Ahead of Pathaan, revisiting Siddharth Anand's War: The definitive action movie of a modern Bollywood

If I had to put my finger on a specific moment in the early portions of Siddharth Anand’s War that announces the film’s swag and style, and signals that we’re in for something

more triumphant than forgettable Bollywood action fair --it would be the end of the first scene. After Kabir (an endlessly watchable, ultra-smooth Hrithik Roshan with a remarkable

command over his presence) has just shot and killed his own handler, we see him walking off a rooftop. Behind him, a glitching red neon sign that should read “Hotel Lotus” instead

flashes the word “Hell”. It’s that cheeky moment, I think, that tells us that we’re in for something more than the overly processed, blurry guns-and-glory action movie. The

rare Hindi movie that beautifully blends the scale and slick execution of a Hollywood action flick with Bollywood masala tropes and an unabashed celebration of stardom, War is the

definitive Bollywood action movie of the modern age. And on this, the eve of Pathaan, it’s worth revisiting its achievement. For one, War is full of memorable set pieces – the

thrilling Portugal bike chase for starters. But, for me, none capture the film’s polished execution and finesse quite like the airplane set piece, in which Kabir takes down a

flight full of bad guys while it’s in the air. In another film, you can imagine this same, sleek sequence without the same craft, shine or rhythm, instead resorting to gaudy CGI

and excessive showboating.