The countdown to Shah Rukh Khan‘s desperately awaited return to Bollywood’s silver screen has finally begun. With just weeks away until the release of Pathaan, there has been mounting excitement around King Khan’s first full-action epic. The film is slated to star SRK in the titular role as an undercover agent of sorts who has earned an illusive reputation underground for his work. Ahead of the film’s release, the Bollywood giant shared a fresh look at his on-screen enemy John Abraham‘s character, teasing a “clash” between their on-screen counterparts.
In the new poster, Abraham‘s character dominates the dimly-lit image as he stands boldly in a black leather jacket whilst looking ferociously ahead at his target. Wielding a gun in his hand, Pathaan’s foe shows off his threatening tattoo, which reads: “Everyone will come to my funeral to make sure I stay dead.” Abraham‘s character is something of a mystery to eager audiences as they have previously only seen a snippet of what is to come from the previously shared teaser. In the clip, we see him go head-to-head with SRK‘s Pathaan in full force as they battle it out on top of a moving lorry. The only other insight we’re given is a brief shot of Abraham’s ruthless counterpart is in a scene of him kitted out – and ready to kill – with a rocket launcher in hand, taking an unapologetic aim at a car. Although the details of where their enmity has sparked from are sparse, it’s clear Pathaan’s foe has a problem with him meddling in his business and he has no plans to take it lying down.
Abraham has earned a reputation of his own for his back catalog of action epics, such as Force and Dishoom, and his involvement in Pathaan feels like a clear nod to Khan‘s clear desire to really cement himself within the genre. After formally departing his three-decade-long legacy of heart-swooning romances, Bollywood’s biggest name made his intentions clear to carve out a Tom Cruise-esque title for himself at the Red Sea Festival in Saudi Arabia earlier this month. “I’m 57 years old, and I thought for the next 10 years I have to do action films, I want to do Mission Impossible-ish kind of films,” SRK told Deadline. “I want to do over-the-top kind of action films.”
From the promotional material released thus far, Pathaan feels like a very strong – and intentional – step in the direction Khan has his sights on. The latest pre-release teaser came in the form of new song “Besharam Rang” (Shameless Colour), which is expected to feature in the film. The track gave audiences a first look at Khan and his fiery chemistry with co-star Deepika Padukone. Whilst little is known about Padukone‘s role in the film beyond her ability to deliver powerhouse kicks and her steamy dynamic with Pathaan, it’s clear she is set to be heavily involved with Pathaan – whether that is as a friend or undercover foe will be seen in due course. It looks like there will be plenty of mystery to unpack in SRK‘s upcoming action feast.
You can watch the action unravel in Pathaan in theaters on January 25. You can check out Abraham’s character poster below.