Jai (Sai Dharam Tej) is a patriotic man for whom the nation always comes first. He harbours the dream to work for the DRDO and wants nothing else from life. But what happens when an evil mastermind Keshav (Prasanna) makes a plan to harm the nation?
Jai (Sai Dharam Tej) is a complete modern day Ram - a man willing to sacrifice even his family for the good of the nation. The Raavan of this story is his childhood friend Keshav (Prasanna), who has always been the yin to his yang. Self-righteous and always on the right path, Jai wants to join the DRDO and be useful to his nation. On the other side of the coin is Keshav who has always been inclined to crime since childhood and has just learnt to commit it in a smarter and much profitable way over time.
There's also the happy family that Jai lives with, who always encourage him to pursue his dreams. And then there's Bhargavi (Mehreen) - artistic, smart and independent, with a mind of her own - a character who's wasted in a film that has no time for her, except for when there's a duet to be sung in an exotic locale. For Jai, the nation comes first, with his family coming a close second. Why Bhargavi exists in this tale is never made clear, because Jai clearly seems to have no time for her. She's the Sita in this tale, someone her Ram will always fight for, but relegated to the side-lines when the time comes.
'Jawaan' is the tale of the face-off between Ram and Raavan - Jai and Keshav. While the love track, flashy songs, et al provide a good distraction in the first half, the second half could see the audience sigh with impatience whenever a song popped up on-screen. One expects a tale like this to be fast paced and gripping - that of a man trying to save a special missile launcher called 'Octopus' from falling into the wrong hands. But 'Jawaan' is too busy telling the tale of the face-off that it fails to focus on that.
After a long-drawn cat and mouse chase, funky dance movies and romantic numbers in exotic locales, 'Jawaan' ends with the hero saving the day and the villain dies a painful death. The treatment of the film seems like something right out of an animated film like 'Megamind' or 'Despicable Me'. There are no grey characters or moments in the film - there's good and then there's evil, end of story. No explanation is ever given or character development made to justify behaviour, especially so because the characters are introduced early on in their childhood. Besides the obvious, a few key scenes in the film are too silly to comprehend for a film that seems to take itself seriously, but ends up being a caricature.
Sai Dharam Tej is good in his role as Jai, despite the sketchy character development. Mehreen Pirzada is beautiful in her role as Bhargavi, unapologetic and strong. While Keshava's character seems to be written to ooze menace, what with him being 'evil for the sake of evil', Prasanna somehow fails to bring in the aggression the character demands.
Preachy dialogues about 'desh bhakti' and doubtful political inclinations aside, you can go watch this one if you're a Sai Dharam Tej fan. Steer clear of it otherwise!