Verdict: Kangana Ranaut shines in this tale of love and war.
Vishal Bhardwaj is counted among the most underrated directors of Bollywood. He has come up with critically-acclaimed movies like Maqbool, Kaminey and Haider but the praises rarely ever translated into record-breaking collections. However, this has hardly changed the way Bhardwaj goes about making his movies and Rangoon is proof. Starring his favorite actor, Shahid Kapoor in the lead role, it isn’t your typical Hindi movie. Rangoon burns slow, has a complex storyline, and a powerful performance by leading lady Kangana Ranaut. Unfortunately, in spite of this, you will leave the theatre feeling a tad bit disappointed. This can easily be blamed on the expectations one has from a Vishal Bhardwaj film.
Julia (Kangana Ranaut) is a popular actress who works in films produced by her filthy rich lover, Rusi Billimoria (Saif Ali Khan). She’s called to perform in Burma and Nawab Malik (Shahid Kapoor), an Indian soldier, is given the responsibility to look after her. A sudden ambush causes the duo to separate from their group and then over a few (mis)adventures, love blossoms. There’s the obvious twist of Rusi entering the picture again and then the couple go through a roller coaster ride with war as a backdrop.
Rangoon is a film that’s confused. In one scene, Nawab and Julia are getting intimate and in the next, the Britishers are searching for the mole in their army. While it wants to come across as an intense love story, the focus on India’s fight for independence breaks the flow. The two tracks run simultaneously and after a point, the film begins to drag. Rangoon runs for well over two hours and the movie could have been much helped had it spent some more time on the editing table. The first half of Rangoon is different and interesting but the plot goes haywire after the interval. The songs aren’t hummable either and that barely helps the cause.
Dismiss Rangoon as unwatchable at your own peril though. The film’s strength and probably the main reason that will keep you glued to your seat is the brilliant act by Kangana ‘Queen’ Ranaut. In an interview, she claimed that she's the hero of the movie and now we know why. Ranaut steals the show making Shahid and Saif look rather ordinary. Vishal Bhardwaj does bring out the best in Shahid Kapoor but this time it looks like he offered the actor a badly-written character. Kapoor still got a better deal than Saif Ali Khan, who in spite of giving it his best shot, looks out of place.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Rangoon may not be Vishal Bhardwaj’s best work but it still better than a lot of Bollywood we are used to. The intention is right but the execution leaves much to be desired. Worry not as Kangana Ranaut and Shahid Kapoor more than make up for the movie’s flaws. Give Rangoon a chance this weekend. The film may just surprise you.