Vishal Bharadwaj’s Rangoon is intrinsically a film about romance in the time of war and is set in pre-independent India in 1943 amidst the on-going World War II. The film touches upon the two on-going movements back then – one of Ahimsa by Mahatma Gandhi, and the other of Subhash Chandra Bose – a more violent attempt to get India independence along with the Indian National Army.
Amidst this, we have three main characters – the stoic Nawab Malik (Shahid Kapoor), an Indian soldier who has just spent eight months as a prisoner in Japanese custody. He somehow escapes this, establishing himself as the brave, unabashed soldier who will do anything for his country. Then there’s the ridiculously good looking Russi Billimoria (Saif Ali Khan), a well established studio owner who used to once be an action superstar until he loses his hand in a stunt accident. Lastly, there’s Julia (Kangana Ranaut), a leading action heroine, Rusi’s muse and Nawab’s lover. She’s physically strong yet emotionally vulnerable as she discovers herself through the forests of Arunachal Pradesh.
I watched the film yesterday and here are five things we loved about the film.
Absolutely electrifying. These two were terrific and brought so much intensity and passion to the screen, it’s almost hard to believe there are rumours doing the rounds that the two don’t get along. This pairing, honestly, might just be my favourite one. I was rooting for them right from the very beginning. PS – I must add that this was one of Shahid’s best performances so far. A full 10/10 for his acting chops.
This film has made me realise that Saif Ali Khan is one of those actors who has been drastically under-appreciated. Saif as the jealous and controlling fiancé is absolutely amazing and proves what a fine actor he is.
Good, soulful music is always synonymous with a Vishal Bharadwaj film. Ye Ishq Hai is undoubtedly the highlight of the film.
As great as the leading trio was, the supporting cast were the ones who held the film together. Satoru Kawaguchi as the Japanese soldier was incredible. His comic timing was on-point and he makes you feel a range of emotions. You want to be angry with him but can’t help rooting for him either. His scenes with Shahid and Kangana stand out in the film, and that says quite something about his potential. Saharsh Shukla also doesn’t go unnoticed as Julia’s spot boy.
Kangana Ranaut’s character is the heart of Rangoon. She’s ruthless, fights the bad guys with her whip, jumps from one train to the other. She’s tough yet beautifully vulnerable and brings to the fore all the shades of being a woman. What was interesting is that Julia is the one actress who could bring commercial success to the film and her studio, bearing a striking resemblance to what Kangana is like in real life. She’s one of the few female actresses who can carry off a film just as well as a male actor, and this without a doubt is Kangana’s film all the way.
PS – I want to add again that Shahid Kapoor was AMAZING in the film!
If you’ve been a fan of Vishal Bharadwaj’s films, Rangoon is a must watch. Head to the theatre and let us know what you thought of the film. :)