April 13, 2024

Forget everything you know about the modern movie-going experience. 

Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan’s latest 2023 feature release, “Jawan,” with Arun Kumar “Atlee” in his Bollywood directorial debut, has people cheering, whistling, and dancing in the theatre. Though disruptive at first glance, I found the crowd reactions to be endearing and refreshing during a weekend screening at Cineplex in Waterloo.

The movie “Jawan” tells the tale of a father and son, both played by Khan, and yes, they are both on screen at the same time using impressive visual effects similar to another 2023 release, “The Flash,” which also had its two protagonists played by the same actor. 

The movie has strong themes about holding elected officials accountable and ensuring the people of the country aren’t taken advantage of by greedy politicians.

Though I am not a diehard fan of most Bollywood movies, I found Jawan to be quite entertaining as it had some eye-catching imagery, slow motion shots similar to the works of Zack Snyder, exciting action scenes, good comedy, as well as a few catchy songs in between to shake things up.

Khan himself describes the movie as “larger than life” and a “rollercoaster” on his IMDb, and I 100% agree. Jawan is filled with over-the-top action sequences, which helps it become the crowd-pleaser that it is. 

Jawan has a little something for everyone.

Aside from the movie itself, what caught me the most by surprise was the crowd. Full of Bollywood cinema fans, the crowd cheered in excitement each time a recognizable actor appeared on screen. 

People had even snuck in and taken over reserved seats.

The theatre was packed, and the movie itself was initially difficult to understand over the chatter of the crowd. Luckily, I had the subtitles to fall back on. 

The atmosphere in the theatre was like watching a movie at a family gathering. Some people are on their phones, some are providing commentary over the entire thing, and the rest are there to have a good time.

In this video uploaded to YouTube by “Tracknal Bobbul,” even during the credits, the fans can be seen singing along and enjoying themselves.

The film snob side of me wanted to be upset at the crowd, and how dare they disrupt the precious movie-viewing experience. They should sit in silence and pay attention. 

But I wasn’t.

These are people who have grown up with these actors and movies, and now I get to experience how different cultures celebrate their movies.

The crowd alone elevated an enjoyable movie to even greater heights, an experience I will never forget.

If you have never been to an opening night of a Bollywood movie, I highly recommend it. It’s going to be loud; it’s going to be different, but most importantly, it’s going to be fun.

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