Rangoon Movie Review: Kangana is a knockout but an over indulgent Bhardwaj makes a mess of this ripe tale

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It was all going fine 'till the last fifteen minutes of Rangoon when it gets gory,over-dramatic and frankly, pretty ridiculous. It’s like Vishal Bhardwaj got a tad too ambitious with his canvas not knowing how to wrap up a film that already lacks clarity. In an interview with us, the leading lady Kangana Ranaut had called this script the finest one she’d read till date – simmered to perfection over the ten years. The film, however, hardly bears any testimony to the effort. Often when you overwork on something, trying to pack in everything you know about the subject, you digress too much. Vishal and co-writer Matthew Robbins suffer from every dilemma in the rule book. What were they trying to make? An homage to Fearless Nadia, the roaring, raging, may be fabulous stunt star of them maybe. But then again, the film also attempts to be a poignant love tale. On that note, we must mention it’s a love triangle, beautifully etched, swelling ripe with the right emotions. But to top it all, it’s a drama on the testy political scenario of the early 40s to credit Subhash Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army for their undervalued service to the National Freedom, which history books hardly ever glorify as much as it should be.

Evidently, to hold on to every subject couldn’t have been smooth, which explains the bumpy screenplay. We are introduced to a lofty dance number for Jaanbaaz Julia. She is a woman torn between love and duty – a man who bought her off and made her the star she is, legitimized her ‘bastard’ status in the society and then there’s another who makes her feel alive. Russi Billimoria is 40s studio honcho, who left his career as an actor half way after a stunt left him handicapped. Julia is a bonafide Billimoria creation, whom he owns, literally! But that’s a relationship of reverence more than desire or even love. Yes, Julia loves him, obviously. In one of the film’s most adorable scenes, she and a captivated Japanese soldier have the most hilarious conversation. Unaware of each other’s language, he tells her how his mother is waiting back home for him with his favorite beef curry. And she raves about Russi, the man she owes everything to. Only if, her heart understood the logic. She and Nawab Malik, her personal bodyguard on a recreational trip to Burma, are smitten by each other. There is a battle of egos, of emotions and love.

With all the right intentions, this film has the most marred writing which is why the film rides on its actors. Saif Ali Khan is suitably brooding, conveying his emotion with his eyes. There is an ace sword duel scene between him and Kangana. He shoulders it subtly, with the right angst and panache nearly taking the spotlight away from Ranaut, probably the only time in the film. Shahid Kapoor, despite a patchy part, gives it heftiness. You believe in his conviction only because he says so. There is too little of his love story with Kangana, taking away from the needful groundwork on which the film should have stood. That leaves us with Kangana. Bloody hell, you can’t take your eyes away from the girl. She nails the naivety of Julia, carrying the stunts in leather bodycon corsets with aplomb, as she whips her way around the men. She gives fleshes Julia with adequate emotional baggage that the character calls for and yet, there’s the feminist in her who quietly knew how to hold her own even against the man who created her. The girl is an absolute knockout.

We wish the same could be said about the film that is made of a few outstanding moments. There is Richard McCabe for comic relief – the Ghalib muttering, Ghazal singing General. His "atisundar, avishvasniya" work deserves a mention. So does the heartfelt scene, where Julia buries her trusted makeup boy after he is charged with treason and his body is left in the jungle to be eaten by wild animals. But the swell scenes are disjointed, never making the film a whole.

For whatever it’s worth Kangana makes it watchable. And her boys do a great supportive job on that front. We watched it for that one scene where the camera stayed still on her, as she spoke about love, longing, deceit, desire and heartbreak. She deserved a better film.

Here’s a note to the Wadias, if there’s ever a biopic on Fearless Nadia, we want Kangana in it. There can’t be another actress who can make a corset wearing, whip yielding, leather lady looks more sensual than the original version.

We rate the film a 70% on the Pinkvilla Movie Meter. 

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Comments

Very nice!
Saif and Kangana were brilliant.
Shahid was too - but a few times his "urban-ness" crept into the performance and I didn't feel much intensity between him and Kangana's characters to justify their love story.

I am requesting everyone to at least see this movie once.

Watched it! first day first show. It was dissapointing. They messed up the ending big time.Never was a fan of Kanagana but she was the only thing worth watching in Rangoon. She was a amazing.

The ending could've been a bit tighter, but overall I found the film fantastic. IMHO it's Vishal Bhardwaj's best work. But I may also be a little biased towards epic period films.

Rani wud hav done Rangoon better

Awesome, so glad for Kangana. She is here to stay!

Yayyyy xXx is a super duper hit and BLOCKBUSTER!!!! A movie that tanked in US but is a blockbuster in a blind fans eyes..
Only RANGOON is a flop.We get it. A movie with outstanding cast and acting.

We get it you are unhappy that Rangoon flopped and hardly made 10 crores on a holiday and Saturday. It doesn't matter if you agree or not, because XXX is a hit and you can do the math if you know how to calculate. It was made on a certain budget and earned 4 times that amount worldwide. Stop showing your hatred and jealousy and ask your favorite Kangana or Kareena to work hard and do better films. Bringing other actresses down will not take your favorite's career up in anyway.

XXX is a flop in India, Mexico and US, where it was first targeted because of the local stars.

Adnan, shut up. Your obsession for DP is disgusting!

Usually arty films with great reviews and decent actors always get success at Box Office. Rangoon didn't despite great reviews, shows how uninterested people are in its lead actress Kangana.

Arty films that get good reviews hardly ever are successful. Only ones that comes to mind recently is Barfi!, Queen and Neerja. Otherwise, Lootera, Haider, Finding Fanny, Omkara, Maqbool, 7 Khoon Maaf, Highway, Tamasha, etc. all flopped, or at best were average at the domestic BO. But it doesn't matter because these films are made for a very niche audience who appreciates them. That's why the makers are able to get financers every time. As well, these films represent us internationally. They build reputation. SO the domestic BO hardly matters. Costs are covered through other means.

Rangoon didn't get great reviews, although the performances especially Kangana got great reviews.

Agree with this review. If it was half hour short and patriotism wasn't so forced it would have been 5 out of 5. Even the humour had food for thought. Watched it loved it. India is such an amazing rainbow of colour, land, tradition, landscape, language. I am going on a discovery. mm

Pinkvilla....grow up ....kangana ,saif and shahid were amazing......we know you love praising Bachchans,SRK and a johar, and the gang.....audience are smart!!

The only thing that's proven is none of the actors are crowd pullers. No doubt they are talented and the director is talented. It might be a niche movie which will.please some people but the movie itself should have a universal appeal for it to work at the box-office. For all tall claims Kangana should understand that first. Queen and TWM work because of the kind of movie they are and not because of Kangana alone. Its true for any actor and even the likes of Amitabh Bachchan or SRK give credit to directors and other creative collaborators for the success of their films whereas Kangana is a bit overboard in taking credit.

Kangana has zero box-office pull. This is a fact. She is not versatile. Her plain face and poor dancing skills don't help much. Her films will work only if they are highly entertaining and the story is excellent.

TWMR did 150 crores in India. Kangana s star power speaks there. People go and watch Rangoon because of Kangana. Haters will go thinking let's see what big shit she's done and her fans will go to rejoice in her performance. But they'll go! Moreover, second day collections have picked up! This film will be a hit !

Kangana is a miscast.she doesn't suit shahid at all.she looks old & lacks the innocence for a love triangle.

She's widely been regarded as the best part of the film. And that's saying a lot considering this is a Vishal Bhardwaj film co-starring with power-house talents like Saif Ali Khan and Shahid Kapoor.

She is much better than Deepika.

Oh shahid when will u ever come with a huge boxoffice success?

Knew from day 1 this movie is gonna b a washout.vishal bhardhwaj picks up good unique stories but the screenplay & directing is never good.he doesn't know how to make it appealing & watchabe for audiences.feel bad for shahid.he never gets popular boxoffice success

I saw this movie yesterday. I didn't like it. Stupid movie. Kangana is overacting.

watched it. Bad story. I think Shahid and Saif are good. Kangana too. but she the weakest between three.

i saw the movie and i agree with this reviewer that the ending could have been MUCH better. this movie tells a story of indian history that hasnt been told enough. Shahid gave a SOLID performance opposite kangana and saif without getting overshadowed (it was weird that an escaped prisoner of war would be so muscular and well fed but i guess we needed eye candy lol)..kangana was completely immersed and gave such a complex performance as a naive and slightly dim yet fearless woman-child. even down to the way that she danced and ran she was an action heroine. she will not disappoint (vishal also utilized her flair for comedy which was fun to watch)...the character of Harding was ANNOYING..the actress playing Mema and the actor playing Zulfi were extraordinaire but omg the revelation of this movie was saif. i had no real expectations from him but he was setting the screen on FIRE. it was like i was seeing Langda come back to life and it was glorious! overall..solid and stunning performances (if u ignore harding), lovely dance and song (i spotted a cameo from sunidhi chauhan), with some cute comedy and nationalism thrown in. PS..Sukiyaki (the dish the japanese soldier was describing to Julia) is not BEEF CURRY LMAO its a stew type dish that noodles in it lol

Shahid couldn't hide his dislike for Kangana in all their interviews.

what does that have to do with the movie?

I have read pinkvilla reviewing a movie very much and giving it 50%. And here it only finds flaws yet giving 70%

To the negative comments, Shahid, Kangna and Saif are the backbone of the movie. In a movie, actors play characters and not competitors. All the 3 have been praised for their performances.

this movie is a VISUAL TREAT you guys.. GO AND WATCH!!
its the type of movie I would take my NON SOUTH ASIAN friends to go see as it represents
INDIAN CINEMA and HOW FAR ITS COME ALONG TECHNICALLY in a VERY POSITIVE WAY!!!
O and yes KANGANA WAS AWESOME!!!! BRILLIANT!

Beti I'm watching it this evening with my friends. I'm SO THRILLED she is getting great reviews for her splendid performance. My review out later today. All the best team Rangoon!

Hello Pinkvilla Aunty.I am still waiting for your review.Your beti was good.

I posted two times beta.....but PV doesn't want to post. In short, loved my Beti and proud of her role. Glad she's raising bar for actresses. Just wished Vishal paid attention to the screenplay, especially climax. Hope this failure doesn't deter her from taking unusual roles in future. She has to be the change, that she wishes to see in the industry. Her career will be worth it,,,, irrespective of hits and flops.

Saif and Shahid were good but Kangana was absolutely brilliant...As a fan of her m very happy..Surely she is going to be in list of greatest actresses of BW ever one day....But i doubt this movie is going to work well at Box office..

Indian audiences are too overpowered by their personal views of the actors that they do not see what these actors are offering professionally. This is the reason why bad actors are always making 300 crore movies while many good actors never reach that mark. Thankfully, I am going to watch this movie tonight in Vancouver with a bunch of unbiased friends who just want to enjoy cinema rather than worrying about who got married to whom and what they sad in some interview.

Sensible comment after a long time on PV...100 likes from me :)

Shahid is rehearsed actor and Kangana and Saif are natural actors.. it definitely shows in the movie.. the movie is good..

Any upcoming good movie coming up anytime soon? This is a pass.

I feel you this year is low. Commando 2 is coming with the handsome Vidyut Jammwal. I don't know if it's a good movie but he's hot and Badrinath looks funny.

Waiting for Padmavati. My beloved DP

I don't think you can write off any of the 3 actors as they are all great actors. But in PV, most of the comments are based on his attitude and her attitude which has nothing to do with their talent.

Shahid Kapoor is so overrated. His arrogance during all the interviews leading up to this movie was so irritating. Anyone saw the Anupama Chopra interview?? He was smirking the whole time at Kangana. He thinks he's daniel day lewis?? Well it's about time for a reality check. Upstaged and how!

that's not arrogance. That's frustration of dealing with a pompous, self-centered co-actor who has constantly been going round running her mouth taking digs and pot-shots at him in very poor taste. Making crass jokes about finding it disgusting to kiss him when the poor guy suffered from a cold. Unnecessarily dragging him by comparing him to Hrithik. Shahid had nothing but great things to say about her after Queen and before Rangoon. He said he was looking forward to work with her and is intimated by her as an actor. Clearly along the way he got to see a side of her that completely put him off and by the time of the interviewer he had had enough. There is a certain decorum and professionalism you expect out of your co-star which Kangana lacks all in the name of "honesty" and "humour". Shahid has gotten along amazingly with a lot of phenomenal co-actors like Alia, Tabu, Irrfan, even Saif. His short but crisp line " “I would not like to play a table tennis match on this whole episode by answering to each of her comments. I just wish to put an end to this match. Kangana should move ahead with all her co-stars in an amicable manner and work with a team spirit.”

Spot on.

i agree with you about Shahid behavior offscreen (and PR maneuverings) but i wont say his acting is overrated. but u also have to remember he is not exactly considered one of the finest actors in india.

Shahid may be arrogant and all but he is not at all overrated as an actor..He is excellent actor who has given excellent performances in Haider,Kaminey,Udta Punjab,Rangoon and hopefully he will perform well in Padmavati as well

He's a good actor who's given a handful of great performances. For every great movie he's done, I can name 5 really bad ones. So calling him "excellent" when he's done 5-7 v.good movies in a career of over 10 years is the definition of over-rated. You're proving my point.

He has been giving good performances back to back since Jab We Met. Of course he has acted in bad movies, but never been called a bad actor ever. In a career span of 10 years, 5 to 7 movies being rated as excellent performance wise is a great thing. How many among the current set of actors or who have been there from 10 years can you name as really good actors? In my opinion, even watching one movie like Haider is enough to call him excellent.

Love your comment. Actors do not get a great role every year unless they are making movies for themselves... and they definitely are not remembered for every role they do - not even Al Pacino or Robert De Nero. In our industry, where most of the movies are typical story lines done by same group of actors over and over again, for Shahid to have 3 -5 movies which give him recognition is a very good achievement.

Shahid rehearses his act and copies acting of many stars. Acting doesn't come naturally to him as it comes to Saif. Saif is the scene stealer here. Even my snooty American friend liked Saif and Kangna . He is usually so pissed off on Bollywood actors making faces and giving loud gestures in the name of acting. The other Bollywood actors he liked are Fawad Khan and Ratna Pathak

Atleast be honest. Shahid is the best out of everyone

I highly doubt I will watch this movie. Hopefully it does well for Kangana and Saif though.

Movie is just released but as soon as the numbers got low and mixed reviews came Kangana started the blame game that her scenes are cut and that's why it came out as an average film. She has no respect for the director, screenplay writer or anyone. If it works its because of her and if it doesn't it's because of others.

I just came back from watching the movie. Even if her scenes were cut, it didn't effect the story line so she needs to concentrate on what the movie looks like not just her role.

not funny joke! She is not looking for the guilty, she finds that her scenes were cut and she was afraid that people would regard it as a performance average, whom she accuses? stop attacking Kangana without any reason! scenes cut for a couple of days before the release, so she only found out about it

Kangna is the modern day Sridevi. Versatile and talented

and you are recent days KRK!

Love fearless Kangana. Certainly going to watch with family!

Fourth flop in a row for kangana. :p

Can you even count?

TWM 2 was her blockbuster film before Rangoon.

Its a flop. Only 10% opening and many shows are cancelled. Reviews are paid .

watch here in london, THE ONE AND ONLY SAIF ALI KHAN WORDS TOO AWESOMELY GOOD, kangana is also very good, shahid is just okay, well done vishal sab,and the rest of the cast MUST WATCH FILM. The hater saying SAIF been 25 years and the weakest link in this film, you really have hatred for SAIF and kareena,yes all of our friends here in london can't stop praising SAIF ALI KHAN,HE NAILED HIS PERFORMANCES,HE IS JUST BRILLIANT USING ONLY ONE HAND, HIS BODYLANGUAGE,THE EMOTIONS IN HIS EYES,SWORD FIGHTING, WELL DONE TO THE ONE AND ONLY SAIF ALI KHAN, BLESSING TO YOU AND YOUR BEAUTIFUL WIFE KAREENA AND YOUR VERY CUTE SON TAIMUR AND YOUR FAMILY, STAY BLESSED, SMILE, THANK YOU VISHAL SAB AND THE RANGOON TEAM

Will download soon

Calm down Shahid haters Go and search other critics review before barking for some it was Shahid who stole the show for some it was kangna and in general audience it was mostly Shahid check their tweets and nobody says anything about saif he was the weakest link and failed to justify his cahrracter even after being in the industry for 25 years so much for being a classy, modern a and nawabi lol. So try harder next time and stop linking saif with kangna to make him look good and check other critics review to before barking even in chemistry wise everyone praised Shahid and kangna nobody said a word for saif and kangna chemistry.

Hi Mira it's only natural to support your hubby who never delivered even one 100 cr film while the new actors already have

why don't you think that Kangana and Saif portions were cut because their parts resemble most to Fearless Nadia, and Shahid got lucky with all this??

Have a sit Mira

Calm down Shahid haters urf kareena fans, first go and check every review of this film till now then talk nonsense, it WaS Shahid or Kangna who stole the show. For some it was Shahid and for some it was kangna hardly anyone praising saif in fact for many he didn't do justice to his role even after being in t he 25 years and I am su

K rules in Bollywood whether It's Kanagana or Kareena NATURAL ACTORS !!!!

When did overactor Kareena become natural actor??? PV post it

Watched it. Kangana is the main hero in the movie. No wonder the movie was named Julia earlier. Shahid and Saif are also amazing but Kangana to Kangana hai.

Love Kangu! Sad this is going to be a BO failure though

Bloody Hell Kanagana..!!

Rangoon m8 nt b among Vishal Bhardwajs best film (Shakespeare trilogy)but it is his most accessible film till date! ! !Meant for a larger audience, for both single screen n multiplex.

Also it is the actors who keep you engrossed till end! Kangana is undoubtedly best actress of this decade. Saif is just brilliant.Shahid is good though I found him a little bit restrained....and the chemistry between Kangana with bth the men is the best I hv seen in years!plus the film is too beautifully shot!!

Rangoon is a beautifully flawed film :) kudos and best of luck to entire team!!

PV post

Shahid and his wife promoted the movie like it is his film and Kangana and Saif are supporting actors! Now we all know the truth. He is just so arrogant and unbearable.

Wait, Shahid was doing it, or Kangana?

Kangana was her over the top self as usual. In other words Mira and Shahidwere getting out of hand

That's so TRUE ! :-)

So based on all reviews, Shahid's performance is nothing in front of Saif and Kangana's performances. So much for all that 'I am the best' attitude.

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