Don’t let two men fall in love with you, girls. It’s not the sort of thing that ends well.”
For all those who have witnessed the promos of RANGOON, it is very clear; this is a love triangle, set against the backdrop of WORLD WAR II, a catastrophe that began in 1939 and ended in 1945.
Astonishingly, the recusant Vishal Bharadwaj has not been fascinated by any of Shakespeare’s dramas this time, it is an unfamiliar alley, and you can surely trust him to completely own that terrain as well.
RANGOON narrates the tale of Miss Julia, played by Kangana Ranaut, a sensational and scintillating starlet, who’s smoldering and scorching persona can set the screen ablaze. Splashing to the world of stardom, the Julia of the 1930’s is precisely what Ranaut of 2017 would be. She is a motormouth, wildly unpredictable and doesn’t shy away from publicly calling herself a bastard. Her first romantic liaison is with Rustom Billimoria (Saif Ali Khan), who’s enamored by her enticing pulchritude.
The second bead in the rosary comes in the form of Jamadar Nawab Malik ( Shahid Kapoor), assigned with the duty of protecting her life.
What follows next is a compelling tale of love, war, and deceit, exactly what the tagline of the film reads out.
Gifted with the ability to create a perfect blend of noir and humor, Vishal Bharadwaj yet again displays his knack for juxtaposing two diametrically opposite genres into one feature film. It is your call whether to call RANGOON as a war film set against the backdrop of a love triangle or a love saga amidst the Second World War.
The biggest backbone of this motion picture is the solid cast at the director’s disposal. Ranaut’s performance is what one can describe as unapologetic and unabashed. Easily one of the most colorful and chucklesome characters in the world of Bharadwaj, the actor never shies away from playing to the gallery on many occasions in the film.
Equally affecting and absorbing is the acting of Shahid Kapoor, a veteran now in understanding the complexities and complications of the filmmaker’s characters. He delivers ample doses of patriotism and also succeeds in creating a fervent chemistry with the leading lady.
Their scenes, often laced with hilarity, are some of the film’s most enjoyable and entertaining bits.
Moreover, then we have the antagonist or the anti-hero, Khan. He can be chronicled as the steezy version of Langda Tyagi, shrewd, conniving, mercilessly ruthless, and someone never to forget and forgive subterfuge.
This fictional portrait of whirlwind romance and blood-spattered war is powered by the metaphoric and mesmerizing music of Vishal Bharadwaj and the lyrics of Gulzar. Another gigantic pillar comes in the form of the lavish cinematography by Pawan Kumar. Be it capturing the grandeur and glamor of the showbiz of the 1930’s or the destruction and mayhem of the World War; he surely has given the film a rich and polished look.
The only thing that jars are the arduous length. Clocking in at almost 167 minutes, it does feel a bit stretched out on many occasions and almost overstayed it is welcome, especially in the first half. However, Bhardwaj reserves the best for the latter. Ultimately with a nail-biting climax, the film is more ravishing than rambling. Give it a view and decide which emotion compelled you more-LOVE, WAR OR DECEIT.