August 3, 2023
“Every relationship goes through its Auschwitz…only then do we learn its significance.”
One wouldn’t expect such an unhinged line from an Amazon Prime film starring nepotism favorites Varun Dhawan and Janhvi Kapoor, but alas, here we are. Bawaal, which Nitesh Tiwari (of superhit Dangal fame) co-wrote with his wife Ashwiny and directed, has caused a whole lot of, well, bawaal (“commotion”).
Bawaal tells the story of Ajay (Dhawan) and Nisha Dixit (Kapoor), who have grown distant since marrying. That’s largely thanks to Ajay, a narcissistic world history teacher who knows little about history. When colleagues figure this out, he takes Nisha with him on a tour of Europe to learn about World War II. While discovering the atrocities of the war, he begins to grasp the error of his ways, and that we are “all a little like Hitler.”
Since its release on July 21, the film has faced considerable backlash, with Jewish organizations demanding its removal. Yet, curiously, the movie still has a fan following that has brushed past offending dialogue. In 2023, how does such an insensitive film even get made — that, too, for a global streamer?