The film recalls the 2008 Mumbai attacks perpetrated by terrorists based in Pakistan. It traumatized the population and caused the death of two hundred people. The RAW sets up a top-secret mission without the backing of the prime minister. The Indian intelligence team which would kill the men who organized the attacks. They can't arouse suspicions from the Pakistani authorities and create diplomatic tensions.
They call Daniyal Khan (Saif Ali Khan), a former soldier who disappeared from the public life. One can discover the reasons during the film. Daniyal Khan gets supported by Nawaz Mistry (Katrina Kaif). a pretty analyst, who would be the only one able to identify the first target. The mission takes our agent to an American prison, then to Syria and finally to Pakistan. He tries to suppress the other bad guys to avenge the innocent ones affected by these attacks.
For a thriller, Phantom proves quite disappointing. At no time does the spectator catch his breath in the face of this succession of action scenes. The main characters, on which the story rests lacks depth. Saif Ali Khan, far from being bad in this role, does not mark the spirits. As for Katrina Kaif, her role in itself is not essential in the script. The way she identifies Sajid Mir in a crowded cricket stadium lacks credibility. It appears as a pretext to introduce her character.
The relationship between the two protagonists gets treated with more subtlety. It seems flat for a duo who has gone through so many trials together and taken immense risks as part of this mission. It is not a romantic film, but there again it lacks a semblance of emotion for the viewer to get convinced.
It is the secondary characters who are much more memorable than our two heroes. Sohaila Kapoor in the role of the nurse is much more interesting in spite of a shorter screen time. Her character brings another dimension to the scenario. It focuses less on the action, and more on the suffering caused by the scourge of terrorism.
The agent of the RAW, interpreted by Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, is also notable. He is the brain of the mission and was the one who had this idea to avenge the attacks of Mumbai. He insists the fleet to not abandon Daniyal Khan, despite the risk of conflict with Pakistan. He embodies Indian patriotism. His performance that oscillates between serious and involuntary humor is quite remarkable.
Even if the film condemns terrorism - rather than the Pakistani state - the subject is sensitive. The message conveyed is questionable, hence its ban on broadcasting in Pakistan. The law of talion, "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" is somewhat erected in solution. Even if the need and the will for justice are legitimate. The film's political subjects and an exacerbated patriotism has a clear bias.
It is above all the rhythm proper to action films that keep the viewer hold their breath that is lacking here! The scenes of action are rather boring and not surprising. The end, though touching, has not managed to touch me more than that. The acting, which without being bad, does not revolutionize the history of cinema.
As for the soundtrack, it is not memorable either other than the title Saware. It intervenes at the right moment in the film. Sung by Arijit Singh it is the only sweet song that plays on emotion. There is, of course, the most festive Afghan Jalebi, as well as Nachda that are more eclectic.
A film that has great ambitions and that fails to reach them. It is a mixed opinion for Phantom, which it is not essential to have seen. On the same theme, it is better to (re) see Fanaa!