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RANGOON - Well shot, designed & performed but a dialogue in the film itself says, "Public SHOT nahin, FILM dekhti hai". (Review by Bobby Sing)
24 Feb, 2017 | Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / R

The name Vishal Bhardwaj ensures one thing in his films and that’s the technical excellence in his craft along with a worth noticing background score and some seriously intense performances (including the well-chosen supporting cast).

Now this is all there in RANGOON to be precise, as the film has a remarkable cinematography, a very fine background score (the sound), many appealing picturesque locations, some eye catching innovating lighting, an enjoyable choreography, apt costumes and many perfect looking frames resulting in a visually appealing film with some questionably ‘catchable’ graphics that can easily be ignored.

So if technical achievement is all you are looking for in a film then RANGOON is just for you, but as per a dialogue in the film itself, “Public SHOT nahin, FILM dekhti hai”…….. to which I agree wholeheartedly without any slightest of doubt.

In few words, RANGOON does have a spectacular stunning body……. but no soul at all, neither in its chemistry between the artists nor the soundtrack, which ideally is considered the most effective feature of a Vishal Bhardwaj film.

Dedicated to the World War II and India struggling for its independence in that particular period, RANGOON has the same old story of an affluent lady (here an actress) falling in love with a stranger (an Indian working in the British army) during their lonely travel/stay in an unknown region/country, who later faces a dilemma meeting her earlier lover/fiancé getting back to the normal life. The only difference being, that this time the love triangle has been presented in the backdrop of World War II and the lady has been modeled on the real life character of Fearless Nadia who used to be hugely famous in our country around the era of 1940s.

With its first 20 (theatrical) minutes strongly reminding you of QT’s INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (having a similar setting), thankfully I didn’t find any complexities in RANGOON as per the (mostly) fixed format of recent Vishal Bhardwaj movies. But I did find many forced kissing and skin-show sequences in the film not usually associated with the same VB projects. Probably the writer-director intentionally opted for such deliberate unnecessary insertions and a simplistic narration in order to reach the general public in the theaters other than his ‘fixed fan following’. But the fact remains that he once again fails to deliver the excellence we earlier used to cherish in his gems such as MAKDEE, MAQBOOL, THE BLUE UMBRELLA and OMKARA (In fact, I personally couldn’t loudly appreciate any of his films post OMKARA).  

Supposedly a period film, I didn’t feel any old world charm in its presentation too except the film-shooting related sequences and the English officers (annoyingly) trying speaking the famous URDU sheyrs in a funny Hindi pronunciation. Here would also like to inform that though it begins with a well-shot attack (war) sequence of a few minutes, RANGOON is not any war movie at all contradicting to the widely spread assumption in the social networks.

The film is a simple, clichéd love story presented in the backdrop of a war which becomes over lengthy towards the end with the same old kind of conflicts and a ‘seen before’ climax having no entertaining twists ruining the expectations. Surprisingly it also has an utterly foolish or fake sequence in the second half wherein Kangna suddenly (and weirdly) gets into her ‘screen avatar’ of a fearless fighter and goes to rescue Shahid from a train full of British soldiers. Honestly I did find myself and many others in the theater literally laughing watching Kangna running on the top of a moving train in her filmy attire. Really didn’t expect this in a Vishal Bhardwaj film!

Having said that, another brilliant scene did remind me that I was indeed watching the same director’s film talking about the war era, featuring two comic performers hilariously targeting ‘Hitler’ in their stage act.  

The Soundtrack
There was a time when we desperately used to await new soundtracks of both A. R. Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj as the new released CDs. But now the songs are heard for the first time while watching the films only and RANGOON once again has just a couple of catchy songs among the avoidable rest (unnecessarily added into the narration unlike a VB film). Where I did love the melody/presentation of ‘Bloody Hell’ (featuring a cameo of Sunidhi Chauhan) and ‘Tap Tap’ based on a train rhythm, the opening notes of ‘Yeh Ishq Hai’ sounded exactly similar to those of Rahman’s ‘Dil Se Re’ and the best one remained “Alvida” played in parts more than once in the film. Interestingly Vishal himself sings a different and unplugged version of ‘Jan Gan Man’ created by the Azad Hind Fauj in the film, leaving a decent impact.

Performers
Despite having two known male lead actors in the film, RANGOON’s key hero remains Kangana Ranaut from the very first scene to the last and she can also be called the only saving grace of the film without any hesitation. The girl plays her role with a visibly confident authority giving a stand out performance and both Shahid and Saif remain unable to stop her from stealing the show throughout.

Shahid is impressive as a British soldier silently working for his country’s independence but Saif Ali Khan is just fine without any exceptional quality in his portrayal of a cunning moviemaker-cum-businessman. Plus there is no emotional pull or chemistry to be found in either Saif-Kangna or Shahid-Kangna love scenes which otherwise are shot aesthetically (but with a plastic feel).

The supporting cast has always been a major merit of a Vishal Bhardwaj film since the beginning and RANGOON continues to have the same with Richard McCabe (as Major General Harding), Saharsh Shukla (as Zulfi), Lin Laishram (as Mema), Manav Vij and more excelling in their given roles.

Summing up, RANGOON can only be seen for Kangan Ranaut alone and nothing else to be fair in a costly multiplex. And no it doesn't generate any patriotic feeling at all with a completely filmy finale. I didn’t mind watching the film at a surprising ticket price of just Rs.120 in a leading multiplex of Delhi in the very first show. But anything above than 100-120 for this RANGOON will be a sheer exploitive loot offering much less in return.

Ending on a different note, RANGOON once again had praises coming in before the release from the entire film fraternity on Twitter. And they were once again faking around scratching each other's back as usual fooling the innocent viewers.

Rating : 2 + 0.5 / 5 (including additional 0.5 for the few catchy tracks, particularly ALVIDA) 


Tags : Rangoon Review by Bobby Sing, Rangoon Movie Review By Bobby Sing, Rangoon and Inglourious Basterds, Rangoon and Tarantino, Inspired films of Vishal Bhardwaj, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Hindi Films based on War, World War II films in India, Azad Hind Fauj in Hindi films, Fearless Nadia in Rangoon, Kangna as Fearless Nadia, Period based Hindi films.
24 Feb 2017 / Comment ( 2 )
Kamal Arora

Such a disgrace...expected a good period film from Vishal bhardwaj, after watching the trailer, and his past works...but alas, such a pathetic film...No storyline, no sense, no new twist, third class CGI....the train sequence was indeed hillarious...infact I would say childish and immature...wasted my time and money watching Rangoon...

Bobby Sing

Yes Kamal Arora, this was indeed quite a poor film from Vishal.
Hope he bounces back with his next going back to his MAQBOOL form.

Keep Visiting and Writing in,
Cheers!

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