BizAsia Film Review: Bawaal

Afrah Khan



‘Dangal’ (2016) and ‘Chhichhore’ (2019) filmmaker, Nitesh Tiwari returns with his latest offering ‘Bawaal’, which revolves around Ajay Dixit played by Varun Dhawan who is a young teacher from a middle class family and lives in Lucknow with his parents.

He is street-smart and is talented at duping. Ajay obtains a job in a school through deception.
He has no interest in teaching children and sticks to his job only because his reputation is at stake. He is obsessed with the perfect image he has created for himself in the minds of people with the help of fake stories.

Ajay gets married to Nisha portrayed by Janhvi Kapoor. It’s an arranged marriage. Ajay wins over Nisha with the help of pretence. He falsely depicts himself as a good human being who is respectful towards elders and loving towards children.

Ajay feels that Nisha is perfect for him. She is beautiful, well-educated and hails from a wealthy family. Nisha likes Ajay too but reveals to him early on that she suffers from epilepsy. She doesn’t like keeping Ajay in the dark about her disease as she is scared of the possible negative outcome it may have on her future marriage to him if he discovers about her disease at a later stage. Ajay seems worried in the beginning about Nisha’s revelation to him but ignores it later as Nisha informs him that she hasn’t had a seizure for 10 years.

As destiny has it, Nisha suffers from a seizure on the day of their wedding. Ajay gets distraught but it’s too late for him to do anything about it. He takes his new wife home reluctantly and never really gives Nisha the position of a wife. She is only a trophy for him that he is still clinging on to as he needs to safeguard his image in society – that of a good husband.

Ajay invites more trouble in his life when he slaps his student in school for poking fun at him. The teacher is unaware that the boy he slapped is a powerful politician’s son. As a result of his shameful act Ajay gets suspended for a month from school and a disciplinary committee is set up by the principal of the school upon the directions of the politician to find out whether Ajay is deserving to continue as a teacher in the school or in any other school for that matter.

Ajay is visibly shaken by the outcome but promises himself to turn things around and get his job back.
He plans a trip to Europe with his wife so that his father gives him money for the travel and stay which would take him and his wife to destinations like Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Kraków and Warsaw.
During the trip, with the help of video calls and photographs, he schemes to teach children at his school about World War II that happened across Europe. His intention behind this gesture is only to change his image from that of a bad teacher to a good teacher.

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His behaviour towards Nisha remains indifferent at the start of their journey but as days go by he has a change of heart.

Ajay is moved by the stories of the sufferings of the victims of World War II. He sees himself experiencing their pain and misery. The arrogant man begins to realise that his problems are trivial when compared to the inhuman treatment that was meted out towards scores of people during the war.
His dislike for his wife slowly transforms into a liking. He learns that the ultimate purpose of life is to be a good human being and understand the misfortunes faced by others.

Janhvi Kapoor and Varun Dhawan do justice to their respective roles. Supporting characters played by Manoj Pahwa as Mr. Dixit (Ajay’s father), Anjuman Saxena as Mrs. Dixit (Ajay’s mother), Mukesh Tiwari as MLA and Gunjan Joshi as Pandey Ji fit their roles perfectly.

‘Bawaal’ is a good watch and has an engaging story. Its music is easy on the ears and all the songs have been woven well into the story. recommends ‘Bawaal’ to anybody who is in search of a purposeful film showing a slice of life.

BizAsia Rating: 3/5