‘Jawan’: Cast & Crew
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi, Deepika Padukone, Priyamani, Sanya Malhotra, Sunil Grover, Riddhi Dogra, Sanjeeta Bhattacharya, Girija Oak, Lehar Khan, Aaliyah Qureishi, Yogi Babu, Mukesh Chhabra, Eijaz Khan, Astha Agarwal, Kenny Basumatary, Jaffer Sadiq, Ganesh Gurung, Rutuja Shinde, Benedict Garrett, Abhishek Deswal, Sai Dheena, Ashlesha Thakur, Smita Tambe, Omkar Das Manikpuri, Atlee, Viraj Ghelani, Sanjay Dutt
Available In: Theatres
Duration: 2 Hours 49 Minutes
Azad Rathore (Shah Rukh Khan) is a prison officer at a women’s prison who has a purpose to clear the name of his soldier-father Vikram Rathore (Shah Rukh Khan) and keep a promise made to his mother Aishwarya (Deepika Padukone) to become a vigilante and bring justice to the oppressed. Azad and his gang of women consisting of Lakshmi (Priyamani), Eeram (Sanya Malhotra), Ishkra (Girija Oak), Kalki (Lehar Khan), Helena (Sanjeeta Bhattacharya) and Janhvi, continuously work towards justice for the nation’s citizens, where they face challenges from senior cop and Azad’s love interest Narmada Rai (Nayanthara), another senior cop (Sanjay Dutt) and a global weapons dealer Kaali Gaikwad (Vijay Sethupathi).
Shah Rukh Khan once said, ‘I make bad guys look very cool’. Indeed, he does, and ‘Jawan’ is another proof of the same. The swagger that SRK brings on screen with not just one, but two characters is unmatchable. There are hardly any actors in today’s times who can make an entry onto the screens in so many different ways and get cheered on every time they do the entry. SRK manages to bring that flamboyance that used to be there in yesteryear Amitabh Bachchan’s ‘angry young man’ performances and Salman Khan’s ‘high-flying Dabangg’ sort of performances. You’ll be drawn into the film deeper and deeper only because of the cool charm of the bad boy character. The best part of his SRK’s performance is that the shortcomings of the rest of the actor’s characters are forgotten easily because of Khan’s larger-than-life stylish swank.
Nayanthara does well with the limited screen time she has. Even though she had a fantastic start to the character in the first half, somehow that performance isn’t so stand-out in the second half. In the second half, she just turns into being one of the girls and there is no ‘lady superstar’ kind of sexiness to the character anymore. That hurts. Feels like her character was written half-baked and left high and dry in the middle.
Vijay Sethupathi brings his charm to this weapon’s dealer character. The character’s younger days are definitely a charm to watch as Vijay Sethupathi manages to bring that quirky gangster feel to it very well. Sadly, in his older avatar, he is very mellowed down as a villain, and that crazy madness of a villain is somewhat lost. However, he totally makes it up with the sarcasm in his dialogue delivery, which lands perfectly in the bull’s eye every time.
All the other women in SRK’s gang have done their parts decently. Even if their screen time was minimal, they managed to get the characters to come alive with their lively performances. Priyamani, Sanya Malhotra, and Lehar Khan are the top picks. Also, a special mention to Sanjeeta Bhattacharya, who might not have too much to say dialogue-wise, but whenever she’s onscreen, she brings an uncanny geekiness to the entire story, which in turn makes everything that the gang is doing look so much more sinister.
It felt like Sunil Grover was absolutely wasted in a character that could have been done by just about anybody. There isn’t that usual Sunil Grover quirk that you’re always looking for in his films and shows.
Deepika Padukone in a small character manages to bring that necessary depth to the entire plot of the story. Her entire sequence was hyped to be something too action-y, but it ended up being just a one-shot thing and pretty much the rest of it was just an emotional act.
Sanjay Dutt tried to be funny in the garb of a Malayalam cop, but sadly, failed miserably. Thankfully his performance was just a small cameo, so no harm was done.
I wish there was more to do for Viraj Ghelani, who was there in just a blink and a miss role. His impeccable sense of comedy just felt squandered.
‘Jawan’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects
Atlee’s direction brings to Bollywood from South Cinema what B-Town films have been missing in the past 2-3 years – escapist heroism. Films like ‘Pathaan’ and ‘Gadar 2’ worked this year, only and only because of this factor, and ‘Jawan’ just takes it a notch higher by making it even sleeker. What’s so good about Atlee’s direction is that he has shown over-the-top action sequences, but he has not made it feel entirely unbelievable – a thing that happened with ‘Pathaan’.
Also, Atlee and co-writer S. Ramanagirivasan didn’t forget to stitch his numerous action sequences with a thread of a good story. Usually, actioners like this have a wafer-thin storyline, but thankfully that’s not the case with ‘Jawan’.
To add to all of this Atlee’s screenplay even managed to keep the intrigue factor of the film alive by not revealing much about the film in hundreds of trailers and dialogue promos. He released the trailer just a week before the release, which was just about perfect. He created intrigue with a teaser and some songs. That’s it. Also, full credit goes to Atlee for having used so many cameos to perfection. That gives the plot the necessary twists and turns to keep you awake and not yawn even for a second.
G.K. Vishnu’s cinematography is top-notch. Usually in South films and in yesteryear Bollywood films as well, you have got the hero’s entry marked as a high point in the film. Nowadays that’s slightly missing in Hindi cinema as everyone is trying to make the hero look oh-so-real and believable. G.K. Vishnu has given audiences not one but maybe 10 different whistle-worthy entry sequences of Shah Rukh Khan. And not just him, even for Nayanthara, Vijay Sethupathi and Deepika Padukone. The slow-motion shots with the hero coming out of the smoke in full swagger mode and then kicking ass – that’s something that has been missing in Bollywood for ages, and G.K. Vishnu’s brilliant cinematography brings that back with a bang. Fantastic!
Anirudh Ravichander’s music and background score is another high point of the film. The sinister background score gave the apt feeling of a Hollywood westerner. This, coupled with a brilliant usage of old Hindi songs, makes the music oh-so-cherishable. It’s not that the songs will be evergreen and remain with you throughout your life, but they create the impact necessary in the film at that particular moment.
Antony L. Ruben’s editing is probably the only low point in the film as the film’s stretched to almost 3 hours. Shah Rukh Khan’s swashbuckling performance definitely will keep you hooked but still sitting for like 3 hours in a theatre is not something that today’s audiences are ready to do at the drop of a hat. Even hard-core fans of King Khan might watch the film, maybe twice in theatres, and not something like watching back-to-back numerous screenings of their favourite superstar, and the only reason for that is the excessive length of the film.
‘Jawan’: Can Kids Watch It?
‘Jawan’ is without a doubt a full paisa vasool. Shah Rukh Khan’s swagger is unmatchable. In an action avatar, he has nailed it not just in one but two roles. While the rest of the cast has managed to catch up to SRK’s flamboyance, it’s the underlying story with a heartfelt message that will win your hearts. Quite a few unpredictable cameos pump up the fun. To add to all of that, there is Atlee’s copacetic direction. He builds up the fun with numerous slow-motion shots and swashbuckling entry sequences. Fans of Shah Rukh Khan will inevitably love this, but what’s even better is that people who don’t like King Khan’s performances might also enjoy this to the hilt. This definitely is a Must Watch. I am going with 4 stars.