Shah Rukh Khan vehicle goes like a runaway train

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In the wake of January’s crowd-pleasing return with “Pathaan,” Shah Rukh Khan solidifies his position as Bollywood’s benevolent reigning monarch. While his earlier film adhered to established formulas, Khan’s latest offering extends its embrace, revealing glimpses of his unique cinematic vision. “Jawan” is a truly pan-Indian creation, with Tamil action maestro Atlee infusing it with the trademark exuberance and social awareness of South Indian cinema, shedding light on pressing regional issues—though it seems that Atlee might have struggled to maintain control over the narrative.

This film, resembling a runaway train, hurtles across diverse landscapes in a surprising and energetic manner. However, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it’s a bit of a wild ride with a lot happening at once.

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The movie’s most evident guiding force is its lead actor, who deftly and wittily traverses a spectrum of characters. From his enigmatic opening line, “Who am I?” Shah Rukh Khan compels us to ponder the connection between the bandaged hero liberating a village in the prologue, the gruff bald figure laying siege to Mumbai’s metro, and the prison warden seeking a second chance at love. “Jawan” is akin to a cinematic puzzle where the star himself is the enigma, providing an exceptional platform for Khan to embody an astonishing range of roles: a godly badass, a dandyish army veteran, and a doting figure in the life of a prospective stepdaughter. While ego might play a part, there are few stars, in any film industry, who can effortlessly don such a diverse array of hats with such panache.

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