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Film / Saawan

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Saawan is a Pakistani movie on Netflix.

Tropes in this film include:

  • A Boy and His X: Saawan eventually comes across a dog that is missing its front right leg and befriends it, naming it "Cripple". The dog meets some close calls courtesy of the human traffickers, but ends up okay.
  • Abusive Parents: Jishar makes it clear he despises Saawan for being crippled, but ultimately loves him, is reluctant to leave him behind, and goes back for him. He's also a jerk to his wife and domestically abuses her.
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  • An Arm and a Leg: Saawan's infected leg gets amputated at the end.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Jishar gets down on his knees while begging his village chief to help him find Saawan. He's violently rejected.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the ending, when Saawan's family looks for his hospital room, they find a dead body missing his leg and start crying... only to take off the blanket covering him to find that he isn't Saawan. They keep looking and find that he's alive.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • The "demon" man unknowingly saves Saawan from being found by the human traffickers by having another screaming episode, which attracts one of them. He attacks and kills the trafficker that finds him, which forces the other trafficker to flee. Sadly, the other trafficker kills the "demon" in the process.
    • Saawan knocks out Bahktawar and rescues the kids.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Saawan, the kids, and the bus they're on is stopped by terrorists hired by Dada, who shoot up the entire bus before fleeing. Only of the boys and the girl survives and the terrorists/human traffickers run off scotfree, but Bahktawar is caught and arrested. However, it then turns out that Saawan did survive and he ends up reuniting with his family in the hospital.
  • Character Development: Mirzaad eventually accepts Saawan as a leader and makes amends to him.
  • Character Title: For the main character.
  • Character Witness: Although downplayed as it could have happened regardless of Saawan's intervention, the "demon" man ends up becoming an Accidental Hero for Saawan when he attracts one of the human traffickers and kills him despite being killed by Bahktawar in the process. This could be seen as good karma for Saawan, since he had been feeding and accompanying the "demon" before that.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
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    • While searching for Saawan, Jishar remembers that his wife told Saawan that there's a road behind the mountains.
    • Subverted. Jishar's "friend" notes that Bahktawar has the same car as him, but it's Arif's car (which is the same model, but different color) that gives the kids suspicion since they don't come across Jishar's "friend".
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • The movie deliberately highlights the various societal struggles that the characters go through, including the mom being expected to be obedient to the patriarchy (in a couple of instances, she needs to buy a cotton candy machine so that the family can have income, but she needs Jishar's permission first, and in another, Jishar threatens to beat her if she's disobedient), Saawan being seen as inferior, a burden, and a liability by basically everyone except for his mom and the kids he meets later, anti-vaccination beliefs among the poorer classes, and so on.
    • Jishar hitting his wife and son while also verbally abusing his son is considered acceptable in their society, but it's still shown that he loves his family while also making it clear that what he does to them is wrong.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Saawan contracts polio, which could have been prevented had Haithamabad listened to the medical students that offered them free vaccination against polio.
    • When one of the human traffickers doesn't believe his partner about seeing Saawan, he jokes that the earth must have swallowed him up... while Saawan is hiding in a tiny cave near them.
  • For Want of a Nail: The "demon" killing one of the traffickers makes it easier for Saawan to free the kids later since he only had one shot to knock out Bahktawar without getting caught.
  • The Ghost: Dada, the leader of the human traffickers.
  • Groin Attack: The remaining human trafficker gets slingshoted in the nuts by Saawan and ends up unconscious for a while.
  • He Knows Too Much: Dada hires terrorists to kill the kids and the other people on the bus to keep talk about their human trafficking business under wraps. Too bad for him since Bahktawar gets caught by the police anyways.
  • Heel Realization: Saawan's parents remembering that them not vaccinating Saawan was why he got polio and was subsequently crippled leads to them eventually getting Munni vaccinated.
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: Saawan's mom has one when Jishar finally leaves to get Saawan back.
  • Hope Spot: Saawan hears a vehicle nearby and assumes it's his father, only to find out that it is human traffickers.
  • I Want My Mommy!: One of the kids keeps saying this. And he cries for his mom as he's put into the ambulance.
  • I Will Find You: Jishar leaves Saawan behind when the people escorting them refuse to take him, telling his wife that he'll go back for him when he has the chance.
  • I Will Wait for You: For a while, Saawan waits for his dad to come back for him, but eventually decides to leave when it turns out there are human traffickers in the area. He at least leaves behind a flag to mark where he was before leaving. This is also around the time Jishar and Arif return to Haithamabad.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Saawan urges his father to leave him behind to go with his mom and Munni. Jishar is initially reluctant, but leaves him behind. Though if Saawan's flashbacks show anything, he seems to suspect that his father did it partly because he's The Unfavorite, though he holds out hope that he'll come back for him.
  • Innocently Insensitive: One of the girls that was part of the group that Saawan rescued comments that both Saawan and Cripple are crippled, amazed that they are able to walk and climb.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • One of the human traffickers leaves his partner behind after he is killed by the "demon".
    • Jishar's "friend" ditches him in the wilderness when they learn that there are human traffickers in Haithamabad and that something killed one.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Saawan is bullied by his classmates.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Bahktawar is caught by the police when he accidentally comes across the crime scene and is promptly chewed out by the police lieutenant for selling children for a measly coin.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The surviving human trafficker gets stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing when Saawan and the kids take his stuff and keys.
  • Missed Him by That Much:
    • Jishar is one step behind Saawan when he finally returns to Haithamabad.
    • Arif and his guys are one step behind Jishar.
    • Bahktawar is also this towards Saawan and the kids...
    • Saawan and the kids hide from Arif and his men since they don't know who they are. Not helped that their armed appearance, mentioning that "We couldn't find them.", and their similar Jeep to the human traffickers makes them sound like human traffickers.
  • Mooning: One of the kids does this to a car that passes them.
  • Parents as People: Saawan's parents. Jishar insults him and beats him and wife (which is partly because of religious/cultural values, but that's still not an excuse), but ultimately still loves him. Saawan's mom, on the other hand, loves him dearly, although she does have one moment where she smacks Saawan for coughing while they try to convince their smugglers to take him with them. The both of them are in great misery when Jishar leaves him behind.
  • Pet the Dog: The first kids we see in Haithamabad after the flashbacks are the ones being trafficked. The traffickers almost see Saawan, they attempt to bribe the kids with food into confirming what they saw (since Saawan managed to hide himself before he could be seen), but they state that they didn't see anyone.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: The people of Haithamabad.
    • They violently reject the free polio vaccination from the medical students, believing it to be a trick from the rich people to make them infertile.
    • They have no problem making fun of and bullying Saawan for his crippled state and fearing that he'll also make them sick.
  • Sadistic Choice: Leaving behind your crippled son in the middle of nowhere and hope that you can find a way to go back for him later and that he can fend for himself, or stay with him while hoping that your wife and baby daughter will do well without you and maybe even send help to you and your son, which is unlikely in such a sexist society. Alternatively, trying to carry him onto the truck would have gotten them killed since the drivers make it clear that they won't hesitate to do that if they tried.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Saawan's mom gives one to her village chief for refusing to help his people while he sits comfortably in wealth.
    • The police lieutenant tears Bahktawar a new one for trafficking children.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • Arif, a news reporter, decides to help Jishar by sending out helicopters to give aid at Haithamabad and giving Jishar a Jeep to drive there while also helping him on the search personally and giving it press coverage.
    • Jishar is given a large sum of money from his friends to help him find Saawan.
    • After going into a cave, the kids find a pond of water and a road with occasional cars. And after a few unwilling cars, a van/bus eventually stops for them.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Arif barfs behind the van when he sees one of Saawan's feet cut off at the crime scene.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Bahktawar does one when he comes to after being knocked unconscious by Saawan (caused by a Groin Attack, no less).
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We don't get to see if the boy who wants his mommy or Mirzaad survived the shootout. Cripple is also put in an ambulance and doesn't seem to be injured, but we don't see it again.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Saawan's mom frequently gives these to Jishar for his Abusive Parent and misogynistic attitude, especially when he leaves Saawan behind.
    • The other kids give this to the older boy Mirzaad when he refuses to share food with Saawan because he thought that he pushed the girl for calling him crippled. They also call him out when he refuses to listen to Saawan.
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