Bollywood has given us countless memorable films, touching upon diverse themes and emotions. However, not every movie manages to strike the right chord with its audience. Bawaal, a recent Bollywood release directed by Nitesh Tiwari, attempts to explore the premise of personal growth and redemption through an unorthodox approach. While the concept of a flawed individual learning from a more accomplished partner might be serviceable, Bawaal falters significantly in execution. The film has received considerable criticism for its inappropriate use of historical references, especially concerning the Holocaust, which has raised eyebrows and disappointed viewers. In this article, we delve into five compelling reasons why Bawaal falls short and why it may not be worth your time and attention.

Misjudged Plot

The central plot of Bawaal revolves around a history teacher named Ajay (Varun Dhawan) who suffers from an inflated ego, projecting an image of invincibility to his students and acquaintances. His transformation from an inadequate man to a better individual is fuelled by his relationship with Nisha (Janhvi Kapoor), his wife who is more mature and accomplished. While the premise is problematic in itself but we let it slide under the carpet hoping the Bollywood stereotypical plot might get intriguing. Unfortunately, the film takes an unfortunate turn when it decides to centre the narrative around a tour of Second World War sites. This decision, in itself, proves to be woefully misjudged and detracts from the potential of the underlying storyline.

Reasons why Bawaal does not impress

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Insensitive Portrayal of Historical Tragedy

Perhaps the most egregious flaw in Bawaal lies in its insensitive portrayal of the Holocaust. The film attempts to draw parallels between the atrocities of the concentration camps and the struggles of the central couple’s relationship, leading to a disturbing and inappropriate comparison. Scenes depicting Ajay and Nisha visiting Auschwitz and dressing in striped uniforms while attempting to kindle their romance are not only jarring but also deeply disrespectful to the memory of those who suffered during one of history’s darkest periods.

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Lack of Believable Chemistry

Despite competent performances by Janhvi Kapoor and Varun Dhawan, their chemistry as a couple in Bawaal falls flat. The film struggles to make their connection believable, resulting in a lack of emotional investment from the audience. The rushed and unconvincing development of their relationship further hampers the overall impact of the narrative. 

Failure to Balance Seriousness and Entertainment

Bawaal tries to blend serious themes, such as personal growth and historical tragedies, with elements of entertainment. However, the film fails to strike the right balance between these aspects, leaving viewers puzzled and uncomfortable with the jarring transitions. The attempt to inject humour and charm amidst sensitive topics further dilutes the film’s impact, leaving audiences questioning the director’s vision and narrative choices. Amidst disturbing backgrounds, a punch line is landed, making it difficult for the audience to even lend a half smile. 

Questionable Creative Choices

From the dialogue choices to the decision to shoot at a concentration camp, Bawaal is marred by questionable creative decisions. The film’s dialogues trivialise the historical significance of the Holocaust, using it as a plot device for the couple’s romance. Additionally, the decision to shoot at a concentration camp raises ethical concerns, as it seemingly exploits a place of immense tragedy for the sake of visual aesthetics. Hurting the sentiments of people for the sake of entertainment is an unacceptable strategy and no justification can cover the loop.

Reasons why Bawaal fails

The fixer problem

The underlying stereotype that the woman’s primary responsibility lies in fixing a man is deeply rooted in the film. While a woman of Nisha’s calibre has institutionalised this “duty’ to the extent that she is okay with the slightest ‘hope” thrown at her is both bizarre and infuriating. Movies surely are a reflection of a society but they are also a key to change in society. While this reflection is outdated, it definitely does not work in the direction of change. 

Reasons as why Bawaal disappoints

Bawaal attempts to deliver a unique and engaging story of personal transformation through an unorthodox approach. However, the evident flaws in the film result in an unsatisfying cinematic experience. As viewers, we are left disappointed and disheartened by the missed opportunity to explore a thought-provoking narrative with tact and sensitivity. Ultimately, Bawaal falls short of its potential and proves to be a misguided Bollywood film that may not be worth your time and attention.