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Bawaal Review: Varun Dhawan, Janhvi Kapoor Shine In Nitesh Tiwari’s Wholesome Entertainer

Bawaal Review: Nitesh Tiwari’s Bawaal featuring Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor in the lead says a lot, without saying too much. On the surface, it may be a film about an egoistic man who is only concerned about his image. But beyond it, it is a film about love, seen from the world-view of its two leading characters- Ajay and Nisha. Bawaal is not a story crafted with heavy doses of dialogue, romantic songs, or some over-the-top romance common to the genre. The beauty lies in the simplicity of it all.

The movie follows the journey of Ajay Dixit aka Ajju (Varun Dhawan), a small-town high school history teacher, and his newlywed wife Nisha (Janhvi Kapoor) who decide to go on, a Second World War trail across Europe by visiting Poland, the Netherlands, and Germany due to an incident in Ajjju’s life. The couple, who is already suffering from a strained marriage, struggles to remain afloat despite a series of events that put their love to the test and make them face their inner demons. Tiwari successfully manages to use World War-2 as a metaphor and the backdrop of the story.

But mind you, Bawaal cannot be reduced as just a love story or a page from a history book or a dramatic representation of life – it attempts to go beyond in the wisest yet simplistic way. It manages to bring all complex angles together and leave you with a genuinely emotional work of art.

It is clear from the start that this film is the kind of romantic drama that can’t be rushed. Director Nitesh Tiwari gives you a glimpse into the lives of his characters, and artfully takes you into his fold. He is content just telling the story and bringing his characters to life. Bawaal has all the right rhythms and it moves along without losing its conviction, slowly but steadily taking the audience on a thought-provoking journey. Before you know it, you are part of Ajju and Nisha’s world. It’s a world where there is love, heartbreak, ego, sacrifice, and compromises. Bawaal patiently questions our trivial issues in life and asks us to look at the bigger picture. The film entertains you with the intent of wanting you to question the important things in life and successfully manages to do that.

Tiwari does a wonderful job of letting the audience understand the nature of his characters — the good and the bad. You feel the helplessness of Nisha when her newly married husband refuses to accept her due to a reason that he is aware of even before they decided to tie the knot. You feel Ajju’s pain when he realizes that relationships are more important than maintaining an image in society. At the same time, the film is not devoid of light humour, it is slipped into the narrative so seamlessly that it will leave you surprised.

Once again Varun Dhawan is a revelation. He is wonderfully restrained, effortless and delivers a mature and refined performance. He lives the character body and soul and Bawaal is one film he can and should always be proud of. He’s complemented nicely by Janhvi. Her character Nisha’s story has an unspoken emotion that needs to be understood and the actress gets the feel of the character spot on. She manages the emotionally charged and the light-hearted scenes with equal finesse. Janhvi is growing from strength to strength with each of her films.

The fault, if you can call it that, lies at the screenplay level especially in the second half when the tempo drops and the drama runs thin. Post-intermission it slips into a swamp of pointlessness and repetition before it redeems itself in the climax. Also, the fact that audiences who’ve been fed a steady diet of masala rom-coms and thrillers will find this a tad slow and tedious. Bawaal won’t appeal to the generation of fast food and Tinder love, for sure. It is different. It is a nuanced movie that doesn’t have the bite but it has the beauty that you will find appealing for which you have to surrender yourself to it.

Bawaal falls well short of perfection, but it never comes unstuck. It passes muster as a wholesome entertainer embellished with humour, warmth, authentic emotional trappings, and actors adept at going seamlessly along with the flow. Just like Varun Dhawan’s character says, ‘Mahul aisa banao, ki logon ko mahul yaad rahe, result nahi. Tiwari surely manages to create the ‘mahul’ and the audience will also remember the results.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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