#SpoilerAlert: Jawan smashes box office numbers riding on high-octane action, a social message, and SRK

The King continues to enjoy his action-hero era in this South sensation, Atlee Kumar’s action-packed drama that calls out the politics of the country.

Harper's Bazaar India

Some actors release films during a festival and some actors' film release turns into a festival itself. Rajnikanth has been enjoying this fandom for years, and he is now joined by the very able, the very adorable, King Khan. Just when you thought the king is getting older and his charm is waning, he’s back and how! He has made all 'Box Office Hits', including his comeback after three years in Pathan, seem extremely miniscule.

If you are still clueless about what we’re trying to say, you probably are living under a rock. Jawan, that released yesterday, has become the biggest box-office hit of the year having raked in approx. ₹75crore in India (all languages) on day one and an estimated resounding ₹150cr worldwide. Safe to say, the movie hasn’t just lived up to the hype, but surpassed all expectations. 

And here’s why. For starters, it’s got SRK, who’s in top form, and Atlee Kumar, a name most lovers of South Indian cinema are well-versed with, joining hands to deliver an action-packed masterpiece with jaw dropping stunt sequences. It also has a sprinkle of the other right ingredients—emotions and patriotism. 

The mass hysteria of South Indian cinema continues

Baahubali, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, KGF: Chapter One, KGF: Chapter 2, RRR and Pushpa: The Rise - Part 1 have a lot in common. They all have a larger-than-life action hero who unleashes hell on evil and whistle-worthy scenes and dialogues—a winning formula that South Indian filmmakers continue to develop. Jawan happens when you take all those ingredients and get Atlee, a massy director who knows how to give audiences exactly what they’ve come to see. Add to this the biggest name in Bollywood and be ready to witness the hysteria on the big screen. 

A majority of the country (and the world) has only recently witnessed the acting calibre of actors such as Allu Arjun, Prabhas, Yash and Ram Charan, and NT Rama Rao Jr, whose films have transcended boundaries to set new benchmarks in the world of cinema. But the world lost their heart to a man, who spread his arms out wide. All those South Indian movies that also made it big on the box office didn’t have one thing that Jawan has—India’s most recognisable name in the world, SRK. 

It’s King Khan’s world and we’re living in it

SRK is truly the heart and soul of the film. If you thought you’d seen him at his best in an all-out action film in Pathan, he knocks the ball out of the park in Jawan. Despite most of the scenes being high on action, it's impressive to watch SRK’s emotional range and intensity throughout the film—he effortlessly goes on from being patriotic, angry, and fearless, to happy and romantic in a single scene. We’ve seen him play a soldier and police officer before, but Jawan is different as the depth of the story brings out a commitment unlike anything we’ve seen before. After having delivered two superhits this year, all eyes are on Dunki now that's set to release at the end of this year. 

A well-timed movie ahead of next year’s elections

There is a scene in the movie where it feels like SRK is looking us straight in the eye and dropping one truth bomb after another. He urges us to choose our leaders wisely and ask them the right questions before electing them. He also touches upon issues like farmer’s suicides, the state of hospitals, and the condition of arms that our soldiers fight with. One often questions logic in such masala movies, but Jawan leaves audiences to introspect the choices we’ve made and what we can do in the future. 

Atlee at his best

Director Atlee is a master of his craft as he gives the audience exactly what they’ve paid for. If you go through his filmography, you’d see a pattern with films such as Mersal, Bigil, Andhaghaaram. These aren’t just massy, the screenplay is the perfect blend of action, emotion, and a social message that always strikes the right chord. With Jawan, Atlee keeps the tone and mood consistent as we see elements of duty and honour throughout. The action sequences, gunfights, and battle scenes are executed with utmost precision and are highly impressive. The scenes make you feel you’re right there, experiencing it (not having jump cuts in the scenes takes things to the next level). A special mention to G K Vishnu, the cinematographer, who has given us some stunning visuals that make for an immersive experience. 

The supporting cast packs a punch as well

Memorable performances by supporting cast is a testament of how good the story and direction is. We love to hate Vijay Sethupathi, the antagonist who matches up to SRK in every scene they are together in. Kollywood queen Nayanthra, who is equally bad-ass as the no-nonsense NSG officer,  looks like a dream on screen. Deepika Padukone’s cameo is sweet with her character playing a very important part of the story. 

The music lets you down, but Anirudh makes up for it in the background score

For the second time, I’ve watched an SRK film this year that had a song that I didn’t like the first few times I heard it, only for me to love it the moment I heard it in the theatre. I’m talking about Jhoome Jo Pathaan from Pathaan and Zinda Banda in Jawan. Just like how certain movies are best experienced in theatres, songs follow that rule as well. Both these songs just make you want to tap your feet in the cinema and join those who are dancing at their seats. But sadly, the rest of the songs from the film, including Chaleya, Not Ramaiya Vastavaiya, and Faraatta, don’t stand out. . 

That said, don’t let the songs take away the fact that Anirudh Ravichander, in his Bollywood debut as a composer, has done a fantastic job with the film’s background score. There are a few scenes that don’t just look massy, but sound massy as well (the words are literally used in the action sequences that are loaded with goosebump moments).