- Release Date: 07/09/2023
- Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi
- Director: Atlee
The IMDb synopsis of ‘Jawan‘ reads, “An emotional journey of a man who is set to rectify the wrongs in society, attempting to settle a personal vendetta while keeping a promise made years ago.” I believe this is all you should know before watching the film because knowing more might spoil the wonder and thrill this somewhat generic story has to offer. Therefore, I won’t discuss the story in this review and will focus on what I liked and disliked about the film. Fortunately, everything I liked and disliked about this film can be expressed without revealing any spoilers, highlighting that the central plot and subplots are inconsequential and loosely connected to other aspects of the film. This will prepare you for what to expect from a film of this nature.
Shah Rukh Khan’s spellbinding presence:
Is it even necessary for me to state this? I would be surprised if any other aspect of this film could overshadow Shah Rukh Khan’s sheer charisma and stardom, along with the immense impact he has on the masses. He is one of the last surviving megastars of my generation and still possesses the charm and allure to attract people solely through his presence. When he is given such a substantial role that allows him to showcase a plethora of different facets of his acting, cultivated over the years through an extensive body of work, you can rest assured that he will not disappoint you. On the contrary, he infuses every scene in which he appears with infectious energy and gusto, causing you to overlook the narrative’s gaping holes and its overall lack of drama and impact. Instead, you concentrate on the man himself and allow him to envelop you in his histrionics as you surrender to his magic. This is the power of Shah Rukh Khan, and his might as a star is vividly on display here.
Atlee knows how to best recycle inspired material:
For anyone who has seen and enjoyed Atlee’s previous films, it is evident that creating original content is not his strong suit. He is known for recycling plot points, character dynamics, setpieces, and even action sequences. However, he tweaks these elements in such a way that they feel like entirely new sequences. This has been a recurring theme in his films, and ‘Jawan’ is no exception. I could detect inspiration from a wide range of national and international films, but Atlee incorporates these elements into the story and aligns them with its various aspects. Unfortunately, the homages or inspirations are so blatant that they are impossible to ignore. Fortunately, they are executed with swagger and a sense of fun that won’t disappoint unless you scrutinize them critically.
Where Atlee excels greatly is in how he utilizes Shah Rukh Khan. He is known for his larger-than-life hero introductions and all the extravagance that comes with presenting a leading man in the grandest manner, sure to elicit cheers and applause at every turn. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that he takes this aspect of filmmaking to the next level in “Jawan”. Shah Rukh Khan wholeheartedly embraces Atlee’s vision, and Atlee has never had another star of this stature so willingly follow his lead. Consequently, the impact of the director and the star aligning with each other’s strengths results in an experience that can only be fully appreciated on the big screen, in a packed theatre. I was astounded by the sheer joy the audience was experiencing in my theatre. When you can bring so much happiness to your audience, you have undoubtedly succeeded in delivering what you promised. I will reiterate the fact that this is a film tailor-made for packed theatre experiences, with special emphasis on “packed” and “theatre.”
Flamboyant and pulsating action sequences:
Atlee masterfully delivers the film’s action, infusing it with relentless, non-stop energy that leaves very little room to catch one’s breath. While this approach poses challenges for the storytelling, drama, and other elements of the film, it undeniably adds to the film’s pace. The action sequences unfold across a variety of captivating landscapes, enhancing the charm of an already well-conceived and brilliantly choreographed action. I was pleasantly surprised by how much of the action Shah Rukh Khan himself executed, affording the director a rare opportunity in Bollywood—to position the camera optimally, ensuring both the star and the entirety of the ensuing action are clearly visible. Those who appreciate action will attest that this is the most effective way to capture action, allowing for sparing editing that immerses the audience in the sequences further.
The grand scale of the action sequences, impossible to overlook, is a sight to behold. The visual effects complementing the action are also noteworthy, boasting a surprisingly polished look. Atlee’s chosen color palette further smooths out any remaining discrepancies, providing us with an immersive experience that is truly enjoyable.
Social issues as major plot points:
The entire film unfolds as a relentless barrage depicting how the protagonist confronts various social issues that have affected members of the cast and how he takes action to rectify these specific injustices. This narrative approach proves highly effective, offering insight into the backgrounds of supporting cast members and illuminating the protagonist’s unwavering commitment to the causes and the supporting cast’s unwavering devotion to him. It imbues the story with a breezy and fast-paced feel. With each predicament the protagonist triggers for the government or those in power, we witness him addressing issues that afflict our daily lives. Watching him triumph over true villains and employ their resources to bring light into the lives of those who have none fulfills a profound sense of wish-fulfillment. The handling of these issues and their seamless integration into the narrative also feels substantial, allowing for moments of brilliance.
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Anirudh Ravichander impactful background score:
In the realm of Mass-action-Entertainers, one of the most critical elements in recent times is the background score. Music directors like S. Thaman and Anirudh Ravichander possess the ability to elevate sequences and mass moments through their expertly crafted background scores. While the screen is already brimming with machismo and uncontrollable heroism in the case of “Jawan”, the film’s background score serves as the perfect amplifier for the heightened sense of heroism and mass appeal. Although I wasn’t particularly enamored with the songs, the background score resonated powerfully with me. It worked so effectively that I could forgive the music director for employing the word “massy” in the background score during a serious action sequence.
Last but not least:
So, is ‘Jawan’ the greatest film ever made with no flaws? Absolutely not. The film is riddled with discrepancies and shortcomings that require a whole different article to address. I’ll tell you more about that later. For now, let us only dwell on the positives of this mega-blockbuster that seems to be the only thing on people’s minds today.
The views expressed in this article are that of the reviewer and do not reflect EastMojo’s position.
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