Bawaal is the story of Ajay Dixit, a high school teacher who is obsessed with his image, only to learn that appearances don’t matter as much in life. The film is streaming on Prime Video.
Ajay Dixit is a high school history teacher with a great reputation in his hometown but the truth is that it is all a facade that Ajay maintains because he is obsessed with his image.
He doesn’t actually teach the students during class unless someone is watching and has a strained relationship with his wife of 9 months because of her epilepsy.
When his image is at risk after a costly mistake in school, Ajay decides to take a trip around Europe to teach his students about the history of World War II and ends up learning a thing or two himself while also growing closer to his wife.
Varun Dhawan is accurate to a fault in this role and embodies the role of Ajay perfectly. His character is almost villainous and regressive for the first half and kudos to Dhawan for making it feel authentic.
Janhvi Kapoor is charming if not spectacular in the role of Nisha. She’s the damsel who can definitely hold her own and is the catalyst for Ajay’s improvement.
Stars like Manoj Pahwa, Prateek Pachauri, and Mukesh Tiwari play a small yet integral part in setting Ajay’s redemption arc. They have their moments.
The story arc is quite pleasing and there are several emotional moments that have a true impact. The fact that his journey is quite obvious doesn’t take away from the joy factor of the film.
The switch to black and white for more serious moments such as every time Ajay is learning about the war is a wonderful choice. Coupled with the somber explanations, each scene is particularly profound.
The dialogue is filled with colloquial idioms and there is a certain charm to the way they are all delivered. When it is not serious, the film has a fun, casual tone and the balance is maintained well.
The songs are kept to a minimum and placed at the right moments during the film to fit the narrative adequately.
Story beats such as Nisha being shunned for her epilepsy or the fact that a video of a husband and wife enjoying themselves after a few drinks would cause an issue highlights the regressive society we still live in and it’s an uncomfortable start to the film.
The background score is overindulgent and is more of a diminishing factor at times as it pulls too much attention.
Bawaal is a wonderful film about emotional maturity and rightly follows the trend of productions on streaming platforms that move away from the traditional film structures of Bollywood. It is a genuinely moving film with great performances and important lessons being taught.
Director: Nitesh Tiwari
Date Created: 2023-07-21 01:00