Bollywood Movies

The Second Biggest Bollywood Film of All Time is Now on Netflix

November 16, 20238 Mins Read

Most mainstream audiences in the west, other than those from Indian or Asian communities, usually know very little about Bollywood cinema and why it’s such a juggernaut of the global movie world. A truly massive industry, Bollywood churns out nearly twice the amount of films that Hollywood does yearly. With a huge roster to choose from, and films that are crammed with famous stars, filmmakers, singers, and globally respected choreographers, the industry shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. Bollywood films continue to expand their reach, becoming a lot more widely known among western audiences in recent years through streamers like Netflix.

Despite the wide range of huge streaming services out there now, Netflix remains one of the most popular around. A large part of Netflix’s success is due to its wide variety of programming that offers subscribers film and television shows across a wide variety of locales. With everything from Bollywood films, to Korean films and shows, Malaysian, Indonesian, and European programming have also fared well on the service, among others.

There was therefore no surprise when the hit Bollywood film Jawan was added into Netflix’s foreign offerings. So far massively popular, the film, which was released in 2023, has become the second-biggest Hindi Bollywood film ever made. Boasting a fantastic story, some amazing performances by heavy-hitter names, stunts, action, comedy, and the usual Bollywood musical aspects, the film is certainly one to watch if you haven’t seen it yet.

While Netflix has broadened Bollywood’s reach and introduced many a western viewer to its allure, for those who haven’t seen any Indian films yet, Jawan is a great film to serve as an introduction to the spectacle that Indian cinema is. Here’s a look at the main reasons why you should catch Jawan on Netflix while you can.

The Plot

Shah Rukh Khan in Jawan
Red Chillies Entertainment 

Categorized as a ‘masala’ film, Jawan typifies this Bollywood subgenre which seamlessly blends different styles and genres. Essentially an action-thriller, it centers around a soldier of sorts who is hell-bent on a complex mission. It begins with the film’s protagonist, Azad, and a team of all-female accomplices, who hijack a metro train and hold the passengers hostage.

Related:Best Shah Rukh Khan Movies, Ranked

Despite seemingly behaving like a terrorist, Azad and his team’s motives become more clear as they contact the Minister of Agriculture and demand money from him. It turns out he wants the money to compensate indigent farmers who have been harmed by the government’s policies that place corporate interests above the plight of ordinary farmers.

It’s soon clear that this is a nuanced take on a Robin Hood-style story, one that takes direct aim at corporate greed, government corruption and crony capitalism. Packed with scintillating stunts, stylized action, and plenty of twists and drama, the film also features musical breaks which are common in Indian cinema. A blend of varying styles of entertainment all fluidly packed into one film, Jawan more than exemplifies why its lead star has become such a major player in the movie world.

Still from Shah Rukh Khan's Jawan
Red Chillies Entertainment 

Just a couple of decades ago, Bollywood cinema and its stars were barely known beyond their core audiences. However, over time, stars like Aishwarya Rai (once known as the most beautiful woman in the world), began making appearances in Hollywood films and slowly fusing the two worlds. Fast-forward to today and Bollywood starlet Priyanka Chopra has become a fixture in western TV shows, with other stars showing up in Hollywood all the time — recently evident by Alia Bhatt’s role in the Gal Gadot spy thriller, Heart of Stone.

However, amid the many huge stars, highly acclaimed filmmakers, singers, and choreographers Bollywood boasts, there’s one name that sticks out above all: Shah Rukh Khan. Khan is a globally adored superstar actor who’s widely considered to be the biggest movie star in the world.

Affectionately known as SRK, it’s difficult to explain to a western viewer who isn’t familiar with him just how big he is. He’s starred in over 100 films, has wide-ranging business interests that include owning a well known cricket team, and has won too many prestigious awards to name, including 14 Filmfare Awards and 3 IIFA Awards, which is Bollywood’s equivalent of an Oscar. Now 58, the veteran actor is known as “King Khan” for good reason, since he inspires the kind of global respect, popularity, and adoration that often goes hand-in-hand with royalty.

The Khan Effect

Shah Rukh Khan in Jawan
Red Chillies Entertainment 

To put into perspective just how big he is, especially in his native India, one of Khan’s most famous films, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, has been playing in the same theater for 27 years now since it was released, with shows still selling out for it daily.

With a massive list of legendary blockbuster Indian films under his belt, it’s no surprise that his latest film has caused quite a stir too. After a short hiatus, Khan returned to making movies this year, and after his first film of the year Pathaan was a huge success, he followed it up with Jawan.

Related:Best Romantic Movies of Shah Rukh Khan, the Last Bollywood Superstar

The success of the film so far has cemented Khan as the undisputed King of Bollywood, again showing why he’s rightly earned all the esteem he holds. With a fantastic performance as Azad, Khan actually plays a dual role in the film and anchors it with his usual flair, likability, and immense screen presence.

A Terrific Cast

Deepika Padukone in scene from Jawan
Red Chillies Entertainment 

Aside from Khan elevating the film in all the ways he does, there’s a lot more to also love about Jawan. Directed by the acclaimed South Indian filmmaker known as Atlee, the film acts as his first Hindi language project, having previously been known for making Tamil language films. If Atlee was in any way overawed by working with a megastar on his first Hindi film, there was no sign of it, as he very ably pulled off a wildly entertaining film with some very poignant themes at play within its repertoire.

The social justice angles from it are something Atlee is known for, with one of his prior films taking on the corrupt relationships present in India’s healthcare industry. This time, he leans into these angles and produces a great exposition on the consequences caused by business interests and governmental power coalescing.

WIth Tamil and Telugu actress Nayanthara and acclaimed actor Vijay Sethupathi also heavily involved in the film, there are plenty of other great supporting acts to augment Jawan’s main attraction.

Related: Jawan: Why Fans Are Lining Up Out the Door to See Shah Rukh Khan’s Latest Movie

Lastly, the now legendary actress Deepika Padukone also makes a great cameo in the film. Padukone and Khan have worked together in the past on some iconic films, and the stunning actress’ appearance adds another layer of excitement to the film. Hollywood audiences may also be familiar with Padukone since she starred in xXx: Return of Xander Cage alongside Vin Diesel.

Unapologetic to its Core

Still from Jawan with Nayanthara
Red Chillies Entertainment 


Lastly, while Shah Rukh Khan is the film’s obvious main hook, it also boasts an all-female squad of actresses who contribute just as much to its action as Khan does. A prominent female empowerment theme present, Jawan also excels by being progressive in an industry and country where discrimination against women has often been a recurring issue.

Aside from this, the film takes on some gritty themes amid a very tense period in its political history. While news of the current Indian government cracking down on dissent plays out daily, the film’s bravery at tackling a sensitive political matter during this time is another reason it should be praised. Here’s how Empire described this aspect of the film.

“It’s a blockbuster that is surprisingly unafraid to shine a spotlight on corruption in India and highlight those that suffer as a result. It could almost be seen as a damning indictment of the current Indian government, with Khan’s hero at one point making a passionate plea to the public about the importance of voting to get rid of those that would put themselves ahead of the country, if not for the film’s even less subtle patriotic moments.”

Another massive hit to add to SRK’s iconic filmography, Jawan is currently the second highest grossing Hindi film of all time, and the fifth highest grossing Indian film in history. Finally, if the musical side of things is what you find most attractive, ​​​​​​Jawan features plenty of vibrant song items to break up its more high-octane thrills. With amazing choreography, songs, and musical performances, the film typifies the color and vibrancy that has made Bollywood films so famous outside of India.

For anyone doubting if King Khan can still hold his own, even at 58, here’s a look at why he still sports more effervescence and litheness than most actors half his age.

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