It’s clear that Shah Rukh Khan, like the rest of us during the pandemic, also spent a lot of time watching TV shows. Chained as SRK always has been to his fame, he probably knows that he can never star in one. And so, as always, he scratches every creative itch by just producing his own material and inserting himself into universes that he has enjoyed as a fan. His new film, Jawan, functions essentially as a Letterboxd watchlist of his favourites, but it also serves as a second bite at the apple of sorts. He isn’t merely revisiting a genre that he failed at in the past; he is trying to woo, only as Shah Rukh Khan can, a generation that he failed.
Released over a decade after the debacle of Ra.One, Jawan is SRK’s latest love-letter to superhero cinema, bubbling with that same rage against the machine that was also felt in his last film, the slickly packaged Pathaan. Considered as a collective artistic statement, the two movies are an acknowledgement of the years that he has spent in silence — silence that his fans would often remind him about — and a promise that he is determined to do better.