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: Force 2

Force 2: Forceful Action with Less Impact

force-2-review“Force” the prequel to “Force 2” directed by Nishikant Kamat which released in 2011 which was a remake of a Tamil Movie, established John Abraham as out and out action hero, since then John Abraham has not looked back. Every movie of John is packed with high octane action and show of muscle, and “Force 2” is no less…

“Force 2” starts 5 years hence from where the prequel ended in China where 3 RAW agents are killed, out of which is Harish (Freddy Daruwala), ACP Yashvardhan’s (John Abraham) childhood buddy. It is discovered by Yashvardhan that the leak of RAW agents operating in China has been leaked by the Indian Embassy at Budapest…Yashvardhan along with RAW officer Kamaljeet Kaur a.k.a KK (Sonakshi Sinha) are sent on a mission to Budapest to unveil the reason and the man responsible for the leak….whether Yash & KK are able to crack the conspiracy and find out the guy is what the movie is all about….

“Force” concentrated more on the operations of the Mumbai police and the script and writing had a lot of impact as a thriller and was high on emotional quotient. Well it is the emotional quotient which is almost absent in “Force 2”. The story and screenplay written by Jasmeet K. Reen and Parvez Sheikh is in a espionage format, but after a brilliant espionage movie like “Baby”, even this genre in Bollywood has a high standard now and unfortunately the writing fails to match those standards. The script has loop holes galore like how did Yash understand to decode the code sent by his friend, or how the antagonist has a army of men working for him or how did he crack the list of RAW agents in China which is supposed to be Top secret. Due to these loopholes the story falls through and looks amateurish. The hero is given too much of importance and the RAW people look like idiots. The script right from the word go was to cater to the masses and no importance is given to the finer details of the script. The duo of Yash & KK is on a killing spree and the Hungarian Govt. is not bothered, even in the climax where it shown that there is a Indo-Hungarian Summit happening it is the duo (Yash & KK) who are the crusaders and there is no Hungarian police in site. What is good about the writing is its pace which is very fast and too much time is not spent on romance etc…Otherwise the sequel does not match its predecessor in its writing…

The mounting of “Force 2” is much higher as compared to “Force” and so is the action, the chase sequences and the action are of international standards…thanks to action director Allan Amin and the international action crew which makes the movie worth a watch. Definitely it is the action which redeems the movie…

There is nothing in performance to write home about, John Abraham has the same expression which he had for the last few movies but he looks comfortable only when he has to show his muscles…otherwise John is losing as an actor with each consecutive movie. Sonakshi Sinha is becoming the female action queen of Bollywood and she does not disappoint us on the action front but if we talk of performance, well she did not have too much scope for histrionics, but she still looks and acts like a RAW agent well. It is again Tahir Raj Bhasin who steals the show from under the nose of the lead pair. After “Mardaani”, Tahir again gets his mean act perfect. Narendra Jha as the RAW Chief looks confused throughout the movie and has no clue whether he is coming or going. Adil Hussain as the HRD minister has very less screen time but he still excels in a minuscule role. Raj Babbar is wasted in cameo. The two scene appearance of Genelia D’Souza just warms your heart and you feel she should make a comeback soon. The international cast just manage the show, nothing impressive…

Cinematography by Imre Juhasz and Mohana Krishnan captures Budapest beautifully, even in action sequences…

Abhinay Deo , after an impressive “Delhi Belly” and hindi version of “24”, gives us an average fair. The idea had a lot of scope as a good espionage movie but Abhinay falls prey to the trappings of Bollywood and looses the plot. He needs to thanks the action crew who make the movie a worth watch. But I must mention “Force 2” is a better movie than “Game”…

“Force 2” fails to be forceful and ends up becoming any other action movie…I will go with Three Stars (1 star for its action)

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)

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