"Deewar" deploys melodrama, addressing contemporary discourses within a moral framework; social injustice, state power, criminality, gender, and religion are braided together against the backdrop of early 1970s turmoil. A prominant strand in the film is the sympathetic representation of the struggling working class with Vijay as its emblematic figure. At the film's outset, in a flashback, Anand Babu, Vijay's father, a trade union leader, in a stirring speech reminds striking workers of their fight for education, health care, and housing. In carefully chosen rhetoric he argues that he is not questioning why the rich have so much, but rather, why the food barrels are empty for the poor, a reference to contemporary food shortages---an artificial scarcity traders created to make an extra buck. Punished for his militancy, Anand Babu is shamed into a life of a defeated vagrant , a humiliation that becomes a driving force in Vijay's life, stamped on him ( both literally and metaphorically). The tattoo on his body "my father is a thief" symbolizes Vijay's constant denigration, motivating a deep-seated rage. Vijay's thinly veiled rage turns into an assertive demand for respect, self-consciously acknowleding his lower class status and the resentment against it. As a young shoe-shine boy he refuses to accept money "thrown" rather than handed to him ; later he flings a brick at the building contractor who humiliates his mother on the job, and as an adult he fights back against Peter. His refusal to visit the temple signals his rebellion against religion, with its connotations of a Hindu acceptance of life's circumstances, of fate. Life in the dockyard is an exposition of Vijay's strong working-class identity. Vijay's voice, while speaking to RahimChacha manifests the emerging working-class generation, "What has not happened in twenty five years will now ; another worker worker is going to refuse the hafta" Unlike Vijay, the working-class figure who " makes it" climbing the underworld ladder, his brother Ravi, a cop, is educated youth. In the film's climactic moment Ravi and Vijay, grown far apart in their ways, meet under the bridge that was once their pavement dwelling, a reminder of shared origins. The extr-diegetic soundtrack replaying "sare jahaan se achcha.." lends a sardonic tone to this momentous meeting.
Like other successful films, "Deewar" blends together different genres. Melodrama combines with cops-and-robbers action, and thriller dynamics build on the suspense of heists, chases, fights, and an exposition of the underworld. The episodes are held together in a tight plot that moves swiftly, exploring the intrigue and mystery of dangerous urban spaces. "Deewar" introduced a new 1970s-style masculinity cultivated in Amitabh's "Vijay".