Words fall short to describe something which is either too beautiful or too crass. Vishal Bhardwaj’s latest on-screen offering — Rangoon, a film set in World War II belongs to the former category. Right from its cast, music, dialogues to the best thing it has — it’s narrative, the film is a concoction of moments. Moments that are beautifully vulnerable and numb.
While Rangoon is a war film, its heart lies in the love story it has. Shahid Kapoor in the military outfit, Kangana Ranaut donning all that vintage charm and Saif Ali Khan spreading the right oomph of royalty, the actors in Rangoon are strong performers. The good part is how one performance doesn’t overshadow the other. The three main actors in the film seem aware of their zones and their performances convey a sense of respect for each other.
Rangoon once again establishes how Vishal Bharadwaj is the only filmmaker in the Hindi film industry who makes dark and volatile look fragile and intelligent. He also gives a new meaning to the magnum opus style of filmmaking. While Rangoon seems grand, it is not extravagant or too loud to prove its grandeur. Bharadwaj’s direction adds layers to the film which ask the viewer to invest more brain in it. Indian war films are more to do with pumping patriotism than the war itself. Here, in Rangoon, the war is in complete focus. The director shows the atrocities in the war-affected area. He shows the trauma people from various classes of the society face when war hits their land. Rangoon has scenes which convey more than what they show.
The music of the film, as it happens in most Bharadwaj films, is not filling the vacuum in the narrative. But, it comprises the narrative. As real as the director has tried to make it look, Rangoon is probably first of VB which is high on its commercial elements. Apart from songs, which are already popular, the story has heavy dialogues (ones which fortunately don’t seem out of place) and all the quintessential chills and thrills. However, as in his most films, betrayal, broken promises and defied emotions do not leave the plot of Rangoon as well. The idea of being helpless in love is something that the director seems to have carved in a better way in the film as compared to his previous directorial.
Rangoon comes way ahead of any other Bollywood period drama. It has an essence, meaning, intelligence, beauty, and entertainment which leaves you with thoughts as you come out of the theatre after watching it. An unmissable watch!