Kabir Khan is expert of films based on terrorism it seems. All his movies have terrorism, Afghanistan, USA, Pakistan background or references. He seems like the RGV of terrorism films. His recent blockbuster “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” broke all records and was liked by critics and masses alike. With “Phantom”, he portrays a flight of fantasy where Indians do “justice” to the masterminds of 26/11.
Tag-lined as “A Story You Wish Were True”, Phantom is a fiction about India’s RAW hiring a mistakenly disgraced Indian Soldier to execute covert operations in USA, Seria and Pakistan to avenge the terrorists involved in 26/11 attack on Hotel Taj. Daniyal Khan (Saif Ali Khan) is that disgraced soldier. After much coaxing, he agrees to do the operation and heads to London where he meets Nawaz (Katrina Kaif), who helps him in identifying the first mastermind and later moves with him in the Serian and Pakistani operations.
Story is written by Hussain Zaidi and Screenplay by Kabir Khan and Parveez Sheikh. It was a brilliant concept at the story level which is faltered at the screenplay stage. Phantom has a loosely written, inconsistent screenplay and has a very flat and uninteresting narrative. Dialogues by Kabir Khan and Kausar Munir are average.
The movie does not seem directed by Kabir Khan at all. It feels like some amateur Director ghost-directed the movie and it is evident from the over the top performances and spoon feeding treatment. Can’t forget the scene where Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub pumps his fist when a Daniyal kills a terrorist. There are such and many more scenes which makes us believe that the Director is assuming a dumb audience which apparently they are not. Also why question is why a Saif Ali Khan starer Secret Agent movie has to end like “Agent Vinod”?
The narrative is totally flattened and with the Director, Editor Aarif Sheikh shall take the blame. This movie certainly could have been better with better editing.
Another proof of ghost Direction is the performances by all the actors. Good actors are made to act bad and bad actors do their worse. Including the lead cast i.e. Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif, everyone overacts. This can be said as the worst role played by Saif in recent times. Katrina looks unbelievable as an ex-RAW agent and arms dealer.
Actors like Sabyasachi Chakrabarty and Mohammad Zeeshan Ayyub are wasted and made to look like fools. The actor who plays Pakistani restaurant owner leaves an impact. Good work by casting agent Honey Trehan is wasted by the Director.
Production wise the movie is a quality product and has all the gloss and shine required for such movies. Cinematography by Aseem Mishra is excellent. Music by Pritam Chakraborty is good enough with “Afgan Jilebi” being the chartbuster track. Thankfully, the Director kept love story to minimum and songs too. BGM by Julius Packiam is decent. Action by Sham Kaushal has nothing new.
Overall, “Baby” and “Phantom” even being on same concepts, Phantom proves how one can make a bad or bad movie on similar story.