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Most of Shah Rukh Khan’s movies flawlessly blend the personal and the political, but Jawan is not one of them.

By Sep 7, 2023
Most of Shah Rukh Khan's movies flawlessly blend the personal and the political, but Jawan is not one of them.Most of Shah Rukh Khan's movies flawlessly blend the personal and the political, but Jawan is not one of them.

Shah Rukh Khan has long been viewed as a representation of sentimental nationalism. His patriotism, however, becomes sanctimonious, if not shrill, in Jawan.

In the movie Jawan, Shah Rukh Khan turns around on Pathaan. He supported the line in that movie, “Ye mat poochho desh ne tumhare liye kya kiya, but ye ki tumne desh ke liye kya kiya.” However, in Jawan, he kidnaps politicians, steals voting equipment, holds a packed Mumbai metro hostage, and breaks into public networks. But the intention is still good.

Azad (Shah Rukh), who is determined to fix every ailing aspect of the Indian governmental system, from agriculture to health to defense, is in charge of a group of five girls with a variety of backgrounds and abilities. All five of those girls have experienced injustice in the past, and Shah Rukh is on a mission to fight for their rights.

Jawan juggles his political and personal lives.

However, this second-hand patriotism quickly approaches the masculine savior syndrome. Additionally, despite the narrative’s quick pace, it starts to follow a formulaic course, and the tone shifts to one of preachiness. We finally realize Atlee has been keeping the ace near his chest during the intermission block.

Coherence and emotion start to genuinely appear in the tale after we learn about Azad’s beginnings. Jawan then begins to ride two horses, one for a more important national purpose and the other toward personal salvation. A revenge narrative and a patriotic drama alternate with micro to macro, personal to national, and oscillation. Even if the two have the same genesis, the transition is rarely smooth.

Every aspect of Shah Rukh Khan’s life is political.

Shah Rukh Khan is the ideal candidate for a story that combines the personal and the political. His personal is his political, and his style of patriotism has always been to be unapologetically himself, to wear his identity on his sleeve, firmly yet quietly. However, in Jawan, he is frequently posturing, especially in the preachy passages in which he urges his countrymen to vote wisely. Where his character’s agenda is personal, he’s instinctively effective. It’s always a personal matter for Shah Rukh Khan. And in order to be the most political, he had to be precisely that.

In one of the film’s greatest scenes, Shah Rukh’s soldier challenges Vijay Sethupathi’s weapon supplier about selling defective rifles to the Indian Army, putting his fellow soldiers in danger. When Vijay explains the error was human, blaming the soldiers for their lack of training on contemporary equipment, Shah Rukh fires an empty shot at him. He informs a surprised Vijay that ‘Jawans’ like him aren’t afraid to give their life, but the payoff must be for the welfare of the nation, not the greed of a few like him. He adds that it was a human error, but not on the part of the jawans. It’s a mistake made by selfish businessmen like him.

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