If you think Saif Ali Khan’s Langda Tyagi in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara was the best performance of his life, think again. The Nawaab has outdone himself as love struck-betrayed filmmaker in Rangoon. Saif plays Rusi Bilmoria, an ex-movie star turned producer following an on-set accident. Rangoon is the story of Nawab, Julie and Rusi and set in 1943, in the pinnacle of both, the Indian Freedom struggle and the World War II. The story begins when the British Army requests Rusi Bilmoria to send his paramour, Ms Julia (Kangana Ranaut) to entertain the soldiers at Indo-Burma border. Saif’s character Rusi, being the epitome of patriotism that he is, sends Julie with Nawab Malik (Shahid Kapoor) as her personal bodyguard. On their route, a Japanese bomb explodes and both Julia and Malik manage to escape into Burma. And so its begins.
Rangoon is director Vishal Bhardwaj’s most expensive film till date. It basks smoothly in its own plot if the lead actors are just let to be themselves. The romance is well woven into the story allowing itself to brew and receive a sense of empathy from the audience. Both Nawab and Julia seem perfectly content in their own little world, despite the wars that surround them. And the first half rolls itself out without the plot going forward and you along with it, without any objections and the compulsion of storytelling.
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Surprisingly enough, when the director starts tying up all the loose ends and furthers the story towards finding an end for all its characters- Malik, Nawab and Rusi, Rangoon slowly crumbles under the pressure of Vishal Bhardwaj’s ambition of narration. The cinematography, the music and choreography deserve ovations. The movie fails, when Vishal Bhardwaj attempts to spin two plots in one movie; a love triangle and a war conspiracy thriller. Although he doesn’t find the perfect balance, he managed to give his best effort and in a world of crappy Hindi cinema, mediocrity becomes a masterpiece.