The prevue of Atlee’s action thriller Jawan does not reveal much. The crisply edited offering shows the different faces of Shah Rukh Khan, who plays the titular role in the film. SRK has a clean-shaven look, a half-masked face, a bandaged face and a bald and bearded look. His character has the support of girls, who pick up the gun for him. In one amusing sequence, the protagonist begins to dance inside a train, accompanied by the strains of the Hemant Kumar classic ‘Beqaraar Karke Humein’ from Biren Nag’s Bees Saal Baad. The film has good special effects, well-choreographed action sequences and catchy music. The story is reportedly about a man who sets out to correct the wrongs in society, but how his journey begins, continues and concludes is a mystery.

Will Jawan emerge as a commercial success? No other verdict of the masses seems likely. The film stars SRK in the central role after his emphatic re-emergence as the biggest Bollywood megastar. It is a larger-than-life, action-packed film of the kind that makes viewers gravitate to the theatres, as seen in the case of Prashanth Neel’s Kannada language KGF films or Siddharth Anand’s Pathan. Many members of Jawan’s crew are from the South, which is a good strategy that can result in more variety in big-budget Hindi films. It is an approach to filmmaking that cash-rich producers in Bollywood must consider more often.

The Atlee factor

Directors from the South have achieved considerable success in the market for Hindi cinema. The long list includes names like Mani Ratnam (Roja’s Hindi dubbed version, Bombay’s Hindi dubbed version, Dil Se…), Priyadarshan (Hera Pheri, Bhool Bhulaiyaa), Ram Gopal Varma (Satya, Company, Sarkar, Rangeela), Prabhu Deva (Wanted, Rowdy Rathore) and AR Murugadoss (Ghajini). Well-known for his work with actor Vijay in Tamil films, Atlee has a knack of delivering crowd-pleasers such as the Atlee-Vijay collaborations: the action thrillers Theri and Mersal and the sports drama Bigil. Because of the wealth of talent at his disposal, he has what it takes to deliver the goods with Jawan at the box office.

Sethupati, Vijay and some others 

Many actors from the South have a huge fan following among modern-day viewers of Hindi cinema. It will be interesting to see the characterization of Vijay Sethupati, a formidable talent with an important role in Jawan. Sethupati’s brilliant performance as Vedha, the gangster, in Pushkar-Gayathri’s Tamil language hit Vikram Vedha was widely seen as the main reason why the film’s Hindi version helmed by the same directors was a box-office disappointment. Sethupati has also reached many homes with his memorable performance in Raj & DK’s web series Farzi, a gripping crime thriller on Amazon Prime.

The female lead is Nayanthara, a seriously significant talent with massive mass appeal whose body of work consists of Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films. Priyamani, who had appeared in a song in the Rohit Shetty-helmed SRK starrer Chennai Express, forms a part of the star cast. So does Yogi Babu, who had appeared as a Sri Lankan smuggler in the Shetty film. Vijay’s cameo should be a highlight because of the impact such roles written for major stars often make. Remember Salman Khan’s appearance in Pathaan and SRK’s role in Ayan Mukherji’s Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva? Vijay should be seen in one such author-backed role, making Jawan a little more enjoyable.

The music sounds good

Jawan’s music is by Anirudh Ravichander, who is making his debut as a solo composer in Hindi films. Anirudh has composed many popular motion picture soundtracks, mainly in Tamil films, and the evidence of his work in Jawan suggests he has created the kind of music the film needs. Hindi film music created by composers from the South has received significant critical and commercial acclaim in the past. While the legendary director AR Rahman gifted the Hindi film industry with a completely new sound, a recent success was the music of the Hindi dubbed version of Sukumar’s Telugu film Pushpa – The Rise Part 1 composed by Devi Sri Prasad. Should Jawan‘s soundtrack become popular, Bollywood will have another talent from whom freshness in compositions can be expected.

Jawan also features Sanya Malhotra and Sunil Grover. Sanjay Dutt’s reported cameo promises to be exciting, while Deepika Padukone’s special appearance will not be a routine affair for sure. If Jawan becomes the kind of mass entertainer everybody is hoping it would be, however, a lot will depend on the contributions of those from the South — plus, Shah Rukh Khan.