Love in times of war. Two lethal premises to exploit maximum drama. Throw in a Trojan horse and you look out for the trademark Vishal Bhardwaj thriller. But ‘Bloody Hell’, this time no. Not entirely.

Love + war = Rangfusion

Rangoon is set against the backdrop of pre-independent India that’s clearly struggling between the Gandhian and Bose ideologies in their fight for freedom. But the cause of a nation’s independence weighs in a lot less heavy against the insipid love story of Miss Julia (Kangna), Russi Billimoria (Saif) and Jamadar Mallik (Shahid).

‘Rangoon’ has an ambitious canvas but the soul and conviction in the scenes are often missing. Love and passion between Julia and the Jamadar never quite grips you nor does the dynamic of a master and his muse between Julia and Russi evoke much excitement. In fact, a lot of times, it seems like the director is force fitting the importance of Julia into the film and the lives of his two leading men because he has to do justice to The Kangna Ranaut who will take nothing less than the lion’s share on screen.

Hallmarks of VB

That’s not to say that ‘Rangoon’ does not command your attention, but it yo-yos as the screenplay often leaves you flummoxed with a some lack of coherence. It has the hallmarks of a Vishal Bharadwaj film – love, lust, passion and deceit but a lot of it remains unconvincingly portrayed.

Shahid keeps his promise

Saif Ali Khan plays his part well of the suave in-control producer whose love comes with a royal restrain, Kangna though best suited to portray a complex character like this, is pretty average for most part playing Miss Julia with a slight overhand of confidence but it’s Shahid Kapoor who really keeps his side of promise and breathes youth, maturity, vulnerability and passion into his character. British actor Richard McCabe as the General is outstanding and also invokes quite a few laughs with his Anglicized Urdu Shaayaris, and Hindi. The music is a bit of let down too. Some of the real locations of Arunachal Pradesh are breath taking in long shots, but much of the heavy CGI work is easily noticeable on the screen.

So if you’re a fan of the post Queen Kangna and can enjoy whatever she does, you like long laborious scenes and if you can sit through figuring out whether ‘Rangoon’ is a die-hard love story , a thrilling war drama or just a Vishal Bharadwaj magnum opus that puts his scale to test, go watch it.

I am going with 2.5 stars

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