RANGOON is directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, starring Saif Ali Khan, Kangana Ranaut and Shahid Kapoor in the lead roles. Story set in the 1940s, the film embarks on a love, deceit and betrayal during the war period. Julia (played by Kangana Ranaut) is an actress loved by the masses, looked after by a rich businessman Russi and her mentor and film producer (played by Saif Ali Khan), the two are very close. A middle man Jamadar Nawab Malik (played by Shahid Kapoor) signed to bodyguard Julia, awaits to protect her from the war inflicted area. This creates the love triangle in the war-romance genre Rangoon.
- Visually, Rangoon is exciting and is pleasant with a Hollywood-like film feel. It has been presented superbly by portraying the conviction of a romance and war imbedded movie. From the trailer, you are lured to know that a Vishal Bhardwaj film will pave huge significance on the visual look of the film, the director inputs emphasises on the visuals to have a bearing on the narrative and this has been displayed impressively. The cinematography is impeccable if you exclude the faltering special effects. The detail to screen is exceptional, especially the war encounters that stood out and choreographed skilfully for a packed attraction.
- The acting is remarkable, each of the lead characters deliver an exciting and lively act. What also works exceptionally well is the fact that the director has incorporated three big stars into contrasting roles, yet they all still leave a striking mark on the movie. Director has handled them well and given enough screen space to dominate in their respective roles.
- The film takes too long and stretched, the lengthy viewing is almost an uneasy one with not much thrills being exploited. No matter how brilliant of a director Vishal Bhardwaj is, his eye for the vision is special, but this film needed a more structured screenplay. This was an interruption where, the cinematography and acting fascinated, but the script falls behind in carrying these aspects forward. Sharper editing would have ensured more cuts to the film, some scenes were not valuable to the film and could have easily been neglected to make it shorter duration. The inability to also construct a script where thrills have been penned, the film does not keep you as the viewer glued to the screen due to lack of impacting scenes in between.
- It has been mentioned many times before, where a film is strong with the cinematic look, it always fails with the special effects. This periodic war film needed to be recreated with special effects, but the poor execution indicates the inability of Bollywood cinema to invest into creating realistic effects. It is off-putting, proves lack of creativity and does no justice to the film at all despite the cinematography being brilliant. It lets down what started off as a standout from the film.
- The most frustrating factor with Rangoon is the inclusion of too many songs that slow down the pace of a film that needs continuity and intensity. It makes you question was there any need for some of the songs to be inserted? Without them the narrative could have coped and done without them.
- SAIF ALI KHAN – A sharp and confident persona portrayed, he is endearing and lures the attention. A rich person is given only the persona of a rich character. He is the least developed character in Rangoon due to the role. Despite that he delivers himself as the rich figure flourishing the screen but that is average compared to others who are modified as the story progresses. But what Saif manages to adapt thoroughly is the businessman mentality and control freak attributes as that is exactly how he is. He would do whatever he can for his personal gains. Despite being jealous and suspicious over his personal right, he brings the tension to this tangled relationship with Julia and Nawab. With limited scope for character development, Saif does enough justice to add another dimension to the triangle.
- KANGANA RANAUT – A fearless individual who stands up for herself, does not allow one to walk over her and she continues to thrive forward with what she loves. Kangana was represented as brave and nurtures her ability to be a loud person. She manages to lift the scene more than her co-stars, her character has been developed with more detail, ensuring that she leaves a memorable impact. Kangana’s character has been scripted for expressions and emotions, she is given enough content to materialise herself and from that she benefits from it as she is catered as the pivotal character amongst the others.
- SHAHID KAPOOR – Plays the soldier persona of a firmly determined man, Shahid was great to watch. He captivates the film by adding power and action attributes due to his character’s duties. Strict, purposeful and mind-focused to his mission but begins to show elements of emotions when love comes in. This changes his character and allows him to portray much more than to his earlier impressions of a harsh stern personality.
Overall I would rate Rangoon 2.5/5 a film with foundation but missed opportunities with lack of conviction. The film relies more on visuals than dialogues to help narrate the film and give it such an enticing viewing experience. With compliments from some admirable acting, Rangoon can only be highlighted for what has been showcased rather than scripted. It was a decent attempt by the director to incorporate a meaningful film but such kind needs to be substantially perfect in all departments, it excels with the performances and scenery but falters with the film script to really leave a mark on a war affected love concept. Rangoon was not perfect despite having a few elements to appreciate. It is a one-time watch for us.