Connect with us

Rangoon Is A Rudderless Epic Rescued By An Excruciating Exquisitness

Published

on

Starring Shahid Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut, Saif Ali Khan

Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj

Advertisement

[wp-review id=”75806″]

In art, as in life, consistency is not  a quality that is easily obtainable. In the life that is created in Vishal Bhardwaj’s art the characters are so flawed and fractured and so driven down to destruction by their own demoniacal desires that you fear they would collapse under the weight of their own ambitions and longings.

Advertisement

This is true as much of the characters as the director himself. VishalBhardwaj’s latest arguably his most ambitious film to date could have ended up being the Bombay Velvet/Mohenjo Daro of 2017. It is rescued, no redeemed , by an excruciatingly exquisite perception of the wounds and lashes that love pelts down on those who are its victims.

Rangoon is a simple tale , unnecessarily complicated by  its characters’ prevarications. It is a story pinned down to a bobbing blueprint of  passion and  betrayal by a fey feisty whimsical woman , a popular action actress of the 1940s, who is not, REPEAT NOT, Fearless Nadia..she is Fearless Julia… not afraid to wear her heart on her sleeves, And when you have Kangana Ranaut to play ‘Fearless Julia’ it is easy to show the woman complete stripped of vanity in her lunge towards love.

Advertisement

Set in the 1940,for a large part of its narrative Rangoon reads like  an over-intellectualized literary excursion replete with educated well-informed arrogant and pompous references to the role of  SubhasChandra Bose’s INA(Indian National Army) in bringing down the British Raj. The references to the politics of the India’s Freedom Movement are drawn out of the  commodious plot with a groaning wheezing gravity,as though Bhardwaj , of all the learned elements in Indian cinema, knows that the Indian audience needs to be educated.He is visited the library,you see.

Tragically the characters from both the British army and the INA come across as caricatures cloaked in a gravitas that the screenplay  is unable to pull out of the circle of intrigue and deceit that the screenwriters create to cheat on destiny.The British  Major-General Harding(Richard McCabe) sprouts Urdu poetry with an endearing lisp(Ghalib never sounded so  glib)  but soon begins to behave like theGora villains in Manoj Kumar’s Kranti and Manmohan Desai’s Mard.

Advertisement

McCabe is Tom…Altered.

The erudition that Bhardwaj and his writing team slap on to the long-winded screenplay go a long way in slackening the story’s pace almost to a near-inert place from where it is hard to pull ourselves out  even when Shahid Kapoor and Kangana Ranaut’s compelling chemistry is an inviting incentive.

Advertisement

By the time the plot reaches its third and final act, Bhardwaj gets totally carried away by his librarian’s lyricism. He injects massive suffocating doses  academia into his narrative with scholarly arrogance, sacrificing narrative evenness for interludes where Time come to a standstill as  we see characters enacting scenes from the Freedom Movement on stage.

The skits-o-phrenia is distracting. Many of the characters appear to be wasted in the long-legged libretto on nationalism that Bhardwaj insists on playing out while we are meant to watch his paean to patriotic pride in submissive silence. Bhardwaj plays and sings variations of the national anthem so many times during the film that the audience in the theatre(all 25 of them) was confused as to whether they should just continue standing  in reverent attention.

Advertisement

After all this is not just the Jana gana mana. It is Vishal Bhardwajplaying the Jana gana  mana.

A pity, he sacrifices the opportunity to tell a beautiful and tender love story about three wounded fractured broken characters for the sake of a baggy ode to desh bhakti replete with a climax on top of a precariously compromised wooden bridge that David Lean would have used as a dress rehearsal for The Bridge On The RiverKwai.Aerial shots of WW2 war planes swooping down on the natives are so clumsily done they are proof of how far FX-driven Indian cinema lags behind its Hollywood counterparts, and why.

Advertisement

Peel away the layers of self-referential nationalism, and we are left with a luminous love story, a dishy desi version of David Lean’sRyan’s  Daughter and Vijay Anand’s Guide  about a capricious seductress in a committed relationship who strays into a passionate liaison with a  near-stranger who  is way out of her social league. Indeed the most masterly portions of the narrative are those whereKangana and Shahid are shown slogging through stretches of slush and marsh land accompanied by a  Japanese POW.

Kagana and Shahid are extraordinarily at-home in expressing the eruption of unpremeditated passion. Their scenes together are magically shot by cinematographer Pankaj Kumar and are elevated further to a level of liberating lyricism by Vishal Bhardwaj’s serene background score.

Advertisement

A pity Shahid and Kangana’s time together is rationed. It ends with the Japanese soldier(played with gratifying earnestness by SoturoKawaguchi) begging to be freed to go home to his mother.

Exactly our feelings .

Advertisement

 

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Comments

Exclusive Premium Content

Pink Director’s Next  Featuring Yami As A Crime Reporter To Stream From February 16

Published

on

Yami

Anniruddha Roy  Chowdhury whose  Pink  featuring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu was one of  the  most important  films of  2016, is all set to  release his  next  Hindi film.

Entitled LostAnniruddha’s film , based on true  events, will see Yami Gautam Dhar(that’s  what the actress calls herself after her marriage)  as a crime journalist. LOST is an emotional social thriller that represents a higher quest, a search for lost values of empathy and integrity.

Advertisement

Inspired by true events, Lost is a story of a bright young woman crime reporter in her relentless search for the truth behind the sudden disappearance of a young theatre activist.

Lost

Lost

Says Aniruddha  “The shoot of LOST has been an incredible journey. I have been eager for the release of our hard-worked venture. The film is a realistic highlight of media in a social context and I am sure that it will give the audience a compelling watch. I am curious about its release and see the responses it shall get. I hope they will welcome it with open hearts.”

Yami Gautam Dhar  who plays  the lead  of  the  crime reporter  says,   “I can’t be happier and more proud of the film’s selection for the opening night at CSAFF. I feel like its one that the people will connect to and will be the one that you cannot miss, especially in the current age and time. I have loved playing this role because it was such a special experience, it allowed me to explore so many layers of emotions as an actor and the entire team has worked really hard on it. I genuinely cannot wait for the film’s release, especially to see the reactions of the audience to it.”

Advertisement

The crime investigation  drama boasts a stellar cast. Along with Yami, the film will feature Pankaj Kapur, Rahul Khanna, and an ensemble of younger talent, including Neil Bhoopalam, Pia Bajpai, and Tushar Pandey, in pivotal roles.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Exclusive Premium Content

Jamuna Had A Love-Hate Relationship With  Bollywood

Published

on

Jamuna

Veteran  Telugu  actress  Jamuna who passed away on Friday, shared an uneasy relationship with  the Hindi film industry.She did eleven Hindi films including the iconic Milan in  1967 where Jamuna  agreed to play the  second lead, or the  supporting role if you will, to Nutan.

 Jamuna as Gauri was the Other Woman who craved for the hero Sunil Dutt’s attention whereas  he had  eyes and devotion  only for Nutan. In later  years  Aruna Irani played a similar  role in  Caravan.

Advertisement

 In Milan Jamuna  was not keen to  do a supporting role. Producer L V Prasad tempted her with three chartbusting songs. Besides, Jamuna had played the same role in Mooga Manasulu, the  Telugu original  of  Milan. But it  was the songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal  which convinced  Jamuna to  take up the second lead in Milan.

 While  Nutan had no solo songs  in Milan, she did have the chartbuster duet  Sawan  ka mahina . Jamuna on the  other hand,  had two  splendid Lata Mangeshkar solos: Tohey saawariya naahin khabariya  and   the magnificent Ghazal Aaj dil pe koi  zor chalta nahin.Not only  these, Jamuna  also had a  hit duet  with Mukesh  based on her character  Gauri:  Bol Gauri  bol tera kaun piya.

Advertisement

But  then, fate  intervened. After the film released  one of Jamuna’s solos, the poignant and memorable  Aaj dil pe koi zor chalta nahin was  snipped  out of the film.

Here is what  happened:  the  Ghazal , one of Lataji’s all-time greats, was very much a part of Milan when  it released on 17 March 1967. But then  it was seen to hamper the  flow of the  film and  edited  out. The  beautiful song occurred right after intermission. Producer  Prasad, a shrewd  filmmaker, got to know that audiences prolonged their  loo breaks as there was  a song after the break. Hence the sacrifice  of  a seriously  sonorous melody.

Advertisement

Jamuna hardly did  Hindi films after Milan. Her last  Bollywood appearance  was in  Raj Kumar  Kohli’s Raj Tilak  where she  was lost in a multistarrer as  the royal  queen.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Exclusive Premium Content

Karan Johar Moves Alia Song From Switzerland To Kashmir

Published

on

Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani

The  romantic duet in  Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani  which was to be  shot in Switzerland and which was  delayed  due to the film’s leading lady Alia Bhatt’s motherhood, is now being relocated to  Kashmir.

Purely out of  the  love for  new mom Alia.

Advertisement

Says a source in the know, “Karan loves Alia  like his own daughter. He would do anything for her. He postponed  the  release of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani as the love duet could not be shot before Alia’s maternity leave. Karan had decided to shoot the song in Switzerland  after Alia’s maternity love. But now he has relocated the song to Kashmir  as Alia doesn’t want to leave her  baby girl behind for  long stretches.”

And as Karan Johar argued, snow is  snow. How does it matter whether it is  Switzerland or Kashmir?

Advertisement

This  song would be Karan Johar’s tribute to  his  idol Yash Chopra. Alia would be dressed in chiffon sarees while  Ranveer, for  a change, would be seen in  formals.

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Exclusive Premium Content

Bobby Deol’s Switchover To Villainous Roles

Published

on

Bobby Deol

After  Prakash Jha’s webseries Ashram where Bobby  played a sleazy  godman, and Love Hostel  where  he was a ruthless assassin,   he is playing the villain to Ranbir Kapoor in  Sandeep Vanga’s  Animal.

Bobby says it is not conscious career decision to play negative characters  but a conscious  decision to play interesting characters. “ I don’t look at  characters as positive or negative.When I watch  films there is always  one character  that stays  with you. I want to play that  character.”

Advertisement

Prakash Jha’s Ashram proved a gamechanger for Bobby.  He admits finding  challenging roles is tough.  “I am trying. I  am doing Sandeep Vanga’s Animal with Ranbir  Kapoor , Parineeti Chopra. Then I am doing the family film Apne  2 which I am  very excited  about.”

 In an  earlier  interview with  this writer Bobby spoke  about his   long absence  from screen  before Prakash Jha’s Ashram.  “My fans   would ask why I wasn’t being seen on the screen.And I couldn’t tell them it was  because  I wasn’t getting good roles. But my fans  stood by me. They gave me  the strength  to  keep looking for the right roles. Thankfully I found the roles I liked. My new  films have given  me  some new fans. I am  thankful  I am still here. Yeah , I am in a good space right now.”

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Most Popular