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May 24, 2017 Wednesday     

The name Vishal Bhardwaj ensures one thing in his films and that’s the technical excellence in his craft along with a worth noticing background score and some seriously intense performances (including the well-chosen supporting cast).

Now this is all there in RANGOON to be precise, as the film has a remarkable cinematography, a very fine background score (the sound), many appealing picturesque locations, some eye catching innovating lighting, an enjoyable choreography, apt costumes and many perfect looking frames resulting in a visually appealing film with some questionably ‘catchable’ graphics that can easily be ignored.

So if technical achievement is all you are looking for in a film then RANGOON is just for you, but as per a dialogue in the film itself, “Public SHOT nahin, FILM dekhti hai”…….. to which I agree wholeheartedly without any slightest of doubt.

In few words, RANGOON does have a spectacular stunning body……. but no soul at all, neither in its chemistry between the artists nor the soundtrack, which ideally is considered the most effective feature of a Vishal Bhardwaj film.

Dedicated to the World War II and India struggling for its independence in that particular period, RANGOON has the same old story of an affluent lady (here an actress) falling in love with a stranger (an Indian working in the British army) during their lonely travel/stay in an unknown region/country, who later faces a dilemma meeting her earlier lover/fiancé getting back to the normal life. The only difference being, that this time the love triangle has been presented in the backdrop of World War II and the lady has been modeled on the real life character of Fearless Nadia who used to be hugely famous in our country around the era of 1940s.

With its first 20 (theatrical) minutes strongly reminding you of QT’s INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (having a similar setting), thankfully I didn’t find any complexities in RANGOON as per the (mostly) fixed format of recent Vishal Bhardwaj movies. But I did find many forced kissing and skin-show sequences in the film not usually associated with the same VB projects. Probably the writer-director intentionally opted for such deliberate unnecessary insertions and a simplistic narration in order to reach the general public in the theaters other than his ‘fixed fan following’. But the fact remains that he once again fails to deliver the excellence we earlier used to cherish in his gems such as MAKDEE, MAQBOOL, THE BLUE UMBRELLA and OMKARA (In fact, I personally couldn’t loudly appreciate any of his films post OMKARA).  

Supposedly a period film, I didn’t feel any old world charm in its presentation too except the film-shooting related sequences and the English officers (annoyingly) trying speaking the famous URDU sheyrs in a funny Hindi pronunciation. Here would also like to inform that though it begins with a well-shot attack (war) sequence of a few minutes, RANGOON is not any war movie at all contradicting to the widely spread assumption in the social networks.

The film is a simple, clichéd love story presented in the backdrop of a war which becomes over lengthy towards the end with the same old kind of conflicts and a ‘seen before’ climax having no entertaining twists ruining the expectations. Surprisingly it also has an utterly foolish or fake sequence in the second half wherein Kangna suddenly (and weirdly) gets into her ‘screen avatar’ of a fearless fighter and goes to rescue Shahid from a train full of British soldiers. Honestly I did find myself and many others in the theater literally laughing watching Kangna running on the top of a moving train in her filmy attire. Really didn’t expect this in a Vishal Bhardwaj film!

Having said that, another brilliant scene did remind me that I was indeed watching the same director’s film talking about the war era, featuring two comic performers hilariously targeting ‘Hitler’ in their stage act.  

The Soundtrack
There was a time when we desperately used to await new soundtracks of both A. R. Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj as the new released CDs. But now the songs are heard for the first time while watching the films only and RANGOON once again has just a couple of catchy songs among the avoidable rest (unnecessarily added into the narration unlike a VB film). Where I did love the melody/presentation of ‘Bloody Hell’ (featuring a cameo of Sunidhi Chauhan) and ‘Tap Tap’ based on a train rhythm, the opening notes of ‘Yeh Ishq Hai’ sounded exactly similar to those of Rahman’s ‘Dil Se Re’ and the best one remained “Alvida” played in parts more than once in the film. Interestingly Vishal himself sings a different and unplugged version of ‘Jan Gan Man’ created by the Azad Hind Fauj in the film, leaving a decent impact.

Despite having two known male lead actors in the film, RANGOON’s key hero remains Kangana Ranaut from the very first scene to the last and she can also be called the only saving grace of the film without any hesitation. The girl plays her role with a visibly confident authority giving a stand out performance and both Shahid and Saif remain unable to stop her from stealing the show throughout.

Shahid is impressive as a British soldier silently working for his country’s independence but Saif Ali Khan is just fine without any exceptional quality in his portrayal of a cunning moviemaker-cum-businessman. Plus there is no emotional pull or chemistry to be found in either Saif-Kangna or Shahid-Kangna love scenes which otherwise are shot aesthetically (but with a plastic feel).

The supporting cast has always been a major merit of a Vishal Bhardwaj film since the beginning and RANGOON continues to have the same with Richard McCabe (as Major General Harding), Saharsh Shukla (as Zulfi), Lin Laishram (as Mema), Manav Vij and more excelling in their given roles.

Summing up, RANGOON can only be seen for Kangan Ranaut alone and nothing else to be fair in a costly multiplex. And no it doesn't generate any patriotic feeling at all with a completely filmy finale. I didn’t mind watching the film at a surprising ticket price of just Rs.120 in a leading multiplex of Delhi in the very first show. But anything above than 100-120 for this RANGOON will be a sheer exploitive loot offering much less in return.

Ending on a different note, RANGOON once again had praises coming in before the release from the entire film fraternity on Twitter. And they were once again faking around scratching each other's back as usual fooling the innocent viewers.

Rating : 2 + 0.5 / 5 (including additional 0.5 for the few catchy tracks, particularly ALVIDA) 

Tags : Rangoon Review by Bobby Sing, Rangoon Movie Review By Bobby Sing, Rangoon and Inglourious Basterds, Rangoon and Tarantino, Inspired films of Vishal Bhardwaj, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Hindi Films based on War, World War II films in India, Azad Hind Fauj in Hindi films, Fearless Nadia in Rangoon, Kangna as Fearless Nadia, Period based Hindi films.
24 February 2017 / bobbysing /
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SRK or the King Khan as he is popularly known, certainly has some serious issues with his films since MY NAME IS KHAN released in 2010. At times it’s an old subject that becomes the problem but most of the times it’s the script and the writing which brutally betrays him and his sincere efforts made putting it honestly.

Unfortunately, the same happens once again in his latest RAEES too, which shockingly remains strictly routine right from the first childhood scene and doesn’t have anything fresh to offer to the audience except a fairly enjoyable clash between Shah Rukh Khan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui playing the honest cop.

To be straight, if in a SRK film, Nawazuddin gets more cheers and shouts on his entry than the Khan himself, then it clearly reveals the viewers expecting much more entertainment and ‘return for their money spent’ from him instead of the leading man, which in my humble opinion surely deserves to be considered as an alarming indication for the thinking actor Shah Rukh Khan.

Coming to the film’s key subject, its yet again a story of a gangster’s empire built with the nexus of police, politicians and the system together reminding you of the famous and far superior English TV series NARCOS about Pablo Escobar, the lord of drugs in Colombia. Said to be based on the true story of a Gujarati bootlegger turned gangster of the 80s, Abdul Latif, who was later also charged for the involvement in 1993 blasts, the makers haven’t officially accepted or announced the inspiration but remain too close to the events happened around the same period.

Following the set format of 70s Hindi films written by Salim-Javed beginning from the childhood accompanied by strong dialogues and sequences building the central character, RAEES doesn’t seem to be bad film at all from the perspective of making, shot-takings, background score, presentation and the key performances. But it’s the so depressingly stale and unexciting basic plot of the film that never makes you feel like watching something new or different especially post the intermission.

In few words, where you do enjoy the clash between the good and bad forces in the first half, the second half offers nothing of that sort at all and nose dives at once post the unwanted song added just after the interval (again following the fixed format of the 70s wherein we always had a song coming back from the washroom or canteen).

As widely discussed in the social networks, I don’t think it’s the censors this time but the makers (writer/director/SRK) themselves who fearfully toned down the film and its politically revealing sequences to avoid many severe cuts or government opposition resulting in such a below average product. May be the director Rahul Dholakia alone might not be responsible for that, but its unarguably weird to choose such a controversial subject for a SRK film when you are not daring enough to reveal it all fearing the censors and the system. Wonder what they found interesting and exciting in such overused and boring storyline other than the controversies involved.

Apart from the writer and director following the 70s films with childhood dialogues such as “Battery Nahin Bolne Ka” and “Baniye Ka Dimaag Aur Miyan Bhai Ki Daring”, Shah Rukh Khan also (once again) follows the footsteps of the veteran Amitabh Bachchan with surma in his eyes and a little variation in the voice (reminding you of the cult AGNEEPATH). However both the unoriginal, sloppy writing as well as the confident act together fail to deliver the magic still felt in the movies of the energetic 70s (incidentally also seen in a clip running in the backdrop in one of its action sequence).

No doubt Shah Rukh Khan truly carries the film with enough swagger and conviction, but an actor actually cannot do much if there is no meat in the subject, repeating the same old ‘seen before’ scenes coming one after the other in a highly irresponsible manner. Both Mahira Khan from Pakistan and the talented Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub get affected from the uneven writing too and so does the remaining supporting cast failing to make any impression at all including Atul Kulkarni. In the technical department where both cinematography and background score excel, I was really not moved by any particular song in its soundtrack, except the marginally better “Zaalima”.

In short other than the King Khan and the dialogues, its only Nawazuddin Siddiqui who actually saves the film giving you something to cheer and smile in the much better first half. Otherwise you can easily guess the confidence level of the makers who even decided to add an item number of Sunny Leone in a Shah Rukh Khan film and that too remaking (read ruining) a cult 80s track.

Summing up, No doubt RAEES is a weak, repetitive and once again not a wise choice of a script by the KING KHAN, but the film has one unique quality I would like to loudly praise it for.

And that’s for being a brave Hindi film focusing on a Muslim protagonist after years (or decades) boldly participating in the sacred rituals on the screen too, displaying the religious sentiments in all positive light, that can easily be rated as a rarity in the present tense scenario redefining ‘tolerance’ as a term.

In other words, in the times when we have deliberately stopped writing the film titles in URDU like we used to do in the last millennium and tactfully need to add a word before ‘Bhaijaan’ to make it a universally likeable title/film, such a strong religious portrayal in RAEES is nothing short of a daring statement indeed.

In fact that’s exactly what you can call it as “Miyan Bhai Ki Daring”.

Rating : 2 + 0.5 / 5 (with the additional 0.5 for the above mentioned tolerant daring by the Khan)

- About an absurd key dialogue repeated throughout the film.
As mentioned above, RAEES can easily be called a forceful tribute to the spirited 70s, but as an afterthought, I found its key dialogue used repeatedly to be quite absurd and foolish contradicting with the over-intelligent and ‘Robinhood’ kind of image given to the central character.

Giving you the details, the writers portray the mother as a highly positive character similar to the roles of Nirupa Roy in cult movies like DEEWAR and more, giving her a highly questionable dialogue as,
"Koi Dhanda Chhota Nahin Hota............. Aur Dhandey Se Bada Koi Dharam Nahin Hota" to which she later adds “Agar Ussey Kisi Ka Bura Na Hota Ho”.

Selectively making the first two lines as his life teaching, Raees goes on to be a bootlegger and keeps on repeating the lines at regular intervals in the film supplying illegal liquor all over the state.

Now at one end Raees is portrayed as a Robinhood helping the poor in the time of need and on the other is shown indulging in trade practices which severely affect the life of these people only (majorly the poor) defying his very purpose.

So every time he says, "Koi Dhanda Chhota Nahin Hota....... Aur Dhandey Se Bada Koi Dharam Nahin Hota" with some kind of weird pride or ‘Guroor’, it looks like quite silly as this Dhanda only was killing many of his people around who considered him as a Godfather and he was foolish enough to not even realize it.

Give it a thought.


Tags : Raees Film Review By Bobby Sing, Raees Movie Review By Bobby Sing, Inspired Films from real life characters, Hindi Movies on a Gangster Life, Hindi film on gangster Abdul Latif, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
26 January 2017 / bobbysing /
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In one of its scene, a laptop is found with blood strains and just when the lady picks it up, more blood starts dropping from the machine as if someone is badly bleeding in it. Probably that was the scene which inspired its makers to call the film as RAAZ REBOOT dedicating it to the poor computer. Otherwise in reality its the writer-director Vikram Bhatt, who seriously needs to go for a quick REBOOT, rethinking and re-evaluating the way he is coming up with one BAD project after another disappointing the ‘horror-genre’ fans.
Anyway the reason for calling the film as another similar looking project made to fool the audience lies in its basic story structure which amazingly is quite identical with the recently released 1920 LONDON which was also written by the one and only Vikram Bhatt.
In a film majorly publicized focusing on Emraan Hashmi, the hero surprisingly enters after a good 40 minutes and then keeps coming back at intervals enacting in a pretty casual way without any fresh, serious or convincing feel as always. Honestly I found Hashmi to be somehow different in only one film till date and that is Dibaker Banerjee’s SHANGHAI released in 2012. Making her debut Kriti Kharbanda is just there thanking her stars for getting a major break whereas Gaurav Arora keeps trying to be at least decent as a husband hiding a dark secret.
Like all previous films in the RAAZ series, this one too has a forced sexual angle and a magical ‘Mangalsutra’ too reminding you of the typical Ramsay films. The scares are just routine and so is the music of the film yet again offering all similar sounding, deliberately added songs along with the usual background score. The visuals do have some freshness taking you to Transylvania (Romania), but the direction never rises above the eye-catching visuals following the same done-to-death execution presented with clichéd gimmicks and graphics unable to either entertain or frighten the viewers from any angle.
However the most amazing feature of RAAZ REBOOT remains the extensive use of English in its key sequences and dialogues forcing you to question that for whom The Bhatts were actually making this film, very well knowing the exact market of ‘horror genre’ in our Hindi cinema and its territories. May be Vikram Bhatt is thinking of making his next horror film in English to torture the westerns too.
In short one might be able to appreciate the film and its unexpected twist in the storyline if he or she hasn’t seen the recently released 1920 LONDON with much better scenes. But for the ones who have already seen that, this doesn’t even qualify to be considered.
Rating : 1 / 5
Tags : Raaz Reboot Review by Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Inspired Films. Similar storyline as 1920 LONDON, Poor horror films in Hindi Cinema, Raaz series, Raaz Part 4 Review by Bobby Sing
21 September 2016 / bobbysing /
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