Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider came 3 years ago with a fantastic screenplay but a debatable content on Kashmir and a possibly biased view. This time his content is not debatable and sticks to being on the patriotic side. Though it’s portrayed primarily as a love triangle, it is one of the weakest aspects of the film. In fact what stands out is the Vishal Bharadwaj portrayal of the Firangs and the rich and the poor during 1940s in the period when Mahatma was taking the Ahmisa path while Subhash Chandra Bose believed in war.
The movie has not three but four major characters. The fourth is a British General named David (Richard McCabe ) who is an astute leader not the typical ones we have ever seen before. This man can even recite Shayaris and Muhavras. He even sings a Hindi song with a harmonium. He is trying his best to save the losing grip of British Empire and a villain to the Indian National Army led by Netaji.
Rustom Billumoria fondly called as Rusi played by Saif belongs to a Parsi affluent family who run a studio in Mumbai. Rusi is a shadow puppet of the Firangs. Rusi is a pure businessman.
Rusi’s fiancé is Julia whom Rusi had bought when she was 14 years. Julia was a nomad, a banjaran and a bastard. Rusi makes her an action star and she is a popular figure in the industry. Julia is happy with the money and stardom and in fact doesn’t want the British to leave the country, living in her own world. All is well until Julia is made to perform a show and Nawab is assigned her bodyguard. Nawab is a soldier in the British Indian Army. A bomb blast happens and what events take place forms the rest of story. Of course there is a triangle love story that emerges, but the proceedings with respect to the spying by Azad E Hind and the patriotism that surfaces grabs the eyeballs.
The best parts of the film are some of the dialogues by Vishal Bhardwaj and the premise they have chosen. It’s probably the first time this part of the movement was covered in such a big scale. The technical aspects of the film are first-rate.
The biggest drawback of the film is the love story that hardly evoked any emotion. The first half is at a snail pace and boring in most of the parts. Kangana made the role too comical making the essence of love lost. Said stuck to his role and was the best of three. Shahid was subtle but not upto the mark. On the screenplay side, the scene Kangana rescuing Shahid looked utmost ridiculous, thanks to the overtly funny portrayal of Julia. Just because Kangana has a good comic timing doesn’t mean it can still be Ok overshadowing what’s Julia all about. The sudden transformation of Rusi in the end also seemed unconvincing. However, the climax is very ego satisfying. The second half of Rangoon is top rate, on contrary to the ineffective and mundane first half.
Rangoon might not be the best of Vishal Bhardwaj, but definitely worth a watch.