The Hindi film Bawaal is directed by Nitesh Tiwari and stars Varun Dhawan, Janhvi Kapoor, Manoj Pahwa, Vyas Hemang, Mukesh Tiwari, Prateek Pachori.
Where can you watch Neeyat in the UAE?
Bawaal is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video in the UAE.
- Varun Dhawan’s and Jahnvi Kapoor’s acting
- Interesting premise
- Lack of chemistry between the lead couple
- Sloppy screenplay
- Narrative doesn’t use the novel premise
History, in general, is not the favourite subject of Indians. History as a cinematic plot is even more so. The recent film Laal Singh Chaddha is a case in point. Even if based on the English film Forrest Gump, in which the hero’s coming of age as an individual is contoured smartly around historical American events, LSC did not use similar epoch-making occasions in the annals of India to powerfully pilot the script. Somehow the mix didn’t work.
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In Nitesh Tiwari’s Bawaal, we have an interesting premise. An inconsiderate husband, a history teacher, becomes a better human being after visiting historical World War locations in Europe. Imagine Auschwitz, the location of heinous Nazi camps, being the place of rapprochement between the testy ticklish couple. On the face of it, this looks like a fabulous idea. But the director doesn’t come up with enough meat in the plot, and we get a wafer-thin, skin-deep narrative. The moral fable never gets rousing.
The story is simple. Ajay (Varun Dhawan) is a history tutor at a school in Lucknow. He is self-centred, and his ways are not always above the board. He marries Nisha (Jahnvi Kapoor), who suffers from a sensitive medical condition. But Ajay doesn’t show a kind heart and sensitivity to her medical plight. Ergo, their relationship looks fractured. Ajay is in soup at his workplace for hitting a student. Soon enough, he plots a plan and conjures a trip to Europe where he and his wife tour historical spots. While delivering video lectures for his students, he becomes a transformed individual while Nisha proves herself to be a more doughty person than her husband credited her to be.
Varun and Jahnvi are both adequate in their roles. It is just that there is no chemistry, no real fire in their equation, which is one reason why we don’t stay invested in their togetherness. To be sure, some humour in Europe finds some sweet spots. Vyas Hemang, as the Gujarati co-passenger, does bring in some nice comedic flair. But that is not good enough to salvage this relationship drama.
What are the other critics saying about Bawaal?
Film Companion’s Anupama Chopra calls the film’s premise “dumbfounding” as it trivializes a ruthless historical period. However, she praised the film’s lead actors for taking on such a bold project, but even they could not carry the film’s weak and odd plot.
Baradwaj Rangan is generally positive about the movie. He points out that the film’s premise might come across as absurd and insensitive – comparing marriage issues with the horrors in Auschwitz – however, he recounts a similar personal incident that rewired his perspective of life, which helped sell the concept of the movie to him.
Komal Nahta praises the film, saying that the juxtaposition of World War 2 scenes and its impact on the lead characters in the film is well-written and well-shot.