Review: Jawan

Jawan is a fantastic commercial entertainer that works because of the core issues it looks to highlight.

Jawan review

Film: Jawan
Director: Atlee
Producers: Gauri Khan and Gaurav Varma
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Vijay Sethupathi, Nayanthara, Priyamani, Deepika Padukone and others.
Music: Anirudh
Cinematographer: GK Vishnu
Rating: 3.5 stars
Duration: 169 minutes

Meeting expectations is no easy task. Exceeding them, needless to say, is even more difficult. To director Atlee’s credit, he not only meets the huge expectations that were there from his film Jawan, but also delivers a film that actually exceeds expectations.

The film, while narrating an entertaining story, touches upon a series of social issues affecting every Indian to this day.

From poor farmers who commit suicide because of being unable to pay the paltry sums they have borrowed as farm loans to government hospitals that don’t even have basic infrastructure and equipment in place, to substandard weapons being provided to our jawans who put their lives on the line for the sake of the country — Jawan reminds all Indians how politicians in collusion with rich corporates run by ruthless businessmen are exploiting the system at the expense of the common man.

The plot in brief…
On a busy working day, a team of seven people – six women led by a man called Vikram Rathore (Shah Rukh Khan) board a metro train in Mumbai.

As soon as the train leaves the station, they hijack it and take the passengers hostages.

The government swings into action and appoints Narmada (Nayanthara), an efficient cop as the negotiator on their behalf.

Vikram Rathore however demands that he will only negotiate with the Minister of Agriculture. Eventually, when the Minister arrives, Rathore demands that the government transfer over 40,000 crores to an account number he is to give them, if they want the passengers back safely.

When the minister tells him that the government cannot pay such a huge ransom, Rathore replies that a businessman whose loans the government has waived off, will offer to pay the whole ransom himself as his daughter too is one of the hostages.

As predicted by Rathore, businessman Kali ( Vijay Sethupathi) offers to pay the amount. The money that Vikram Rathore gets as ransom is used to waive off the loans that small farmers across the country have borrowed.

A few days later, the same team strikes again. This time, not to demand money but to get the health secretary admit the truth in the presence of the media and the public about the corruption that exists in government hospitals and the real cause for the death of poor children admitted in a popular government hospital.

From being villains, Vikram Rathore and his team of six girls become heroes. They embark on a series of unlawful activities but with the motive of doing good to the general public.

Each time, Vikram Rathore and his girls target and strike a different department, the man at the receiving end is invariably Kali.

Nobody knows Vikram Rathore’s real identity as he is always in disguise but we are soon let into this secret.

Vikram Rathore is actually Azad ( Shah Rukh Khan), the jailer of a women’s prison in Mumbai. And his team of six girls are actually inmates of the prison, serving jail sentences for different crimes.

Azad, who uses the name of his father Vikram Rathore everytime he chooses to indulge in an act that is unlawful but that which is in the interest of justice, gets married to Narmada( Nayanthara), the chief negotiator and the cop who has been assigned the task of capturing Vikram Rathore.

Initially, Narmada is not aware of who Azad is but she eventually finds out that he is the criminal Vikram Rathore after whom she is after.

Simultaneously, Kali too decides to hit back at Vikram Rathore, who has been causing huge losses to him. What happens then is what Jawan is all about…

Atlee’s plot smartly combines engaging commercial elements with core issues that affect the common man today.

The first episode, which is about the issue of over 10,000 poor farmers committing suicide because of being unable to repay farm loans, highlights the fact that while the government is hesitant to waive off the loans of small farmers, it happily waives off the huge loans that run into lakhs of crores of big businessmen, who run corporates. At every point in the film, an important social issue is addressed.

Although there are some portions that appear cinematic and exaggerated, the soul of Jawan is intact and therefore, the film impresses.

One other reason Jawan works is that it does not stop with just pointing out the problems. It also offers solutions. The film seeks to create an awareness on the need to vote responsibly.

Shah Rukh Khan delivers a powerful performance in the film.

The actor has two roles in the film –as father Vikram Rathore and son Azad. He scores handsomely as the father Vikram Rathore.

Vijay Sethupathi as Kali too impresses as does Nayanthara who comes up with another solid performance.

The film also has a fine performance coming in from Priyamani, who after a long time gets a meaty role to showcase her acting skills.

On the technical front, Anirudh’s background score is outstanding and Vishnu’s visuals are beautiful and a treat to watch.

In short, Jawan is a fantastic commercial entertainer that works because of the core issues it looks to highlight.