Jawaan: An uninspiring patriotic drama
The tepid narrative, with poorly placed songs, surreal heist, a regressive romantic track, and characters that lack verve, make this a dreary comeback from director BVS Ravi
Telugu audience has always been fond of films with patriotic themes. Unarguably, it is one of the most favourite genres that set off fireworks at the box office. Films like Bharateeyudu, Khadgam, Tagore and Leader are still fresh in our memories, and on the heels of such inspiring stories, director BVS Ravi is back to direction with a film that is layered with patriotism, action and a dash of romance.
Direction: BVS Ravi
Cast: Sai Dharam Tej, Mehreen, Prasanna
Two childhood friends Jai and Keshav (Sai Dharam Tej and Prasanna) with divergent dreams, take contrasting paths. While the former admires Bhagat Singh and treads a righteous path with a zeal to serve the nation by pursuing a career in the Deference Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the latter ends up as a mercenary, slides into the dark and join hands with anti-national forces to steal a secretive mission launching system named Octopus. What follows is a battle-of-wits between the friends-turned-foes.
The film is strewn with a long-familiar yet uncomplicated plot. Director BVS Ravi’s attempts to evoke patriotism seem forced. He tries to make the most of the second hour with a cat-and-mouse chase, the premise of which is, to a large extent, inspired by recent outings like Dhruva and PSV Garuda Vega. It's all predictable and you can guess exactly what happens in the end.
For instance, Jai calls on cops to rescue his family members from a bunch of goons and straight away walks into the ACP office, confesses and whacks the telephone to receive a call from an invincible antagonist. The cops are shown to be incompetent, with their only job being to act on the whims and fancies of the protagonist. The challenges Keshav puts Jai through seem puerile, lacking thrills. The tepid narrative comprising poorly placed songs, surreal heist, a regressive romantic track and some characters that lack verve make things dreary.
A few twists in the tale are well-written and the film literally builds on some small things. For me, the best parts were a message disseminated through Whatsapp to find out DRDO’s mission, the sequence where Jai exposes Keshav and his speech on failure. The film also justifies the ideology of an RSS activist, who is always willing to sacrifice his family or his deeds for the sake of his country.
Sai Dharam Tej gives an intense performance, but he cannot save this film. Although Prasanna starts on a promising note, he soon looks completely disoriented as the story progresses. Mehreen hardly gets any screen space, and has nothing to do, aside from guaranteeing a song everytime she shows up. Kota Srinivasa Rao makes an impact even with his limited screen presence. The songs and background score are disappointing and don’t comply with the scenes.
Overall, Jawaan fails to inspire owing to its lacklustre narrative and predictability. A disappointing comeback from the director after a break of six years.