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Jawan review: Shah Rukh Khan is epic in this mass entertainer

Jawan2023★★★★☆4/5Director:AtleeCast:Shah Rukh Khan, Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi, Priya Mani, Sanya Malhotra

The idea of cinematic justice is common to films where the forces of evil are finally defeated by the hero and life returns to normal. There is another layer to this idea when real-life politics is part of the plot, and justice is established in places where there was none. Such films directly speak to the viewers and reflect a collective anger through one central figure who saves the day. In ‘Jawan‘, Shah Rukh Khan takes command as that central figure. He is responsible for making things right by first bringing the system to a standstill.Vikram Rathod (Shah Rukh Khan) is a vigilante who will not let corruption thrive. Screenwriters Atlee and S Ramanagirivasan take us into the template of ‘right vs wrong’ by creating an outlaw-protagonist fighting for the rights of the oppressed. There is little room for nuance when it comes to depicting the suffering, but that is never the focus. The strength of the film lies not in imparting finesse, but in invoking collective memory and making audiences angry enough to fight back against the system.

The film belongs completely to Shah Rukh Khan. Making a grand entry more than once, he mouths words that are more lethal than any gun. Director Atlee designs each scene carefully. It feels as if Shah Rukh is an extra layer in the screenplay; he adds twists and turns through his looks, and diverts the narrative his way with just a blink of his intense eyes. Along with the theatrics, there are resounding parallels to what is happening to him in real life, teased through the punchy dialogues. When he delivers a monologue urging citizens to become active in building the country, it feels as if he is speaking less as Vikram or Azad and more as Shah Rukh Khan, the man forced into silence by the current regime.With its simplicity, ‘Jawan’ works as a massy entertainer infused with a dose of idealism. Some scenes in the first half needed better handling and some sequences after the interval needed sharper editing. However, the film manages to enthral and pull at your heartstrings by investing all its energies in the hero. The theatres are ready to be filled with whistles and hoots all the way.

(Published 08 September 2023, 06:18 IST)

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