Bawaal Review: Nitesh Tiwari’s Baawal starring Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor in lead roles says a lot without saying much. On the surface, this could be a film about an egotistical person who is only concerned about his image. But beyond that, it is a film about love, seen through the world-views of its two lead characters – Ajay and Nisha. Baawal is not a story built with heavy volumes of dialogues, romantic songs or some over-the-top romance prevalent in this genre. The beauty lies in the simplicity of it all.
The film follows the journey of small-town high school history teacher Ajay Dixit aka Ajju (Varun Dhawan) and his newly married wife Nisha (Janhvi Kapoor), who decide to embark on a World War II tour across Europe, visiting Poland, the Netherlands, and Germany, due to an incident in Ajju’s life. The couple, already suffering from a strained marriage, struggle to survive despite a series of events that test their love and make them face their inner demons. Tiwari succeeds in successfully using World War II as an allegory and backdrop to the story.
But bear in mind, Baawal cannot be made just a love story or a page in a history book or a dramatic representation of life – it tries to go ahead in the smartest yet simplest way possible. It manages to bring together all the intricate angles and give you a real emotional work of art.
It is clear from the very beginning that this film is one of a kind romantic drama which can’t be rushed. Director Nitesh Tiwari gives you a glimpse into the lives of his characters, and artistically takes you into his realm. He is content with just telling the story and bringing his characters to life. Baaval has all the right beats and moves forward without losing its conviction, slowly but steadily taking the audience on a thought-provoking journey. Before you know it, you are a part of Ajju and Nisha’s world. This is a world where there is love, heartbreak, ego, sacrifice and compromise. Baawal patiently questions our trivial issues in life and asks us to see the bigger picture. The film entertains you with the intention that you want to question the important things in life and successfully manages to do so.
Tiwari does a wonderful job of making the audience understand the nature – good and bad – of his characters. You feel Nisha’s helplessness when her newly wedded husband refuses to accept her for a reason he is aware of even before they decide to tie the knot. You can feel the pain of Ajju when he realizes that relationships are more important than maintaining image in the society. Also, the film is not devoid of light humour, which is woven into the story so seamlessly that it takes you by surprise.
Once again Varun Dhawan is a revelation. He is surprisingly restrained, effortless and gives a mature and refined performance. He lives the character with body and soul and Baawal is one film he should always be proud of. Janhvi has complemented him well. There is an untold emotion in the story of her character Nisha which needs to be understood and the actress gets into the feel of the character instantly. She pulls off the emotional and light-hearted scenes with equal skill. Janhvi is getting stronger with every film she does.
The fault, if you can call it that, is at the level of the screenplay, especially in the second half when the pace slows down and the drama falters. After the intermission it slips into a quagmire of futility and repetition before redeeming itself in the climax. Also, the fact remains that viewers who have been fed a regular diet of masala rom-coms and thrillers will find it a bit slow and tiresome. Chaos will definitely not appeal to the generation of fast food and Tinder love. it is different. It is a nuanced film with no bitterness but it has the beauty that you will find attractive enough to dedicate yourself to.
Chaotic lacks perfection, but it’s never ostentatious. It qualifies as a complete entertainer equipped with humour, warmth, authentic emotional charm and an ensemble cast that is at ease with the flow. Just like Varun Dhawan’s character says, ‘Make the atmosphere such that people remember the atmosphere, not the result’. Tiwari definitely managed to create ‘Mahul’ and the audience will remember the result as well.