Movie Review: Rangoon

Rangoon: A Beautiful Canvas without the soul

Rangoon-Official-ReviewVishal Bharadwaj the ace film maker has mastered the art of narrating complex stories on human relations and he is a master in adapting Shakespeare’s work in Hindi movies. All of Vishal’s adaptation of Shakespearian work has been a critical and box office success.

With “Rangoon” Vishal tries to keep it simple with a triangular love story in Broadway style with a back drop of World War 2 and Independence Struggle in 1944. “Rangoon” set in 1944 tells the story of Julia (Kangana Ranaut) a successful actress who is controlled by her mentor Rustom Billimoria a.k.a Rusi (Saif Ali Khan) a movie baron who started as an actor, but due to a fatal accident had to retire as an actor and became a film producer. A much married and pro British, Rusi thinks Julia is his property which he bought when Julia was 14 years from her mother in Rs 1000, in a nutshell he is obsessed with Julia. Julia on the other hand thinks Rusi’s obsession as love and dreams of becoming Mrs Billimoria one day. In the mean time the British Major General Harding (Richard McCabe) comes up with a proposal of sending Julia to the Burma border in order to entertain the soldiers there to Rusi which he agrees. Jamadar Nawab Mallik, a soldier in the British army is given the responsibility of taking care of Miss Julia in her trip to Burma Border. In the course of many events in the journey Julia and Nawab fall in love. What happens to Julia’s love for Rusi, how does Rusi react to the liaison of Julia towards Nawab, and is Nawab hiding a secret, is what the rest of the movie is all about….

Story by Matthew Robbins has too many sub plots namely a triangular love story, the world war, the INA and their Japanese alliance and the freedom struggle. The screenplay by Matthew Robbins, Sabrina Dhawan and Vishal Bharadwaj himself is a case of too many plots spoil the screenplay. “Rangoon” suffers from an identity crisis, neither is it a full blown love story, neither a spy thriller, neither a movie on world war and neither a story a story of INA and freedom struggle. Though primarily more emphasis is given to the triangular love story of the principal characters of Julia, Rusi and Nawab but the sub plot fail to blend with the love story that is intended to narrate, which confuses you what exactly the movie wants to convey. The other problem is the narration; the format is like “Casablance” meets “Chicago” which not only makes the movie leisurely paced due to too many songs but it also stretches till the point of exhaustion. The first half is still tolerant as far as the pace goes but in the second half the songs in a drop of a hat just tests your patience. The worst part of the screenplay is its climax which suddenly goes ballistic and melodrama seeps in and you feel you are transported to the 80’s genre of Hindi movies. In the last 30 minutes of the movie the patriotism is almost thrust down your throat till you scream “Bloody Hell”. One thing that the script gets right is its three principal characters, especially the character of Julia which is the most layered and complexed, it oscillates from being a child woman to a matured woman, next is the character of Nawab which keeps you guessing his moves and motives till the end, the third being the character of Rusi Billimoria, the suave and shrewd movie baron who oscillates from being obsessed  and being in love with Julia, his insecurities and his eccentricities due to Julia are relatable. The worst character of the movie is Major General Harding who becomes more of a caricature than menacing what with his Urdu shayari in British accent, which I thought was entirely unnecessary and extremely out of place. Too many characters also play a spoil sport in the narration; some of the characters just do not make any sense in the overall scheme of things. Overall an extremely average writing, not expected from Vishal Bharadwaj.

The dialogues written by Vishal Bharadwaj oscillates from being serious to funny to out rightly outlandish, especially the dialogues of Major General Harding and his Urdu shaiyari was extremely annoying. The patriotic dialogues sound amateurish.Rangoon-Movie-Review

“Rangoon” is a must watch for the performances of the three principal characters, starting with the portrayal of Julia, the complex of the three has been portrayed beautifully by Kangana Ranaut, she does not only look great as a vintage actress but acts effortlessly, you just cannot take your eyes off from her when she is on screen. Kangana yet again proves she is an actress par excellence. Shahid Kapoor who always does wonders in a Vishal Bharadwaj movie, gives a restrained and impactful performance as Jamadar Nawab Mallik. Shahid acts more with his eyes in this movie and each of his expressions creates more depth for his character. At the end it is Nawab’s character which stays with you, thanks to a brilliant performance by Shahid Kapoor. Saif Ali Khan who did wonders with his last association with Vishal as Langda Tyagi in Omkara, gives yet another riveting performance as Rusi Billimoria, though his screen time is less as compared to the other two characters, but still he shines as the shrewd and obsessive movie baron with flying colours. Richard McCabe as Major General Harding hams and his urdu shaiyari is hardly funny and looks caricaturish, one of the worst performance of the movie. Other actors like Gerson Da Cunha, Shriswara, Rushad Rana, Gajraj Rao, Atul Kumar, Satoru Kawaguchi, Alex Avery do not have much to contribute but they do well in whatever little screen time they have.

It is the technical team which make “Rangoon” a treat to watch. Cinematography by Pankaj Kumar is the best thing to have happened to “Rangoon”, it looks amazing and every frame is a master piece. Production Design by Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray is spot on as per the period, right from the re-creating Mumbai or should I say Bombay of 40’s, the buildings to the cars to the train to the match box, the intricate details by Subrata and Amit cannot be missed, undoubtedly award winning. Costume Design by national award winner Dolly Ahluwalia again hits the bull’s eye, from the skirts to the suits to the army uniforms; all are researched and as per the period depicted, brilliant work from Dolly. Overall the magicians at the back ground make “Rangoon” a visual extravaganza.

Vishal Bharadwaj who normally gets it right, just losses it to his indulgence in making “Rangoon” a desi “Casablanca” in Broadway style movie. It is the writing in a Vishal Bharadwaj movie which shines; unfortunately “Rangoon” fails to shine as far as the writing goes. Somewhere you feel that Vishal  is confused what he wants to convey, and the ridiculous climax just destroys the little credibility the movie had. Undoubtedly “Rangoon” is one of the weakest works by Vishal after “Matru ki Bijli Ka Mandola”.

Music which is Vishal Bharadwaj’s forte shines in this movie as well, but too many songs mars the freshness in the narration. Though the choreography of “Bloody hell” and “Mere Piya Gaye England” by Sudesh Adhana and the choreography of “Julia” and “Tippa” by Farah Khan are note worthy. Melody wise and poetry wise “ Alvida”  and “Yeh Ishq Hai” stand out, what with Gulzar’s beautiful lyrics. Again the combo of Vishal Bharadwaj and Gulzar creates impact.

“Rangoon” is half baked visual treat, with some brilliant performances by Kagana, Shahid & Saif…I will go with Three Stars…

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)

Official Trailer: Rangoon

After the critically acclaimed “Haider” in 2014, Vishal Bharadwaj and Shahid Kapoor team up again for “Rangoon”. Shahid Kapoor fetched his first Filmfare Award as an Actor for “Haider”.. Vishal Bharadwaj also teams up again with Saif Ali Khan after “Omkara” in 2006, for “Omkara” Saif Ali Khan’s portrayal of Langda Tyagi bought him acclaim including a Fimfare for Best Actor in a Negative Role.

Rangoon Official Trailer“Rangoon” is a love story based during World War 2 in Burma hence the name “Rangoon”…

Other than Saif Ali Khan & Shahid Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut plays the female lead and her character is based on the yesteryear actress Nadia…

It is believed that Vishal Bharadwaj wanted to make “Rangoon” just after “Omkara” but due to period setting and high production cost the movie did not find takers. That time the name of the movie was “Julia”…

Majorly shot in the scenic locations of Arunachal Pradesh the movie promises to be a visual treat. The cinematography is by Pankaj Kumar.

The Story & Screenplay is by Mathew Robbins, Sabrina Dhawan & Vishal Bharadwaj…

The music is by Vishal Bharadwaj, and it is said the song sequences have been shot lavishly by ace choreographer Farah Khan…

The movie is a joint collaboration between VB Pictures, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment.

The movie releases on 24th February 2017…till then enjoy the highly impressive Official Trailer hoping the movie would be as interesting as the Trailer.

 

Movie Review : Phantom

Phantom:  A Thriller I wish had more Punch

Political Thrillers are Kabir Khan’s forte, what with his previous movies “Kabul Express” & “Ek Tha Tiger” both phantom-poster-saif-ali-khan-katrina-kaifwere of the same genre. But his last enormously successful “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” was more of a family drama with Indo-Pak theme. Well the expectations from “Phantom” are sky high…

Taking his love for political thriller Kabir Khan constructs “Phantom” based on Hussain Zaidi’s book “Mumbai Avengers” which is a fiction post 26/11 massacre in Mumbai. The plot is of how an Ex Army Officer Daniel Khan (Saif Ali Khan) is called for a mission by RAW to eradicate the master minds of 26/11 massacre. How Daniel goes ahead with the mission and whether he is successful in completing the mission is what the movie all about.

Adopting Hussain Zaidi’s novel the screenplay by Kabir Khan & Parvez Shaikh is taut but inconsistent. The sequence when Daniel executes his mission one by one is technically brilliant but looks too easy to be true and lacks the edge of the seat moments which is the prime issue with the script. Another issue of the screenplay is that goes back & forth many times adding on to the inconsistency more. The prime sequences especially the Pakistan sequence looks all over place again taking away from the thriller element. The background story of Daniel does not have the impact hence the fallen hero element falls flat. Daniel’s accomplice Nawaz Mistry’s (Katrina Kaif) character is not fully defined till the end, whether she is a RAW agent or whether she is an outsourced resource working for RAW, it is not clear. The forced brewing romance between Daniel & Nawaz is a waste and slows down the pace. Even the climax looks a bit weak for a thriller. And to top it all the significance of the title “Phantom” never comes across in the movie.

The dialogues by Kabir Khan & Kausar Munir are strong at some places and it falls flat in a few. But overall the dialogues make sense.

Another major drawback of the movie is the casting. Saif Ali Khan as Daniel Khan looks a bit too casual for the role, though he tries his best to fit into the mould but is grossly unsuccessful. Rather he looks as if he has just walked out of “Agent Vinod” and entered the sets of “Phantom” as he enacts Daniel Khan with the same tempo. The rugged RAW agent gait just like Akshay Kumar in “Baby” is missed in this movie. Katrina Kaif as Nawaz Mistry looks hardly an agent and looks more like a beautiful Barbie doll who is decked up even in Syrian war sequences. Sometimes she looks confused and out of place in the movie, overall an average performance. Sabyasachi Chakrabarty as the Raw Chief Roy stands out and gives a restrained performance and suits the role to the “T”. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as Mishra a worker in RAW who creates a plan for Daniel is the best performance of the movie; he overshadows everybody including the lead cast. Rest of the cast does the job well.
It is Aseem Mishra’s cinematography which elevates the movie, whether it is London, Chicago, Beirut or Lebanon, all are captured with élan. Rajat Potdar’s production design compliments the story and is also a highlight of the movie. Subarna Rai Chaudhuri’s costume designing is another highlight; it blends with the various countries shown in the movie. Kudos to the technical team of “Phantom” for making it worth a watch.

Music by Pritam gets lost in the proceedings; apart from “Afghan Jalebi” none of the other tracks make any impact.

Kabir Khan is successful in making a technically brilliant movie, but a weak lead pair and a script which has inconsistencies makes “Phantom” an average film. Especially after the brilliant “Baby” by Neeraj Pandey which falls in the same genre, “Phantom” lacks the punch which is required in such thrillers.Definitely not Kabir Khan’s best…

“Phantom” could have been a brilliant spy drama falls short, hence I will go with Three stars…..

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)

In case you have missed the trailer, watch it again

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Official Trailer: Phantom

Kabir Khan is back what he does best with “Phantom” a political thriller; the story is adapted from the novel “Mumbai Avengers” written by the famous crime author Hussain Zaidi.phantom-poster-saif-ali-khan-katrina-kaif

The story & screenplay has been written by Kabir Khan and Parveez Shaikh, and tells the story of global terrorism after 26/11 attacks in Mumbai wherein the main lead Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif play secret agents who are sent in mission. Not much has been revealed as far as the story goes.

Since the story is on global terrorism hence the Producer Sajid Nadiadwala and Kabir Khan have kept no stone unturned and the film is shot all across the globe from Beirut, Lebanon and the mountains of Kfardebian (shown as Syria) to UK & Canada to Jammu & Kashmir to Punjab and to Mumbai….

The principal cast comprises of Saif Ali Khan, Katrina Kaif, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub and many actors from various countries where it was shot.

Cinematography is by Kabir Khan’s regular Aseem Mishra, hence we can expect some splendid visuals.

Releasing on 28th Aug’15 the movie has been produced by Sajid Nadiadwala under his banner Nadiadwala Grandsons and it is being distributed by UTV….

The trailer gives us a glimpse of an action packed thriller shot realistically, a far cry from Kabir Khan’s last blockbuster “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”…..

Well only time will tell whether “Phantom” will be Kabir Khan’s second blockbuster in 2015…till then enjoy the trailer

Review Humshakals

Humshakals: Officially Declared Sajid Khan the “King Of Trash”

Sajid Khan strikes back with his slap stick comedy genre with “Humshakals” but the problem is that there is not enough laughs to sustain 159 mins…

humshakalsSo Sajid goes back to his “Housefull “ mould of European mansions, swanky cars, heroines wearing skimpiest costumes and too many characters who are a caricature. Sadly for “Humshakals” it falls flat and what we get is a trash in the name of comedy.

The Story written by Sajid Khan of three sets of Humshakals of Ashok (Saif), Kumar (Riteish) and Mamaji alias KANS (Ram Kapoor), one set of Ashok who is heir to the multimillion empire of Sighanias, Kumar who is Ashok’s best friend and Mamaji who is scheming to confiscate the empire from Ashok, another set wherein all three are mental patients Ashok, Kumar & Jhonny, and third set consists of Ashok and Kumar who are feminine by nature and Mamaji who is bar dance owner. CONFUSED well this just the beginning, Sajid thought that he could actually better Shakespear’s Comedy of Error but alas there is no story.

Screenplay should I say the lack of it credited to Robin Bhatt, Akash Khurana and Sajid Khan is just a shocker and imagination just goes wild. A sequence has a doctor giving a medicine potion which makes human beings act like DOGS and you see both Reteish & Saif acting like dogs well this is utterly insane in the name of comedy. The Dialogues by Sajid Khan and Adhir Bhatt is equally bad what with “Aap Meri Zindagi mein Aaye to Mere Bacche Ka Baap Ban Jaye”….

The performances by the ensemble cast is just too childish to laugh, for Saif I think this is his worst performance till date. Making faces does not suffice for acting and Saif is so bad when he is imitating actors. Reteish still gives you a few laughs but he could not salvage the mayhem around. Ram Kapoor looks completely lost all throughout the movie. Satish Shah as the warden hams all throughout. The actresses have no scope to act, they are there as eye candy wearing skimpiest clothes. I can still understand for Tamanah Bhatia and Esha Gupta who are relatively new and hence they did this film but why the hell did Bipasha Basu do this film she looks like a glorified extra in the movie.

The only good thing about the movie is the cinematography by Ravi Yadav which is good and catchy to the eye. Music by Himesh Reshamiya is extremely average, excluding “Caller Tune” none of the other songs are worth mentioning.

Sajid Khan’s “Humshakals” has outdone Ram Gopal Varma’s “Aag” in making Trash, and RGV’s “Aag “ looks like a classic in front of SK’s “Humshakals”. Sajid Khan has to relearn what is entertainment before venturing to his next project. I will go with “NO STARS”

Trailer : Humshakals

Sajid Khan strikes back again with another slap stick comedy which has triple role of Saif, Reteish & Ram Kapoor….going by the promo it gives you a feeling of DejaVu….nothing new that you have not seen in Houseful 1 & 2….