Jawan Review

A modern-day Robin Hood and his band of female cohorts seek to right the wrongs of Indian society via a series of high-profile heists – but who is the mysterious mastermind behind these audacious crimes?

by Timon Singh |
Updated on

There are those that might have thought actor Shah Rukh Khan revitalising the Indian box office earlier in the year with his spy blockbuster Pathaan might have been a fluke. However, with his latest high-octane action-thriller Jawan shattering records in India, it goes to prove that the moniker ‘King Khan’ isn’t hyperbole.

To hammer the point home, while director Atlee’s blockbuster might feature the likes of superstars Deepika Padukone and Nayanthara, it doubles down on the appeal of its main star — literally, with the actor playing dual roles. This is Shah Rukh Khan’s film, and through the twists and turns of the film’s plot, involving myriad disguises, subterfuge and revelations, at no point are you ever allowed to forget it.


While Pathaan was another addition to the highly popular YRF Spy Universe, riffing on the Mission: Impossible and Fast & Furious franchises, Jawan is a more thoughtful beast, with its sights set firmly on the social injustices that plague India. Think Ken Loach — if Ken Loach’s films featured characters kidnapping the Health Secretary in a spectacular faux assassination attempt before demanding he fix the NHS in five hours.

Like its star, the film is constantly moving.

It’s a blockbuster that is surprisingly unafraid to shine a spotlight on corruption in India and highlight those that suffer as a result. It could almost be seen as a damning indictment of the current Indian government, with Khan’s hero at one point making a passionate plea to the public about the importance of voting to get rid of those that would put themselves ahead of the country, if not for the film’s even less subtle patriotic moments.


But don’t let this fool you into believing Jawan is a think-piece. Like its star, the film is constantly moving, not allowing its audience time to question any potential plot-hole or logic-leap before barrelling into an energetic dance sequence or furious action scene designed to put you on the edge of your seat. In an era when people are questioning whether movie stars even matter when studios seem more interested in IP, Khan once again proves that he is a law unto himself.

While some might find the tonal shifts jarring, one can’t fault Jawan’s ability to partner a strong social-justice message with crowd-pleasing action (and dance) sequences.
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