something that had the potential to cause such widespread destruction.
Jim managed to escape once again, and Pathaan went after him. Meanwhile, Rubina got to know that the missile was just a divergence and that the smallpox sample was on a flight that was going to land in Delhi. The orb was going to start spreading the sample through the air ducts of the plane, and it could only be stopped with a detonator that was in Jim’s possession. Colonel Luthra established contact with the flight pilot and informed him about the situation. They had no option but to launch a missile from their end and destroy the plane with the passengers on it. But Pathaan was not ready to give up. He fought the odds and was able to get the detonator from Jim. He diffused the orb just a few seconds before it started leaking the mutated smallpox virus. Pathaan accomplished his mission, killed Jim, and saved the lives of the people living in Delhi.
Colonel Luthra asked Pathaan to keep working for the government and initiate the process of bringing all the retired and injured soldiers back together to create a unit that could destroy any threat in the world.
What Did The Post-Credit Scene Signify?
In the post-credit scene of the film, we saw Tiger and Pathaan sitting on the railway tracks after killing the Russians on board. The conversation they had was not only pertaining to the spy universe of which their characters are a part, but it also served as a much-intended pun on the real lives of the actors. They were talking about who would take their place, as they realized that age had caught up with them and there were contenders from the younger generations. After mulling over the names of a few probable contenders (without literally taking their names), both Tiger and Pathaan came to a conclusion that neither in the spy verse, nor in the real world could anybody take their place.
Through “Pathaan,” YashRaj Films has officially announced that the “Tiger” franchise, helmed by Salman Khan, and the recent Siddharth Anand directorial, “War,” are all a part of their spy verse. In the years to come, we can see frequent cameos of protagonists of all three films in each others’ movies which eventually would lead to a final showdown. With the third installment of the Tiger franchise releasing sometime later this year, the audience can be assured of being taken on a thrilling and entertaining ride once again.