Jawan: Everything all at Once
Star Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Nayanthara, Deepika Padukone, Priyamani, Vijay Sethupathi, Sanya Malhotra, Riddhi Dogra, and Sanjay Dutt
Music Composed by Anirudh Ravichander
Edited by Ruben
Cinematography by G K Vishnu
Directed by Atlee
South Indian films have always been trying to master the “commercial formula” to give a “cinematic experience” to everyone at a time. From the 1970’s commercial cinema and formula have been the most talked about aspects of filmmaking. While Hollywood follows “what sells”, Indian Cinema has been trying to master “how it sells”. The difference between them is while one kind of business allows someone to reinvent another form asks everyone to follow the format. In business, until someone implements unethical practices, everything is legal and ethical. So, doing whatever works for you is not wrong or any crime. But do we need to keep repeating everything “what sells” or “sell everything how someone else did”? Telling a story in a believable way should be our first preference rather than just telling or showing something people “might” love to see. For example, In one film, it is deemed to be cool to showcase people swimming and wearing bikinis, and in every film, we do it, does it look cool? Isn’t it why, many films and filmmakers receive hatred for trying to use women for their body rather than for their skills?
Some might ask what is wrong with showcasing, what sells in the manner it sells. It is not about wrong and right, it is about sustaining the interest of a person who came to watch your film and giving them something unique. Yes, using a hero or a star, who has never appeared in one kind of a film or never been part of one kind of filmmaking, would be something fresh. But will that remain memorable? Not every film is meant to be memorable but why not try to make something that is really remembered? Why should we say, film is for momentary gains but not for long-term gains? Creating any kind of content asks us to increase its repeat value. Tells us to make it as best as possible, so that, it will remain fresh and asks you to revisit it again and again. Well, there are only 7 kinds of stories but the effectiveness of narrating one is not fixed. You can make a movie that talks about revenge like Memento  or Ghajini . While Memento, follows a person who is unstable and unreliable and might do anything at any moment and follow his revenge, Ghajini, makes it a sugar-coated simple revenge drama. Both did work and became memorable. So, commercial film can take inspiration from art and become something new, too.
Shah Rukh Khan, kind of an actor has been part of different kinds of films. He made experiments, he made regular format-based films, and worked in all sorts of genres. He was the breath of fresh air when everyone did action films with romantic films that one generation accepted with glee. When romantic films became regular and too routine, he kept experimenting and now, finally, became an action hero. If you remember, his Baazigar  is a revenge drama with some ounces of romance. His Karan-Arjun  is a complete action film. His roots have always been in popular cinema but he did Kabhi Haa Kabhi Naa , Asoka , Swades , and Chak De India , too. So, for him, exploring a complete action template film like Jawan is not something too bold or outlandish. It makes sense after facing “rejection” in romance, he tries action films. Looking at the way, people accept it, action films seem to suit him and he might continue.
My problem would be to not see him typecast himself in half-baked commercial formula films like Jawan. His introduction makes sense. Actually, it made me sit upright and notice the detailing, the sense of presentation, and the commercial eye, where the hero is immediately represented as “Superhuman” and “God“. Had this movie been about that “Superhero-ish” person, it would have been more fun to explore. In fact, this story needed to be about that man and his antics. But it goes into heist drama mode that director Shankar masters in. Even the great Shankar, had to swallow a bitter pill with 2.0  when his vigilante justice formula has been used to create a “right villain” but not a hero. Here, it is used to create a hero but that hero seems to be solving everything like a “parallel government”. If that is the theme, then the story should’ve been about that superhero-ish man, who wants to change the system that wronged him. That would’ve made sense and given this story a streamlined and focused narrative. That superhero trying to target one man who is in fact running a “parallel government” with money or influence, would’ve been a great commercial film.
When you go and bring in his son trying to avenge him, it just becomes hasty. Yes, son, the wanting to establish a good name for his father is a noble plotline. But why a jailer is using “criminals”? Or why is he not fighting their cases legally through the system? We never get any answers from him. Fine. Can he just tell us why is he not taking one cause and fighting for it fully? Why does he need multiple causes? Electoral and people not realising the power of the vote is the main problem for everything, at least this is what is said in the conclusion. So, from the first frame, this could have been the problem that another character deals with while the “Superman-ish” person is trying to get his revenge on the system and influencer. That would have still given a chance for the Interval episode, bike chase, and pretty much everything. It would have also given Azad, a real purpose to fight for while Vikram Rathore becomes the symbol of justice. When all we want is to make a good commercial cinema in a way that works big time, then why not an old story that truly has every plot hole covered? Why does Son think he needs to be in the system when the same system has wronged his parents?
It all happens because no one has shown Shah Rukh Khan in a police uniform in recent years. It all happened because Shah Rukh Khan never played a character in Sunny Deol, Salman Khan style. It all happened because Shah Rukh Khan never did a film in Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi, Vijay, Ajith, Balakrishna style. While it all could happen, the only problem is that had he happened with a proper character arc for Vikram Rathore and Azad, it would have been great. Atlee cares just about saying that your favorite hero is God and all that he touches, walks on, and says is “writing on the wall”. He is always a do-gooder, he is always “superman-ish”. Well, even in stories of folklore and puranas that always talk of Gods, we do see them making mistakes and correcting them. Or helping a secondary character to learn and grow. Rather in Atlee’s world, God is only present to help and walk in high motion frames. While it works commercially, because of the star, one day, I would like to see it working for the story and screenplay rather than the star power and prowess, screen presence. Jawan is a film that will give box office some boost but it won’t end up being fresh or have revisit value like Karan-Arjun or Darr  or Baazigar.
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