Bawaal Controversy: 3 Reasons Why The Film Is Causing Outrage

Starring Janhvi Kapoor and Varun Dhawan as the central couple, Bawaal attempts to draw parallels between their relationship issues and the horrors of the Holocaust, leading to widespread outrage among viewers and critics.

Priya Prakash
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Credits: Official teaser
Nitesh Tiwari's Bawaal, which premiered on Prime Video on July 21, has received a mixed response from critics due to its inappropriate use of historical references, particularly related to the Holocaust. 

Starring Janhvi Kapoor and Varun Dhawan as the central couple, Bawaal attempts to draw parallels between their relationship issues and the horrors of the Holocaust. The movie has been heavily criticised for trivialising one of history's most tragic events and reducing it to a mere plot device, earning it the label of "the most insensitive film of the year."

For those unaware, the Holocaust was a genocide during WWII, during which six million Jews and millions of others were systematically murdered by Nazi Germany. It is one of history's most tragic events, and the film draws a disturbing comparison, suggesting that "every relationship goes through its Auschwitz," likening the challenges in their marriage to the horrors of the concentration camp. The insensitive metaphor has sparked condemnation.

In the latest string of backlash, the Israeli embassy in India has now responded to the controversy surrounding Bawaal. Harshly criticising the film, their statement read, "It trivialises the genocide of six million Jews in World War II. The Israeli embassy is disturbed by the trivialization of the significance of the Holocaust in the movie ‘Bawaal’."

Bawaal Controversy

1. Actor Lisa Ray expressed her disbelief and shock at this line from the film. Film critic Raja Sen tweeted about the line, where Jahnvi Kapoor's character says, "Har rishta apne-apne Auschwitz se guzarta hai" (Every relationship goes through Auschwitz)." Lisa Ray reacted with a simple, "Noooooooo," indicating her strong disapproval of the insensitive comparison made in the film.


The film is co-written by Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain, Nikhil Mehrotra, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, and Nitesh Tiwari. Many users expressed doubt and questioned how such experienced writers could make such a mistake and include such inappropriate dialogue in the film. On Reddit, a user wrote, "Truly, it is very surprising, especially when considering the fact that all four have worked together at some point on their previous hit films as writers: Dangal, Chhichhore, and Bareilly Ki Barfi!"

2. In addition to the inappropriate dialogue, the movie received special permission to shoot at a concentration camp, intensifying the controversy surrounding the film. One scene depicts the protagonists entering a gas chamber, where they suffocate due to pesticides while dressed in striped clothes, evoking the harrowing reality endured by Holocaust victims. This portrayal has been widely criticised as not only insensitive but also deeply disrespectful to the memory of those who suffered during that dark and tragic period in history.

A user commented, "How come not a single person involved in this movie found this wrong? Like they legit went to Europe for shooting. How could Nitesh Tiwari, of all people, be so tone-deaf?" Another user jokingly wrote, "No one dislikes a paid vacation to Europe. The tone deafness should have been apparent, but well, Europe trip."

3. Another Reddit Thread raised concern over films opting for OTT distribution so that they could reach a wider audience. The thread read, "Bawaal Makers said that opting for OTT is because Amazon will release films in many countries. But it is not available in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, and many other European countries. So was it just something to say so that the Indian audience is fooled?" A user answered, "I think they realised the movie was crap during post-production and bailed on a theatrical release. What's shocking, though, is that someone at Amazon fell for it and decided to platform it. I won't be surprised if it eventually gets taken down from Prime altogether."

Bawaal Makers said that opting for OTT because amazon will release film in many countries . But it is not available in germany, austria, belgium, luxembourg and many european countries. So was it just something to say so that indian audience is fooled ?

by u/fdnuefn87987 in BollyBlindsNGossip

What Makers Had Said

During the trailer launch event held in Dubai, Nitesh Tiwari addressed the references to Hitler and World War II in the film Bawaal. He explained that while creating a character, they carefully selected events and incidents that could significantly contribute to the character's overall development and the dynamics of the relationship portrayed in the movie. Tiwari clarified that it's not solely about Hitler, and there are other meaningful aspects in the film that have not been revealed in the trailer. The director emphasised that each incident has been thoughtfully chosen to have a substantial impact on the movie's overarching narrative.

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Bawaal Bawaal Controversy