Rangoon – A Review

Image result for rangoon movieVishal Bhardwaj directs Kangana Ranaut, Shahid Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan in Second World War based Rangoon. Bhardwaj and Kap00r teaming is always exciting and Bhardwaj extracted perhaps Saif Ali Khan’s best performance in Shakespeare’s Othello adaptation, Omkara. But it is Kangana Ranaut who is the one woman tour de force who carries the movie on her lissom shoulders.

 

Kangana plays a Bombay based action heroine Miss Julia, the star of Rusi Billimoria’s production house. Saif Ali Khan plays the Howard Hughes inspired Rusi Billimoria. Similar to the starlets of the west who perform for the soldiers fighting at the front, Miss Julia is whisked off to the Rangoon border to boost the morale of the soldiers at the request of the hindi-shayari spewing Major General Harding. Sergeant Nawab Mallik is entrusted with Miss Julia’s safety on the journey to Rangoon. Shahid Kapur plays the sergeant who in the stunning opening sequence was captured by the Japanese forces and held as a POW.

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What follows from there on is a weak story line which is compensated to a fair extent by Kangana’s brilliant acting, fantastic camera work and surreal virgin landscapes. There are parts where the CGI work shows, but in the rest of the scenes it is seamless. The songs are hummable and the performances on the songs elevate it several notches. In particular Bloody Hell, Tippa and Mere Piya Gaye England are fantastically crafted. Overall the production value and the attention to detail is commendable.

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Kangana is fantastic! She mixes a femme fatale like beauty with a vulnerability that demonstrates the full range of her repertoire. It is her innocent child like demeanour that makes her dancing in front of the Japanese soldiers for dear life believable and endearing. Every frame she is in, she fills it up with light and life. Her interaction with the japanese soldier they are holding as captive is one of the absolute highlights of the movie, remniscent of her interaction with Taka in Queen. Shahid Kapur is restrained and able in the supporting role to Kangana. Saif Ali Khan’s performance grows on you as you realise the kind of control he wields on Kangana and how subtly he plays it. Richard McCabe who plays Major General Harding hams it up to the nines and begins to grate on you after a while.

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While Vishal Bhardwaj does a fine job of recreating a bygone era and extracting the best from his actors, eventually it is the script that lags and slows up proceedings. The editing does the movie no favours either and as the end result the movie suffers. The INA sub-plot and the eventual climax seem more like an afterthought than the driving force.

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Go for the visuals and for Kangana’s mesmerizing turn as Miss Julia. When the history of Bollywood is written, Kangana will be touted in the same vein as Madhuri Dixits and Madhubalas, not only gorgeous but immensely talented and capable of carrying an entire movie on their own.  Mildly entertaining overall this one is a must watch only for Kangana and the beautiful landscapes.

 

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Go Goa Gone – A Review

Saif Ali Khan produces and stars in what is perhaps India’s first ever mainstream Zombie Movie Go Goa Gone  directed by duo Krishna D K & Raj Nidimoru. The film stars Saif Ali Khan in a special but pivotal role that of Boris ( pronounced Baris) the Russian Mafia who organizes a rave party in Goa. It also stars Kunal Khemu as Hardik, Vir Das as Luv and Anand Tiwari as Bunny a Trio of friends who end up in the middle of the undead Goa. Puja Gupta makes an impressive debut as Luna the love interest.

The movie starts off with cringe inducing stoner behavior that was clearly inspired by Pineapple Express. Through uninspiring circumstances the three friends end up in Goa to make a presentation, mend a broken heart, and continue to be super sleazy. The dialogue witty and realistic in terms of how friends would speak to each other begs the question as to how it passed the notorious censor board of India.

The movie really comes alive when the undead arrive. The dialogue which seemed like a crutch becomes unnecessary as all that is required is screams and pantings. The one on one facetime with supposedly clever one liners is replaced with chaotic and manic running away from foreign bhoot. The action is relentless and high adrenaline with many moments that will make you jump out of your skin.

Off the three actors Kunal Khemu is clearly in top form with spot on comedic timing and an impish approach to playing the Casanova.  Vir Das and Anand Tiwari are competent and have their moments as well. Puja Gupta is a sight for the sore eyes as she provides the eye candy without any real missteps.  Saif Ali Khan is a delight for the most parts and his put-on –russian accent is a genius touch.  A special mention to jigar and sachin for delivering a fresh soundtrack which kicks Monday-blues’ Ass!

Directing duo Krishna D. K. and Raj Nidimoru do a wonderful job following up their successful Shor in the City last year with interesting characters, beautifully shot visuals and a simple story executed well. They would do well to pay attention to the non-zombie bits of the movie because they were seriously lacking there. Also the whole bit about “drugs are bad for you” while I appreciate the sentiment , the directors conveniently side stepped that “drugs can save you” (I do not endorse drug use in the slightest)

Walking into the movie I was all bravado and bluster as the one who can sit through a “horror” movie even dissuading friends as it might be too much for them – turns out I am a chicken! But a I still enjoyed myself getting grossed out with every passing scene and would recommend that you watch this movie on an empty stomach and take a long hot shower afterwards because you’ll need it.