Review: ‘Jawan’ (2023), starring Shah Rukh Khan, Nayanthara and Vijay Sethupathi

October 10, 2023

by Carla Hay

Shah Rukh Khan in “Jawaan” (Photo courtesy fo Yash Raj Films)

“Jawan” (2023)

Directed by Atlee

Hindi with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in Mumbai, India, the action film “Jawan” has an all-Indian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A prison guard hijacks a subway to get money for financially struggling farmers, and he finds out that he has a connection to a law enforcement captain who is at the scene of the crime.

Culture Audience: “Jawan” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of the movie’s headliners and action movies that have secret identities as part of the plot.

Shah Rukh Khan in “Jawaan” (Photo courtesy fo Yash Raj Films)

“Jawan” uses a lot of familiar plot devices in these types of lengthy action films about revenge, corruption, and people with secrets. Some of the story’s twists could have been handled better, but the performances remain engaging. A major plot twist can be predicted by looking at certain characters in the movie.

Directed by Atlee (who co-wrote the “Jawan” screenplay with S. Ramanagirivasan), “Jawan” begins by showing a subway train being hijacked in Mumbai, India. The hijacker is named Azad (played by Shah Rukh Khan), and he is a prison guard at a women’s jail. Azad is holding the subway hostage and has six women prisoners who are helping him. He wants ₹40,000 crore as ransom for the hostages. He says he wants the money to use the money to help farmers in India.

The other main character in the story is Captain Vikram Rathore (also played by Khan), who was a special ops commando the Indian Army. Captain Rathore has a connection to Azad that is a major plot reveal that won’t be mentioned in this review. However, viewers can easily figure it out when they notice that the same actor is playing both roles.

Khan handles these dual roles with aplomb, even though it can be a little distracting when the plot twist is revealed. The movie should have shown this plot twist much later in the film. As it stands, “Jawan” has plenty of suspense in this “Robin Hood”-type of story that raises provocative questions about wealth inequality and what or if anything should be done about it.

Yash Raj Films released “Jawan” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on September 7, 2023.

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