Is Pathaan Based on a True Story?

Part of the YRF Spy Universe, ‘Pathaan‘ is a Hindi action thriller movie led by Shahrukh Khan, the ever-so-charming Indian superstar. It revolves around an ex-RAW field agent, Pathaan (Shahrukh Khan), who is summoned by the head of Joint Operation and Covert Research (JOCR, a fictional intelligence agency) and joint secretary of RAW. They entrust him with the mission of stopping Jim (John Abraham), a former RAW agent gone rogue, who also leads a private terrorist organization.

Jim conspires with a Pakistani army general and plans a deadly virus outbreak in India. After a turn of events, Pathaan and Rubina Mohsin AKA Rubai (Deepika Padukone) collaborate to destroy their common enemy. Touching upon the themes of patriotism and martyrdom, the Siddharth Anand directorial makes the viewers question if the detailed and intricate narrative of this action-packed cinematic adventure holds any grain of truth. Let us unravel all the details if the same thought has crossed your mind. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Is Pathaan a True Story?

No, ‘Pathaan’ is not based on a true story. Having said that it features certain elements that parallel multiple real-life events. The first one is revoking Article 370 on August 5, 2019. The article was first introduced on May 14, 1954, to make Jammu and Kashmir an autonomous state, which had the power to exercise its freedom by having independent laws, a separate flag, and influenced internal administration. This sudden change led to multiple protests, and the Pakistani government strongly opposed the decision, much like the army general in ‘Pathaan.’

The movie’s antagonist is a vengeful ex-RAW agent Jim, who loses his family while carrying out an operation. He despises the government for not trusting him during his tenure. However, in reality, there is only one reported incident wherein a RAW officer and his family were found deceased in their house in Delhi in 2014. As per reports, Ananya Chakravarty’s body was found hanging in the drawing room, while his wife and two children were found in different rooms. We would like to make it clear that it is likely just a coincidence as the makers have not claimed anything.

In the movie, Jim threatens to release a deadly virus in India to exterminate the entire country in the name of retribution. The virus is none other than smallpox, which was eradicated in the 1970s. But in the film, they revive the virus and mutate it to create a deadly variant fit for biological warfare. Whenever there is a mention of viruses, we are reminded of COVID-19 which wreaked havoc around the world in 2019, leading to multiple deaths.

During the outbreak, several headlines speculated and accused China of orchestrating this worldwide catastrophe and using Corona as a weapon for biological warfare. These claims were clubbed together with the many conspiracy theories floating around during the pandemic. Though the theory is unsubstantiated, it does have all the elements that could drive the meaty plot of a thrilling movie like ‘Pathaan.’ There is an instance in the movie where Pathaan joins forces with an ex-ISI officer. Much to our surprise, such an alliance is not limited to the film.

As per ex-RAW Chief Amarjit Singh Dulat, the combined force of both organizations helped save the life of Pervez Musharraf (former President of Pakistan). He stated, “The ISI also acknowledges that timely intelligence provided by R&AW about a likely Jaish-e-Mohammad attack may have saved Musharraf’s life in 2004.” So, ‘Pathaan’ is a pure work of fiction that intentionally or co-incidentally has some real-life elements. Moreover, it seems like the director and writers have utilized pivotal occurrences in the history of India for several plot junctures.

Read More: Is Pathaan on OTT, Netflix, Hotstar, HBO Max, or Prime?