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 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Movie Review: Ok Jaanu

Ok Jaanu: Sweet but NOT Impactful

Love Stories are a tight rope to walk on, it either can be extremely engaging and cathartic or it can be flat and boring.

Ok Jaanu is a remake of 2015 Tamil Hit “O Kadhal Kanamai” written & directed by Mani Ratnam, an ace in love stories, hit the bulls eye..Ok-Jaanu-movie-Review

“Ok Jaanu” is an urban love story of a couple Adi (Aditya Roy Kapoor) and Tara (Shradha Kapoor) who does not want to get married and settle for a live- in relationship as they do not want to commit for long term as they have their respective careers to take care of. They stay with an older couple Gopi (Nasseruddin Shah) and Charu (Leela Samson), Charu suffers from an advanced stage of Alzheimer. Will Adi & Tara be serious and commit themselves to matrimony or do they go their separate ways, well that is what the movie is all about..

Written by Mani Ratnam, the story is an amalgamation of sweet and bitter moments of the couple Adi & Tara. Well there is where the problem lies in the writing; it remains sweet throughout the movie without too much of conflict. The screenplay remains flat throughout and never picks up either emotionally or otherwise. The older couple was meant to show the real meaning of a relationship, but somewhere even that track lacks conviction. There are moments but it stops at that, and only a few moments cannot give pace to a run time of 137 minutes. The screenplay is painstakingly slow, till the interval nothing really happens. The climax looks a bit hurried and abrupt. In a nutshell not a great script, hence this love story falls in the other category of flat and boring..

Dialogues by Gulzar do not make any impact either, and it sounds very average coming from an ace writer like him.

Performances of the cast try to salvage the script, the chemistry between Aditya Roy Kapoor and Shradha Kapoor as Adi & Tara makes you sit through the movie. Aditya Roy Kapoor as Adi is almost like Aditya playing himself, he breezes through the role and looks and acts well. Shradha Kapoor as Tara on the other hand again gives a remarkable performance, a slight notch higher that Aditya. Nasseruddin Shah as Gopi, the retired judge, tries hard to make sense through his performance, for a half baked character, but still creates an impact. Leela Samson as Charu, Gopi’s wife does not have much to do but still does a decent job. Kitu Kidwani as Tara’s Mother is wasted. Rest of the cast also do a good job..

Ravi K Chandran’s camera captures Mumbai so beautifully that it becomes a character in the narration. Production Design by Sharmistha Roy is chick, urban and modern, apt for the movie. Costumes by Eka Lakhani suits each character to the T…

Shaad Ali yet again fails to impress, all the departments compliment the movie, other than the script which falls flat. Shaad has been missing the bus for the last few outings because of its writing which is underwhelming. But kudos to Shaad for extracting some good performances, but overall Shaad fails to deliver…

The chemistry between Aditya & Shradha is the only saving grace for the movie; I will go with Three Stars…

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)


Official Trailer: OK Jaanu

The hit pair of Aditya Roy Kapoor and Shradha Kapoor is back with “OK Jaanu” after 4 years since their last “Aashiqui 2” which released in 2013 and was a big hit. “Aashiqui 2” catapulted the career of both the actors in Bollywood, who were struggling till then…Ok-Jaanu-Official-Trailer

“Ok Jaanu” is a remake of the 2015 hit tamil movie “OK Kanmani” directed by Mani Ratnam, which had Dulquer Salmaan & Nithya Menen in the lead. Written by Mani Ratnam and Dialogues by Gulzar, the story is of a modern day couple who decide not to get married and go in for a live in relationship…

Directed By Shaad Ali, the principal cast of “OK Jaanu” comprises of Aditya Roy Kapoor, Shradha Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah & Leela Samson..

After a string of flops like Jhoom Barabar Jhoom (2007) & Kill Dil (2014) whether Shaad Ali will redeem himself with “OK Jaanu” is yet to be seen…

The music of “OK Jaanu” is composed by the ace Music director A R Rahman…

“OK Jaanu” has been produced by Mani Ratnam & Karan Johar under the banner of Madras Talkies & Dharma Productions respectively…

The official trailer gives us a peek on the premise of the movie which looks similar to “Love Aaj Kal”….

“OK Jaanu” releases on 13th Jan 2017….till then enjoy the Trailer…


Movie Review: Mirziya

Mirziya: A Beautiful Canvas with bland colours of emotions



“Mirziya” , a lot is at stake, first it is the debut movie of Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan Kapoor, second Gulzar returns as a writer after 17 year, thirdly it is being directed by the ace director Rakesh Omprakash Mehra…Well with so much happening whether the movie was worth a watch let us see…

“Mirziya” is a contemporary take on the folk lore love story of Mirza Sahibaan, it tells the story of Munish (Hrashvardhan Kapoor) and Suchitra (Saiyami Kher), two star crossed lovers who get separated during their childhood when young Munish is convicted of murder…Years later Suchitra returns from London to India, now she is engaged to get married to the prince, but fate has some other plans because Munish who has changed his name to Adil works in the stable of the prince and is given the responsibility of teaching Suchi to ride the horse, whether Suchi finds out that Adil is actually Munish her childhood love and what happens to star crossed lovers is what the movie is all about….

Well story wise there is nothing new as the story of Mirza Sahibaan follows the same mould as the other love stories of star crossed lovers. Where Gulzar tries to be different is presenting two tracks of the story, one the folk lore story of Mirza Sahibaan and the other the contemporary take on the story, and both the tracks are simultaneously narrated. The narration also follows a semi Broadway musical format. Well it is these two experiments which fail miserably. The two tracks of the story has no relevance to each other, apart to show the similarity of the stories, which just does not come out clearly and at the end you wonder whether the two tracks were really required. The Broadway musical format also hampers the narration due to too many songs to justify the musical format. Normally in a musical the songs take the story forward but here it hampers the pace, rather you feel whether so many songs were required at all. There are many things which remain unanswered till the end like what happened to Munish’s mom or what happened in the fateful night at the jungle when the tiger attacks Munish and how he gets saved, or what was the relationship between the iron smith and Munish.“Mirziya” is primarily a love story but it is the love story which is weak, and the writing fails to establish the chemistry between the two principal characters. The childhood track fails to establish the love between the two characters, they seem more like friends, hence when the characters grow up and Suchitra who is getting married to the prince and is shown that she loves the prince suddenly falls head over heels with Munish, which looks a bit hurried and the emotional quotient is so low in the writing that you fail to sympathize with the lovers at the end.. The dialogues also do not help to raise the otherwise weak script… Definitely “ Mirziya” is Gulzar’s weakest writing till date…

Debutants Harshvardhan Kapoor and Saiyami Kher who play the title role of Mirza/Munish and Sahibaan/Suchitra show the spark but fail miserably to rise above the weak script; rather there was absolutely no chemistry between Harshvardhan and Saiyami, which is the most important aspect in a love story. Another debutant Anuj Choudhary who plays the prince Karan impresses the most amongst the debutants and he looks apt as the suave royal prince. K K Raina as Raja Sahab has a small role but does justice whatever is given him to do. Art Mallik who plays Suchi’s father goes overboard with his histrionics and hams nonstop; such performance was not expected from an international actor of his calibre. Anjali Patil who plays Zeenat does justice to whatever is given to her. Om Puri is wasted in a cameo.

It is the Cinematographer Pawell Dyllus who the real stars of the movie; he captures each frame like a poem and makes “Mirziya” a visual delight to watch. The second star of the movie is its action, especially the action in the Mirza Sahibaan track, the action director team comprising of Allan Amin, Danny Baldwin & Manoher Verma do a splendid job…

The music which consists mainly of traditional and folk tunes is another highlight of the movie, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy do a spectacular job with the music, each and every track is a gem in itself. The background score by Tubby is also worth a mention especially the symphony piece used during the action sequences were a highlight…

Rakesh Omprakash Mehra in his first full on love story fails miserably both in concept and execution. Rakesh falls flat in the musical format and the experiment of two parallel tracks which he did brilliantly in “Rang De Basanti” fails in “Mirziya”….I think “Mirziya” is Rakesh Omprakash Mehra’s weakest film till date…

Sad to see that so much of talent going waste in a average movie… I will go with Two and a Half Star…

Movie Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (2.5 / 5)

Review : Ek Thi Daayan

Ek Thi Daayan: A Khichdi of Super natural & Horror

ETD Kanan Iyer the debutant director’s first offering holdspromise…not to ignore the strong backing of Ekta Kapoor & Vishal Bharadwaj.

The story of ETD revolves around Bobo (Imran Hashmi) who isan illusionist and is haunted by his childhood memories of his sister’s andfather’s death due to a woman ETDDiana (Konkona) who he suspects to be the WITCH.He is supported by his girlfriend Tamra (Huma Qureshi), but things take anunusual turn when a girl named Lisa Dutt (Kalki Koechlin) enters their life.The rest of the story uncovers the mystery of the WITCH in Bobo’s life.

The story & screenplay by Vishal Bharadwaj & Mukul Sharma starts well and keeps you at the edge of the seat in the first half,second half the screenplay starts losing its fizz and the climax completelygoes into a typical masala horror movie mould. What starts as a promisingconcept somehow ends at a low note, but overall it does not disappoint.

The ensemble cast does a brilliant job, starting with EmraanHashmi as “Bobo the Baffler” who under plays his character and does justice tohis role, Huma Qureshi as Tamra is natural, Kalki though she does well but hasnothing much to do, but it is Konkana Sen Sharma who steals the show with her brilliantportrayal of Diana, her body language her expressions give you the chill andnot to forget the child actor Vishesh Tiwari who play the kid Bobo is just tooimpressive. Rest of the cast like Pawan Malhotra , Rajatava Dutta areimpressive.

The camera work by Saurabh Goswami gives the right ambience,Editor Sreekar Prasad keeps the pace with his tout editing. Background score byClinton Cerejo is impactful adding the spooky quotient to each scene. Music by Vishal Bharadwaj & lyrics by Gulzar is the high point especially the song“Yaram” sung by Sunidhi Chauhan & Clinton Cerejo is brilliant.

Kanan Iyer ends the movie with a lot of questionsunanswered, do we see a Part II happening???…Kanan Iyer does impress andshows promise…I will go for 3 stars (One for Konkana Sen Sharma)