‘Rangoon’ is a love triangle starring Kangana Ranaut, Saif Ali Khan and Shahid Kapoor in the lead, while British actor Richard McCabe among others play supporting roles. Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, the film is set around 1940s during the World War II.
Rustom Billimoria aka Rusi (Saif Ali Khan) is a former actor-turned-film producer, whose acting career has been cut-short due to a dangerous stunt. He has mentored an orphan Julia to be a stunt actress, and is now her lover and possessive of her, despite being married. British major general David Hardings (Richard Mccabe) asks Rusi to send the popular heroine to Burma border (erstwhile Myanmar) to entertain the British-Indian soldiers who are fighting against the Japanese forces, while curbing the troops of Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army. Rusi persuades Julia to go and a sturdy soldier Nawab Malik is assigned to be her bodyguard. Eventually, love blossoms between Nawab and Julia and she also gets to learn about the Independence movement. Meanwhile, Rusi also discovers Julia’s infidelity, who herself is torn between her passionate love for the patriotic soldier and her wish for a lavish life by becoming Mrs Billimoria. What follows is the war for love and sacrifice, amidst the war of Independence.
The first part of the movie is breezy slowly establishing the characters and situations, with some humorous and lovely moments in the encounter of Julia and Nawab. The movie becomes engaging in the second half only, when the worlds of Nawab and Rusi collide and there is an array of emotions in the characters. The film intertwines well a love story with a war story, but at times, it comes across as incoherent and feels stretched too.
Shot in the pristine locales of Arunachal Pradesh, the movie is visually very appealing due to the brilliant cinematography. The film is technically sound with good background music and considerably good soundtrack. And because of the Independence movement, there is also a sense of patriotism.
The three lead actors have performed brilliantly, so have the supporting cast. Kangana is convincing as the spirited, but vulnerable Julia. Her chemistry with both Saif and Shahid is palpable and great in the comic scenes. Saif shines in the second half, while Shahid is also a show-stealer.
Although ‘Rangoon’ is unable to measure up to the director’s other masterpieces like ‘Haider’, ‘Omkara’ or ‘Maqbool’, the film has the quality to keep the audience hooked.