By: Pratishtha Malhotra
Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Kangna Ranaut
Directed By: Vishal Bharadwaj
First and foremost, one tends to bow down to the world that Vishal Bharadwaj creates and puts in front of us. Each and every time, I am zapped the minute he pans his camera and I surrender. His ambition is so vast which is what makes him different from everyone else. One quality that one can imbibe when around him is the fact that he is not afraid of anything. He directs, writes and composes soulful melodies leaving you awestruck year after year and you sit in your chair and wonder. How? This is what great artists are made of… there is not an ounce of doubt in that. His latest creation RANGOON is full of passion, rebellion, tyranny, deceit and what not… but somehow doesn’t take a full circle. It is so beautiful but still, you don’t get closure which bothers you and leaves you with a panic attack. You need a closure for your sanity.. Don’t you?
It is absolutely spectacular and that is why it frustrates you at certain points because you are sitting there wanting to know more. It could have been the greatest films of all times but it just stops right before the finish line leaving you a little hollow. Even in all its greatness, the film is not great… and that is the dichotomy of it all. Vishal Bharadwaj has created a world where Rusi Bilimoria, Miss Julia, and Nawab Malik are distinct, fantastic and all of them leave a mark and with a little help from the lens of Pankaj Kumar who has shot the film exceptionally well. The locales of Arunachal Pradesh transport you to the world it was- just breathtaking! Vishal chooses to shoot his films in picturesque locales where people are dealing with gore which makes everything so ironic. He takes the phrase, ‘It was so beautiful, I could die’ on another level…
Speaking of the actors, I was impressed with Saif Ali Khan’s portrayal of Rusi Bilimoria who is a British loyalist. He looks the part and you love and hate him simultaneously. The star boy who lost everything in a jiffy takes control when he makes Miss Julia the biggest sensation of his studio played effortlessly by Kangana Ranaut. She is vulnerable, silly, abused and grows into a woman who you should be afraid of.
We are told that Rusi bought Julia in Rs. 1000 when she was 14 so you get to see many shades of ownership in the name of love when watching both of them. He doesn’t even hesitate to hold her face to tell her that she is nothing but a Rusi Bilimoria Creation….From a silly starlet, she transforms into a woman on a mission and people around should beware of what they have coming their way.
Shahid Kapoor is Nawab Malik and it is interesting to see Bharadwaj’s muse in various parts as he dresses him differently in every narrative he creates. He is a soldier… and proudly calls himself Jamadaar Nawab Malik as he works for the British Army but there’s a catch… and it unfolds rather slowly. The characters that Bharadwaj has created are fascinating but something is always missing. Joining the dots becomes difficult especially in the second half because the writing is a little loose.
The minute you invest yourself in a particular scene, it ends in an abrupt transition which takes you by surprise and not necessarily a welcome one. The antagonist Major General Harding who quotes poetry in Hindi after a point is too much to take and that is where I started losing my interest in the game. Every actor brought their A Game to play but still, there is a disconnect which breaks your heart, especially when Bharadwaj breaks the puzzle in the climax where you are appalled. You don’t want to buy it anymore. While wandering amidst the heaven like locales of Arunachal Pradesh through the eyes of Bharadwaj, towards the end even I wanted to take out my hunter and screech ‘Bloody Hell’…