Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Writer: Matthew Robbins (story), Matthew Robbins (screenplay), Sabrina Dhawan (screenplay), Vishal Bhardwaj (screenplay), Vishal Bhardwaj (dialogue)
Stars: Kangana Ranaut, Shahid Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Richard McCabe
Genre: Action, Drama, History
Released: 24 Feb 2017
Summary: A love triangle forms against the backdrop of the Second World War.
Review: When, within a short while of the film opening, you start casting about for something to hang a peg on, it is never a good sign.
I spent most of ‘Rangoon’ searching for the film. Multiple threads make it up: it is 1943, the British are fighting Hitler, and are up against the rising tide of Indian freedom fighters, split between Gandhi’s pacifism, and Subhash Chandra Bose’s militarism.
It’s a heavy slice of history for anyone to unpack, and film gets tangled in superimposing a love triangle on the time and place. Post-interval, it battens down, and focuses on advancing the plot, such as there is, but overall ‘Rangoon’ remains a disappointingly patchy and disjointed effort.
The trio comprises a suave Parsi filmmaker Russi Billimoria (Saif Ali Khan), a patriotic Indian soldier Nawab Malik (Shahid Kapoor), and their object of affection, the wildly popular stunt heroine Miss Julia (Kangana Ranaut). Their journey from the lavish film sets in Bombay to the war-torn borders of Burma is pitted by intrigue and rivalry, featuring a dazzling sword, the forces of the INA, and Miss Julia’s morale-boosting acts for the ‘boys in the fauj.’
The intention of Vishal Bhardwaj’s ambitiously mounted film is clear: to weave the skeins of love and war in order to make a movie full of throbbing passion and grand statements. But the execution, marred by stilted writing, never quite matches up, the gap narrowing in just a few places in the second half.
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