Genre: Period drama
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Saif Ali Khan and Shahid Kapoor
Being screened at QFX Cinemas
Against the backdrop of World War II and India’s independence movement where India is fighting against the British in Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent way or Subash Chandra Bose’s alternative of non-violence, comes a love triangle Rangoon. It is a fresh take on romance in Bollywood. And the filmmaker has even borrowed the Broadway musical element to it and heightened it with the melodrama of love and patriotism. In his bid to do so, Vishal Bhardwaj has overdone the film. Rangoon is entertaining but this too declines towards the end.
Miss Julia (Kangana Ranaut) is a famous heroine, thanks to ex-action hero and studio owner Russi Billimoria (Saif Ali Khan). They are having an affair. Enter Nawab Malik (Shahid Kapoor), who is just a lowly soldier but still manages to woo Julia despite the dangers of the war and falling in love with her.
Rangoon is simple in execution. Bhardwaj has not played it artistically, but dramatically. There are nice moments of love story, humour, hatred and sorrow from a good cast of performers. The action is natural, the background score apt, songs are peppy and the cinematography is coherent — these help the agenda of the film. So, you will enjoy it.
Though half-baked, performance-wise the actors are great
Taking too many strands has what stopped Rangoon from being the perfect love story. Even though it is the heart of the film, its heart is not in it. The film strays to patriotism while leaving the love story unexplored. Even the characters are half-baked. The many songs, stretched romantic moments as well as patriotism kill the pace and narrative of the film making the watch a tad impatient in the second half.
Performance is Ragoon’s strong point. Bhardwaj’s women are strong in portrayal. And so is Miss Julia. Be it funny or solemn or intense avatar, Ranaut is at ease in her performance. She excels as Miss Julia.
It is a breather to watch Khan playing a serious role — it suits him. Kapoor is natural and brilliant in his part, but you want more of him in the film; his character as one of the main leads lacks dimensions. Even supporting actors like Richard Mccabe who plays British officer David Harding are brilliant — he is the right antagonist the film can get.
A version of this article appears in print on February 25, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.