Cast: Kangana Ranaut , Shahid Kapoor, and Saif Ali Khan
Over the last few decades, in the genre of history and period romance, the status of Bollywood cinema has gone up certain levels. Eminent filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj and lyricist Gulzar’s professional chemistry has been lauded many times before in acclaimed films such as Haider, Omkara, Kaminey, Maachis and others. This time again the duo strives to deliver something new, which they do in the first half, but the graph dips as the films near the climax.
The film opens in the year 1943, with the narration of Gandhi and Bose, who by their own means fight for nation’s freedom. While one wants to follow the path of non-violence, the other had plans to prep and strengthen the army, to free India at any cost. Cut to the visuals of our trio leads, the sophisticated and charming Parsi filmmaker Russi Billimoria (Saif Ali Khan), the Indian soldier by heart Nawab Malik (Shahid Kapoor), and the love of both the men, then the most popular actress, Miss Julia (Kangana Ranaut). Visuals of yesteryear Mumbai, then Bombay, take us on a journey of how the fate of Indian freedom was torn between the British ruled soldiers and the patriotic INA. Amidst all the action, Bharadwaj lets the audience taste romance - as shown in the trailer - is triangular. Russi falls for Julia, who initially loves her, but circumstances change and she starts developing similar emotions for Nawab. What will happen to the love story? What about the mission? What about the nation? Too many ideas, come together in Rangoon.
It might seem that the plot and script is very well written and intriguing, just like other Bharadwaj films, but Rangoon sadly disappoints. The first half is quite seamless and easy, so much so that it grips the audiences’ attention with ease. The rocky road for the film begins within the first few minutes of the second half, where love for the nation and the man start coming together. I believe if history to be depicted on screen, it is necessary for the filmmaker to make sure the audience is convinced by the facts and visuals – this, unfortunately, doesn’t work in Bharadwaj’s favour, leading Rangoon to partly be a disappointment.
The disappointment in the film is unfortunately only in the story. All the other elements – cinematography, dialogues, music, lyrics, and casting – are thoroughly pleasing. Talking about the actors, Shahid as an army soldier, Kangana as an actress and Saif as a British-favouring-film maker, have delivered their role with excellence. They are a treat to watch and have a comforting chemistry. Many dialogues in the film will stay with one for long as they are very well written. It is a known fact that Bharadwaj’s is musically blessed and is well versed with creating magical numbers with drama. Same is the magic that spreads in Rangoon.
To sum it up, the film could have been excellent like the ones before, but sadly ends up being only mediocre. Poor – action sequences, visual effects, and plot – let the efforts down. You might want to watch it for the actors and the directorial effort, but do not expect much.