Bawaal Movie Review – An Ambitious Yet Flawed Attempt to Merge History and Romance

(Last Updated On: July 21, 2023)“Bawaal” is a daring and ambitious attempt by Nitesh Tiwari to merge the unimaginable horrors of World War II and the Holocaust with a failing marriage narrative. The film strikes immediately with its audacious premise of contextualizing historical tragedies within a mainstream Bollywood romance. Hitler and Auschwitz are used as metaphors for human greed and suffering, respectively, making for an uncomfortable and controversial combination.The story revolves around Ajay ‘Ajju’ Dixit, played convincingly by Varun Dhawan, a self-absorbed man obsessed with his public image. His wife, Nisha, portrayed by Janhvi Kapoor, is an intelligent woman who grapples with epilepsy. Ajju’s fabricated persona is threatened when he slaps a student, leading to his temporary suspension from his job as a history teacher. In an attempt to restore his image and reconnect with his wife, he devises a puzzling plan to travel to European locations affected by World War II and teach his students about the tragedy.The film’s first half delves into the complexities of marriage and touches upon deep-rooted abuse. However, the second half loses its footing as Ajju’s character undergoes a transformation. While Nisha is moved by the atrocities of war, Ajju remains disinterested and self-centered. The film uses poignant visuals to represent historical events, like the Normandy Beach invasion, effectively highlighting the futility of war. Yet, its depiction of Ajju and Nisha reconnecting in a gas chamber at Auschwitz is highly insensitive and a misjudged attempt to draw parallels between their marriage struggles and the Holocaust.The performances of Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor hold the film together. Dhawan portrays Ajju’s flawed character convincingly, making him annoyingly believable, while Kapoor infuses Nisha with a spirit that evokes empathy. Their chemistry is palpable, making their romantic scenes endearing.Despite some effective scenes, particularly those between Nisha and her mother discussing marriage issues, “Bawaal” fails to live up to its ambitious concept. Its attempt to merge the horrors of history with a failing marriage lacks nuance and sensitivity. The film’s beautiful imagery can only do so much to mask its flaws, leaving it as a disappointing and tone-deaf cinematic experience.In conclusion, “Bawaal” stands as a courageous but flawed effort that mishandles historical contexts and falls short in its exploration of complex marital dynamics. The film’s controversial premise makes it a polarizing addition to Hindi cinema and raises questions about the appropriateness of reimagining historical tragedies in the context of a fictional love story.

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