Atlee’s Jawan, starring Shah Rukh Khan, was released theatrically on the 7th of September, 2023. It became an instant hit amongst fans and critics, and it went on to break all kinds of box-office records while receiving endless praise for its action, drama, and political commentary. I am not sure about every city in the country, but where I live, the movie is still available on the big screen. And, now that Netflix has premiered it digitally on SRK’s birthday, those who couldn’t take the trip to the theater and those who want to re-watch it for the umpteenth can view the film from the comfort of their homes. That said, as per Netflix and Red Chillies Entertainment, it won’t be the theatrical version, but an “extended cut” of the film. It’s a bold claim because, at first glance, you’ll see a 5-minute difference between the theatrical and the extended version of Jawan. It’s only after you watch the entire thing that you’ll notice the incredibly subtle differences. Since I have done exactly that–thereby making this my eighth viewing of the film–allow me to discuss what has been added to the Shah Rukh Khan starrer, and whether it has earned its “extended cut” tag.
The Health Minister’s Assistant, Pappu, Has A Change Of Heart
Precisely at the 1-hour mark, when Azad and his gang of girls brought the Health Minister to the dilapidated government hospital, we saw the minister being taken into the “operation theater,” while his assistant, Pappu, was stopped from going inside. Pappu was apparently still oblivious to the fact that what he was witnessing was actually a kidnapping. So, Ishkra had to state, in the most explicit manner possible, that the whole operation wasn’t a rescue mission. Hilariously enough, Pappu started crying, and Ishkra told him to shut up or get a bullet inserted into his skull. I don’t think Ishkra would have actually done that because she and her gang didn’t believe in killing anyone until it was absolutely necessary. Pappu was a slimy character, but he wasn’t the villain here; he was the one who needed to see who he was serving. When Pappu heard Eeram’s story and learned that the Health Minister was responsible for falsely imprisoning her, even though all she was doing was saving a bunch of children who were dying because of the minister’s unprofessional behavior, he told Azad and his gang to kill the minister. He promised that he wouldn’t tell the press and the government if the minister succumbed to his injuries or was suffocated with a pillow. Thankfully, it didn’t come down to that. There are many people like Pappu who blindly follow vicious monsters like the Health Minister and never question their actions. Yes, Jawan is optimistic that merely showing the consequences of a villain’s actions is going to convince someone like Pappu to do better. Real life is way different. But, hey, if a real-life version of Pappu comes to his senses after watching this film, it’s a win.
Lakshmi explains her backstory
I am sure many viewers at the theater were a little confused after witnessing glimpses of Lakshmi’s backstory as Vikram Rathore tried to revive her at around the 2-hour, 9-minute mark. I initially assumed that Lakshmi was a victim of the Bhopal gas tragedy. But the timelines didn’t quite match up. So, I just assumed that she was a victim of one of the many factories that belonged to Kalee Gaikwad. The extended cut of Jawan made it clear that Lakshmi was, in fact, a victim of the factory that was opened after getting Mr. Mukund Menon’s signature. Menon had warned Kalee about the danger that the factory posed, but Kalee didn’t listen to it, and that led to the deaths of Lakshmi’s children and many other families who lived around the factory. Lakshmi apparently approached Azad after that incident and joined his girl gang. That said, it’s still unclear how Lakshmi ended up in the Belamvada jail. All the other girls are supposedly criminals who have been wrongfully accused. Are we supposed to assume that Kalee and his lawyers blamed Lakshmi for the fire at the factory that led to so many deaths because she was one of the survivors? Was Lakshmi jailed for protesting against Kalee? I guess that’s a mystery that we have to live with.
Mr. D Threatens Kalee
At the 2-hour and 30-minute mark, Mr. D (my nickname for him is Darth Bane) called up Kalee after Azad forced the government to close down 13 of his factories. Kalee had promised Mr. D that he’d help him open the factories that Mr. D couldn’t launch in his own country due to environmental laws and protests. He had taken Mr. D’s money, too. That money was stolen by Azad and his gang. So, Kalee was obviously under a lot of stress. He was torturing Vikram and his team in the hopes that they’d buckle under all the pain and reveal the location of his cash. But Mr. D’s phone call forced Kalee to step things up, and he dangled the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning over Vikram’ team. I am assuming that Kalee was inspired by Mr. D’s strained breathing to resort to such a torture technique. By the way, Mr. D did say that he was as dangerous as the rumors say he was, but we don’t exactly get to see his villainy. We can predict that in the yet-to-be-announced Jawan sequel, Mr. D is going to go after Azad and Rathore for running away with the money that originally belonged to him. That said, he has to be really heinous because he has hyped himself up a lot. If he ends up being a damp squib, it’ll be really disappointing.
Madhavan Naik Is Reprimanded At A Special Task Force Hearing
The theatrical cut of Jawan revealed that STF Officer Madhavan Naik was working with Azad throughout the movie, and he gave Azad the details of his next mission in Switzerland. At the 2-hour and 44-minutes mark, we see that Naik had to attend a hearing at the STF agency headquarters, where he was reprimanded by Kulpreet Mishra, Chandra Prabha, and Hitesh Sejal for making a mess of the Belamvada siege. Those who haven’t seen the theatrical cut and will be seeing Jawan in the form of the extended cut, they’ll probably assume that when Naik says that he is looking into the curious case of Azad Rathore, he actually wants to get his revenge. But it eventually becomes clear that Naik has the STF agency wrapped around his finger. Technically, he should’ve been fired after the botched job. However, he is such a decorated officer that the agency trusts him to pursue Azad. They are unaware of the fact that Naik is a vigilante, just like Azad, who knows that the system is never going to be responsive enough to bring about actual change. I don’t want to get anybody’s hopes up, but it’s possible that the sequel to Jawan will show how Naik and Azad became partners-in-vigilantism.
The Victims of Kalee’s Illegal Factory Are Compensated
At the 2-hour and 46-minutes mark, Naik says that the money that Azad and his gang had stolen from Kalee has been sent to the victims of the factory that killed Lakshmi’s family and several other families that lived in that locality. It does seem like an optimistic moment, but as the realization sets in that that money probably belongs to Mr. D, those frames feel way more ominous. If Mr. D is as dangerous as he says he is, there’s a good chance that he’s going to go after these families because he knows that it’ll hurt Azad the most. These poor families will suffer all over again, thereby making Azad question his brand of vigilantism. FYI, this is just pure speculation, and it’s totally possible that those benefiting from Azad’s vigilantism will get their “happily ever after.”
Complete Versions of the Songs
The songs that were published on YouTube before the release of Jawan were “Zinda Banda,” “Chaleya,” and “Not Ramaiya Vastavaiya.” The theatrical cut of the film had different versions of all three of these songs, along with several other songs (that played in the background) and a music video called “Faratta.” “Zinda Banda” was cut short, and it had a cameo by Atlee. “Chaleya” was cut short, too, to accommodate the engagement ceremony. But the theatrical cut of “Not Ramaiya Vastavaiya” was longer than the one on YouTube. The “extended cut” of Jawan has the complete versions of all three of these songs. That’s it.
Is This Really An Extended Version?
Technically speaking, yes, this is an “extended cut” of Jawan. But an extended cut or a director’s cut of a film used to mean something different than whatever this is. I think you’ve all heard about the multiple versions of Blade Runner, Apocalypse Now, The Exorcist, The Wicker Man, Brazil, and most recently, Justice League. That’s because the version of these films that was released theatrically was probably more economical and took the test audience’s taste into consideration. If the director wanted to try something different, they were given the chance to re-edit the film. Then, all the different cuts were packed into a box and sold as a set, complete with commentary tracks and behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, so that viewers could get a complete idea about the making of the film and how editing can totally change the tonality of a narrative. Why am I bringing all this up? Because that’s what Atlee had promised in an interview with Pinkvilla! The man said that even though he was happy with the rhythm of the theatrical cut, he wanted to try a different vibe for the OTT version of the film. And, evidently, that was all a lie or a misdirection.
If you go through the trailers of the movie, you’ll notice at least four separate moments involving Kalee, Narmada, Lakshmi, and Jahnvi. Where are those scenes? Why aren’t they in the extended cut? Are they being kept in the locker so that they can be released as “deleted scenes” on YouTube? Not to sound like an old man, but back in the day, these deleted scenes used to be a part of the “extended cut” of a film. International movies that are still getting physical releases have the option to include all this stuff in their DVD, Blu-ray, or 4K packages. All India has are OTT platforms, and despite being the epitome of technological innovation, they can’t accommodate deleted scenes, commentary tracks, interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, etc. That’s why the studios aren’t interested in putting the time, effort, and money (that they are earning from the theatrical success of the film) to give viewers a 360-degree look at a film that has been loved by so many people. In conclusion, I don’t see this as an extended cut of Jawan. Studios have to do better to earn these labels. By the way, my issues with this particular trend (yes, Pathaan and Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani have done this, too) don’t diminish my enjoyment of the film itself. I still think Jawan is one of the best movies of the year, and you should definitely check it out as soon as possible.