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Bollywood Movie Reviews

Bawaal Is An Experience Far Beyond a Film



Bawaal(Prime Video)

Rating: ****

Exactly at what  point in time does a motion picture become an emotionpictureBawaal leaves you bewildered in a good way.It is  ambitious  audacious  and   not afraid to  take risks.

It is risky , yes.  But then  cinema  that  plays it safe is  guilty of  ignoring  the  rudimentary rule  laid down by the  great filmmakers: every film should have something to take home beyond entertainment .Contemporary cinema seldom does.

But Bawaal does. It  tells us  much about mending a fracture relationship and the relationship between  history and interpersonal dynamics.Writers  Nitesh Tiwari,Piyush Gupta, Nikhil  Malhotra  and  Shreyas Jain put their heads together for a  story that takes you along from Lucknow to Paris, and beyond without making a song and dance  of it.Although  the film visits  four European spots—Paris, Normandy, Berlin and Auschwitz—it does not wear a touristic look. For  this, credit must partly  go to cinematographer  Mitesh Mirchandani  who treats Europe  as a  character rather than a showstopper.

Transparency of narration has always been  director  Nitesh Tiwari’s forte. In Bawaal he keeps the  tonal inflexions so delectably upbeat and colloquial , it almost seems  like  a rom-com .

Until the  larger picture kicks in.Going  with the tone of the  narration, the lead players  rein in their performances giving us a portrait of a broken(though not irreparable) marriage in scenes that are written with unmissable affection.

For Varun Dhawan,playing Ajay a  self-deceiving self-important wastrel of a  school teacher in Lucknow, this is a role so  unheroic it makes  you wonder  about the  sea-changes in the  definition  of a screen hero(that history lesson, some other time).

Dhawan  sinks into the role  of  the jerk who  thinks the sun rises and sets from an orifice in his  body.Janhvi is the  callously-treated wife  Nisha. They take turns sleeping on the floor and the bed.They have probably never had sex, though we ar  not given details on their infertile relationship.

Nisha  is quiet patient and  wise. The character has been designed  to  make Varun’s Ajay look l even more like a gasbag than he actually is. The couple’s road to salvation is paved with some pungent adventures abroad  and  sobering lessons on  history  .

Bawaal is  a far more relevant  work that its airy  tone suggests. It takes on multiple themes pertaining to  the wars that are fought  geopolitically and  emotionally; rather than complicate the storytelling with lessons from the past as they impinge on the present, Bawaal keeps the tone accessible and war.Nitesh Tiwari wants you to  share the experience.

You know it will finally work out for Ajay and Nisha. You want it. They are played with such endearing fidelity.This is easily  Varun  and Janhvi’s career-best. As  for Nitesh Tiwari, I am not too sure Bawaal matches the  humanitarian spirit of Dangal. But then, that’s not even where Bawaal is going. The characters are  not ambitious. They just want to find a place where  they can breathe without wondering if the gas cylinder was switched off before they left home.


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