Bawaal movie review: Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor starrer revisits the Holocaust for a feel-good family drama?!
What: Bawaal – Varun Dhawan and Jhanvi Kapoor starrer is an experimental feel good family drama by Nitesh Tiwari that revisits the World War II holocaust.
Bawaal movie synopsis
Set in Lucknow, it’s a story of Ajay Dixit (Varun Dhawan) a history teacher in a school who has maintained an image of a Rockstar who knows and can do all. In reality Ajay is just an average who manipulates people and surroundings to create a mahaul (atmosphere) that creates a wrong picture about this popular local hero.
Ajay gets married to Nisha Dixit (Janhvi Kapoor) an independent and educated girl. Things go wrong soon after marriage and to make up for the troubled relationship Ajay plans a honeymoon in Europe and visit important places of World War II.
Why World War II Why a honeymoon and what does holocaust has to do with a feel-good family drama? The movie tries to answer these questions.
It’s a sawaal (question) exactly what was going on in the minds of the writer director Nitesh Tiwari and his team of screen writers Piyush Gupta, Nikhil Mehrotra and Shreyas Jain? On a story by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari.
Roberto Benigni’s Life Is Beautiful (no), Roman Polanksi’s The Pianist (no way), Steven Spielberg's Schindler’s List (stop kidding), Rakesh om Prakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti (are you done now finally), is it an anti-Nazi movie? (shut up). Or a mix of all the above…nahi bilkul nahi... yeh ek love story hai..
Bawaal (fiasco) is basically a feel-good romantic family drama by heart which we have seen many times with a difference that life changing lessons are learnt from revisiting the World War II horror
Nitesh Tiwari’s intentions are good no doubt but why exploit the Holocaust for a mainstream Bollywood love story? and waste the opportunity to make a sweeping cinematic statement on fakeisim in India and the world around.
And what does the writing brain behind Bawaal do, they largely skim over the surface and add characters -like the Gujarati family to evoke laughter and suddenly they disappear to make this Bawaal just a love story that turns predictable and occasionally entertaining.
Bawaal’s concept had great potential. The macro micro approach - biggest conflict World War II gets juxtaposed with the trouble between Ajay and Nisha is a niche thought. However, the execution brings the familiarities of a Bollywood love story/rom com set in the Hindi heartland to the core.
The idea of a fake Ajay transforming after feeling the pain of the victims of the holocaust is intriguing on paper but before Ajay turns into a friend of Nisha in Europe, the film after a couple of references to woman empowerment does not explore the require progression of events that can make the audience feel the change.
What we see is after a couple of smart lines by Nisha, Ajay realising his folly and plus the whole idea of going to Europe and shooting videos from there for his history lessons is not that convincing and looks superficial.
Dialogues like “Hum log bhi toh thode hitler jaise hai” fails to prove the point properly and falls flat.
The characters have limited graph, the required layers are missing, I expected a comment on fakesim happening in India in politics, entertainment, etc, but it misses the opportunity.
I did not get any feeling for Ajay, Nisha gained sympathy. How can a movie work when one of the protagonists is not making you feel for him?
The performance in Bawaal by Varun Dhawan and Jhanvi Kapoor are average, nothing new, it’s sadly routine.
Manoj Pahwa is fine and Anjuman Saxena is good.
Mukesh Tiwari leaves his mark. Gunjan Joshi is good as well.
Great production values, cinematography by Mitesh Mirchandani is eye pleasing. Editing by Charu Shree Roy is fine. Music by Mithoon, Tanishk Bagchi and Akashdeep Sengupta looks good while watching the film but nothing special to hum about.
A love story that exploits the Holocaust to make a feel-good family drama that fails to register and no way can make it into a glorifying history. Though it had the potential.
Bawaal is streaming on Prime Video from July 21, 2023 onwards.