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Bawaal Movie Review: A Story Of Romance In The Shadows Of War

Modified On: 22 July 2023 | Reviewed By:

Storyline: A history teacher and his newly-wed wife from a small town in India face a troubled relationship while honeymooning in Europe, as they learn about World War II. Will they mend their relationship amidst the historically-charged backdrop?


Director: Nitesh Tiwari | Music Director: Devi Sri Prasad

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Review: Bawaal is a typical romantic travel movie—postcard-perfect sites, adventure, and the lead pair falling in love on the escapade. To begin with, props to Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and for weaving a story on love and war that’s poignant and heartrending yet has light moments and romance without one element overpowering the other.

Ajay Dixit, aka Ajju (Varun Dhawan), is a hotshot middle school teacher from Lucknow who has faked his way through life and is about keeping up appearances. He marries a full-of-life and bright girl, Nisha (Janhvi Kapoor), because a trophy wife would be good for his image. But Ajay witnesses something on their wedding day that convinces him Nisha might tarnish his perfect image. So, he bars her from stepping out of the house and mistreats her at home.

An incident at his school leads to his suspension with pending disciplinary action. To evade this, he decides to deflect everyone’s attention and complete his History syllabus on World War II by conducting classes from the holocuast sites in Europe. Since his parents fund the trip, Nisha joins him, too. The rest of the movie is about how they relive the soldiers’ and war victims’ agony. The trip proves to be one of self-discovery for Ajay.

The movie’s build-up is little slow, and it spends too much time overexplaining Ajay’s fabricated image and how he mistreats Nisha. Some tracks are long-drawn and lose the punch after a point—like a Gujarati family constantly passes packets of dry snacks to each other on the plane or when Ajay erroneously ends up at an opera instead of a museum.

The captivating run begins post-interval with the WW II recreation. All the sequences—at Omaha Beach, Anne Frank’s house, and the concentration camp—are intense and splendid. Director Nitesh Tiwary, cinematographer Mitesh Mirchandani and editor Charu Shree Roy show their prowess, especially in the transitions between the 1940s and the present. The gas chamber sequence during the fag end of the duo’s trip will especially give the viewers gooseflesh. Daniel B George’s background score also complements the scenes well. Mithoon, Tanishk Bagchi and Akashdeep Sengupta’s tracks are hummable, too.

While rediscovering love against the backdrop of the World War II is a fresh concept, writers Nitesh, Piyush Gupta, Nikhil Mehrotra, and Shreyas Jain do not have much to offer in terms of the duo’s romantic encounters or Ajay turning into a new leaf. Nisha’s life lessons are done well, such as the real war we fight is looking outward for happiness and our undying greed.

The performances of the lead actors, Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor, are the key strengths of the film. Varun's portrayal of a mediocre and selfish character who cares deeply about his image is praised for its authenticity and depth. He impressively handles scenes where he confronts his flaws, adding depth to his character.

Janhvi Kapoor's performance as a bright and humble girl who clings to the hope of finding love in her husband is also applauded. She shines particularly in scenes where she takes the lead through the painful history of World War II, showcasing her acting skills and delivering dialogues with precision.

The supporting cast, including Manoj Pahwa, Anjuman Saxena, and Mukesh Tiwari, is commended for their able support, contributing to the overall impact of the movie.

The film's historical aspect is also a positive point, particularly its depiction of World War II and the holocaust. This element seems to be an additional reason to watch the movie, as it provides a glimpse into historical events while showcasing stellar performances from the lead actors.

In total "Bawaal" is recommended for those interested in World War II history, and Varun as well as Janhvi’s stellar performances.

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