In Nitesh Tiwari's Bawaal, we are introduced to Ajay (Varun Dhawan), a self-absorbed and boastful individual from Lucknow.
He meticulously maintains an image of a suave and sophisticated man about town, though his actual knowledge and job as a history teacher are lacking.
Ajay's life takes an unexpected turn when he encounters Nisha (Janhvi Kapoor), a sensible and charming woman, who becomes a catalyst for change.
Before reaching the foreseeable conclusion, Ajay and Nisha embark on a journey to several European cities that were deeply affected by World War 2 - Paris, Amsterdam, Normandy, Berlin, and finally, Auschwitz.
Ajay plans to use this experience to create reels for his upcoming history class, hoping his students will be impressed.
However, this approach seems a bit misguided, as proper textbooks would likely do the job more effectively.
Additionally, a comic relief element involving Gujarati travelers and their peculiar habits falls flat and loses its impact.
Several aspects of the film raise concern, particularly Ajay's alarming reaction to Nisha's epilepsy, a condition she lives with.
ALSO READ | Sri Raghupati: Why This Is An Important Film
For a film released in 2023, the portrayal of his visible disgust is shocking and insensitive.
Epilepsy is a common condition that many people manage successfully, yet Ajay's revulsion towards it persists throughout the movie, causing discomfort.
Eventually, he learns a lesson and undergoes a change of heart, but the damage caused by his initial attitude remains perplexing and leaves a bitter taste.
In summary, Bawaal attempts to explore the transformation of an uncouth braggart through the influence of a good woman, but struggles to develop a coherent and sensitive narrative.
The film's potential to be unique and impactful gets lost amidst faltering plot choices and insensitive depictions, leaving the audience with mixed feelings about its message and portrayal.
Bawal movie trailer