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Review: ‘Phantom’ is a good one time watch, if you can overlook a few flaws

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Katrina Kaif

Director: Kabir Khan

Rating: **1/2

While watching the latest cine endeavor of Kabir Khan don’t know why a question crossed my head and that was… What will our Bollywooders do, if that age old rivalry between India and Pakistan will wither away? Well probably in that case one of the most sought after genre of Bollywood will become a thing of the past.

But it’s not our Bollywooders only, who foster such a fascination for a plots cultivated on the soil of two nation’s rivalry. Even their western counterparts have it, but the only difference is that they portray it in a more creative manner, through some smartly knitted cine premises. Take the examples of `Rambo` series, `MI Ghost Protocol` or `Munich`.

`Munich` deserves a special mention here because despite Phantom’s being about something related to the unfortunate incident of 26/11, one can easily draw parallels between Phantom’s premise and the one that `Munich` had. Anyhow let’s stop comparing `Phantom` and `Munich`, and apprise you with ‘Phantom’.

Inspired from the Hussain Zaidi’s, `Mumbai Avenger` this cine yarn of Kabir Khan is about a fearless and faceless agent, Daniyal Khan (Saif) who is sent to the neighboring country to eliminate all those who were behind the attacks of 26/11. Though Daniyal has a stigma of being a tainted soldier on his forehead, but in spite of that RAW authorities handpick him for the job.

Soon after landing on the foreign soil, Daniyal is introduced to another ex-RAW agent, Nawaz (Katrina), who is entrusted with the job of helping him identify the first of the lot.

After attaining success in eliminating his first target in London, Daniyal heads to Chicago, where his next target is David Headley. With frames rolling ahead our “Phantom” travels through war-torn Syria to finally land in Pakistan, where his job is to assassinate the Lashkar’s most dreaded man, Hariz Saeed.

So does Daniyal succeeds in that? Or does he turns the plan upside down? To know you have to watch this action packed thriller of Kabir Khan.

Well after witnessing Kabir’s last action thriller, `Ek Tha Tiger` and the recent one i.e. `Phantom` there remain no doubts about the fact that Kabir not only has a fascination for action packed thrilling dramas, but he has a firm dexterity in painting them on the silver screen too.

If we go by the plot of `Phantom` then with some high octane actions sequences, numerous “on the edge of the seat moments” with a topping of Indo-Pak rivalry, `Phantom` certainly has a cine premises which can conveniently pull cine junkies to the multiplexes. Although Zaidi too deserves a share of praise, but it’s Kabir’s re-tailoring of the premise which give narration an extra edge.

As far as screenplay of `Phantom` is concerned, then first 30 minutes of the movie and latter part of the second half literally enthrall you with spellbinding flow of narration, where many nail-biting sequences literally give you an adrenaline rush. And the best part about this cine tale of Kabir is that, it never compromises on the core idea. At a few places you may feel that story is getting diluted because of some `sloth moments`, but they are very few in number. At last but not the least, the element that adds an impactful punch to the storyline of `Phantom` is that feel of patriotism, and plight of common people on the both sides of the border. So on the whole `Phantom` has a convincing premise. And what further magnifies the impact of this espionage saga is its neatly painted screenplay, which is further ornamented by the edgy editing of Aarif Sheikh, Aditya Banerjee.

If we go by the performances, Saif has once again looked suave while donning the shoes of a secret agent. Though Saif’s last espionage endeavor `Agent Vinod` could not fetch much admiration for him, but this time he thoroughly succeeds in proving his mettle.

Despite having an experience in similar genre (remember ETT), Kat fails in raising the bar and we guess she could have secured a bit higher on the performance scale, but in spite of that she succeeds in leaving her mark. Zeeshan Ayyub continues his brilliance streak with `Phantom` too.

To sum up, with a balanced dose of cine condiments required to cook a gripping espionage saga, `Phantom` is a good one time watch. Be it high octane action, a feel of patriotism, or that nail-biting thrill, everything is adroitly blended in this Saif and Katrina starrer.

As far as critic rating is concerned then I am going ahead with a good 2.5 stars for this desi ‘Munich’, based on S Hussain Zaidi’s, `Mumbai Avengers`. So watch it because despite having some mild flaws it showcases the concern which probably many of us are facing these days.

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