Vishal Bhardwaj works diligently hard to pull off his most ambitious film called “Rangoon”. The director portrays evidently bold love triangle against the backdrop of freedom struggle of India, but the flick is layered with all delicious dialogue, stupid nods and lilting music that one has come to link with his cinematic world. The film is treat for the eyes to look at which is supported and greatly powered by excellent lensing by Pankaj Kumar, alongwith clutch of Broadway-style music tracks, and pitch-perfect locations which serve as a fitting landscape locations for the story to unfold. Problem is is that the plot of the flick in itself is deep and dense and is also overcrowded with many storylines. The initial hour is pure set-up, and it’s set at a leaden rate. What thankfully we get is compelling protagonists in Julia, a courageous action heroine who is the mistress of a leading producer Russi Billimoria, who once himself was a star but went away from the arclights after a mishap which happened as an accident. After that, we have another man in fatigues, Jamadar Nawab Malik,who is a soldier in the Indian army in the movie whom Julia falls head-over-heels for when he gets assigned as her military escort on her visit to the India-Burma border to. As this is Vishal Bhardwaj’s flick, there is more to the characters mentioned, than what is evidently visible on the surface. Julia played by gorgeous Kangana Ranaut is a swashbuckling femme fatale, but is putty in the hands of her mentor. Russi played by Saif Ali Khan, who portrays a British sympathiser, expresses affection and love for Julia, but never for a moment he lets her forget that he wholly owns her, as he has ‘bought’ her from her mother at the tender age of 14 for nearly thousand bucks. Nawab played by Shahid Kapoor is showed hiding dangerous secrets of his own that must be immensely guarded. All three actors playing these tough roles are in particularly nice form. Saif Ali Khan imbues Russi with the swagger and the arrogance of an aristocrat from the age and time forties. Shahid Kapoor plays the patriot with fabulous matured performance, and his understated approach to the part is a fun to watch. But the real pleasure and a scene stealer is Kangana in the role of Julia, as being woman who loves as deeply and fiercely as she argues. For evidence of her incredible performance range just look how she goes from comic and playful to densely emotional in that terrific pre-intermission scene in which she is drunk in the mud with Shahid.
It is difficult to take your eyes off her each time she comes on the screen. Her appearance is just rocking. But Rangoon is long more that it should be, and indulgent to the point of butt-numbness. The writing is little clunky, specially the overwrought climax on a suspension bridge between Burma and India. .As the end appriaches, the film is neither wholly satisfying as a compelling romance, nor as a stirring drama of patriotism about the portrayal of the Indian National Army in India’s freedom struggle. The director makes an attempt in very ambitious manner to deliver a epic and there us enough to enjoy. You might want to give it a chance!