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Bawaal Review: Varun-Janhvi’s Love Story Fails To Hit The Right Notes

Directed by Nitesh Tiwari, Bawaal explores the life of a troubled married couple with parallels drawn with World War II.





Bawaal stars Janhvi Kapoor and Varun Dhawan in the leads.
Bawaal stars Janhvi Kapoor and Varun Dhawan in the lead roles. (Image: Prime Video)

WHEN filmmaker Nitesh Tiwari announced his film Bawaal, the audiences waited with a baited breath for the movie maverick to create magic onscreen, just like his previous works Dangal and Chhichore. Bawaal starring Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor in the lead roles released on Amazon Prime Video on July 21.

Just like every other Nitesh Tiwari film, Bawaal narrates the story of one’s internal imperfections and its realizations with a mix of humor, drama and life-changing twists. Bawaal is a story of a dysfunctional couple: Ajay Dixit aka Ajju (Varun) and Nisha (Janhvi).

While Ajju the college professor resides in Lucknow with his parents, he strongly believes in societal standards and norms. He agrees to marry Nisha because she would look good as his better half in the eyes of the society; she’s good looking, is academically sound and belongs to a respected family.

A twist in the plot arrives when Nisha tells Ajju that she suffers from epilepsy, but tells him that she had not had any fits in the past decade. Ajju agrees to marry her, but on the day of their wedding, she forgets to take her medicine and has a fit. 

Devastated by the dent in his image, he starts maintaining distance from his wife but can’t let her go to ‘maintain his image’. The rage inside him continues and he slaps the son of an MLA and gets suspended. He now devises a plan to recover his image and goes on a tour to Europe to educate his students about World War II by visiting the locations where the war was fought. He asks Nisha to accompany him as well, because he wants to keep up with the norms of a ‘good marriage’ in society. How the trip changes their lives forms the rest of the plot.

The story by Ashwini Iyer Tiwari starts off as intriguing, but gets too conventional. Boy meets girl, falls in love and the problems begin. The narrative is uncomplicated and you can understand why the makers chose World War II as the underlying theme of the film and the parallels are established well. Paris, Normandy, Berlin, Amsterdam and Auschwitz, Nisha and Ajju’s married life sees a turmoil in the backdrop of World War 2. With each city, the couple fights their inhibitions and their relationship transforms as the story flows and delves deeper into Ajju’s self realization with parallels given to the war story.

The film gets too heavy in the second half and turns into more of a snoozefest. Even the climax seems a little too stretched and fails to make the hard-hitting impact it intends to.

The dialogues and screenplay by Nikhil Mehrotra, Shreyas Jain, Piyush Gupta and Nitesh Tiwari is captivating and gives you scoops of humor and drama to keep you hooked to the screens.

Varun Dhawan as Ajuu gives a decent performance, and manages to keep up with the emotional capabilities needed to be displayed in the character. Even Janhvi seems to be choosing scripts wisely and lets her eyes do the major part of storytelling. Both the actors live up to the script’s expectations.

With the lack of a compelling narrative, the film ends up being a big-budgeted average drama. There are a lot of novel messages given out in the film, but it doesn’t come out as organic but rather too preachy.

Bawaal on a whole makes for a good one time watch and has its heart at the right place. Despite decent performances, it doesn’t live up to the expectations from a ‘Nitesh Tiwari’ cinematic experience. 

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