‘Rangoon’: Fearless Ideas, Flawed Execution

By Meetali Kutty 

Film: Rangoon

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut and Richard McCabe

Genre: Period Drama

 Eagerly awaited, Vishal Bharadwaj’s latest cinematic venture weaves a love triangle, among the setting of India in 1943, when Gandhi’s Quit India Movement was at its peak, Subhash Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army was targeting the British, and the colonial rulers were involved in World War II. However, with these diverse strands, the plot of the film falls flat, and leads to a facile climax, all over the course of nearly three hours!

Kangana plays Miss Julia, a character inspired by stuntwoman Fearless Nadia, with zeal and a stunning sentimentality that only someone like her can achieve. She is the prize possession of actor turned producer Rusi Bilimoria, (Saif Ali Khan) who seems to live out his unfulfilled climatic dreams through his protégé. She later meets army general Nawab Ali (Shahid Kapoor) while on her way to entertain the troops in Burma, where the former rescues her. While Rusi searches for his pet, Nawab and Julia start falling in love. Who will Julia choose is the central premise of this movie, where war just serves as a spectacular backdrop.
The performances of the three leads is believable and each actor embodies their character with Kangana mixing fierceness with a soft heart, Shahid taking a grim role as an army man who has seen a lot of sorrow in his life, and Saif looking every bit the royal in his suits. 
The only sour note is Richard McCabe’s performance which comes off more comical than villainous. The film has an aura of old Hollywood to it, with Saif referring to Kangana as ‘kiddo,’ while the digital way the war scenes have been shot as well as the more modern music, composed by Bhardwaj and penned by Gulzar, add a contemporary feel to the proceedings.
What is interesting to note is that all three main characters are not from a majority religion in India, allowing the film to not take on overzealous patriotic tones, and showcasing war film in India without a Hindu lead, a rare instance indeed! Sadly, while there are glimpses of subversion and great plot threads, the film ends up a jumble, without any real take away. The best part of the film is the lush cinematography which will capture your attention throughout.

Verdict: ***

Censor Board Gets Scared Of ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’

MUMBAI: (IANS) India’s film censor board has refused to certify ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ for its sexual references and use of abusive words, among others. And even as a string of celebrities condemned the development as ridiculous, the film’s director Alankrita Shrivastava said she is determined to ensure that the Indian audiences get to watch the film.  
Celebrities, including Pooja Bhatt, Farhan Akhtar and Vivek Agnihotri, spoke up against the Central Board of Film Certification’s (CBFC) decision — bringing the spotlight back on the feasibility of the censor board in India. 
The film — starring Konkona Sen Sharma and Ratna Pathak Shah — chronicles the secret lives of four women of different ages in a small town in India as they search for different kinds of freedom.  
A copy of the CBFC letter to the film’s producer Prakash Jha states: “The story is lady-oriented, their fantasy about life. There are continuous sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society, hence film refused.”  
Shrivastava, who is in Glasgow, where the film will be screened at Glasgow Film Festival, told IANS: “I am not defeated, disheartened or disillusioned by the CBFC’s refusal to certify ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’. I am more determined than ever before to ensure that ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ can be watched by Indian audiences.”  
“I will fight this out till the very end, and do whatever it takes because this is not about my film. The real issue is the systematic suppression of women’s voices and the throttling of freedom of expression,” added Shrivastava, who last helmed “Turning 30!!!”.  
Shrivastava said that “as a woman and as a filmmaker no one can take away my voice”. She added: “I believe the decision to refuse certification to our film is an assault on women’s rights.” 

Farhan Akhtar And Diana Penty Join Hands For ‘Lucknow Central’

By Bhumika Rawat
Actor Farhan Akhtar and Diana Penty have teamed up for ‘Lucknow Central’, a movie based on a musical journey of jail inmates who form a band during their imprisonment. The shooting of the film has already started in January. The next schedule is planned at Lucknow post Holi in March. 

Actress Diana Penty is very excited about her film “Lucknow Central” and she has described it special as it has a strong story and features some of the finest actorDiana, who made her Bollywood debut with Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone starrer “Cocktail,” was last seen in the family entertainer “Happy Bhag Jayegi”.

She has teamed up for the first time with Farhan in “Lucknow Central”, where she will be playing an NGO worker. “I have always wanted to be a part of stories that I feel strongly about and ‘Lucknow Central’ is one such story. I instantly said to it when Nikhil Advani (producer) told me about it,” Diana said in a statement. 

“Playing a character that holds her own in a film that has some of the finest actors from our industry, makes it even more special for me,” she said. Produced by Nikhil Advani ‘Lucknow Central’ marks the directorial debut of Ranjit Tiwari.

Phillauri Trailer Crosses 2.5 Million Views

c396o0tvyaaij-rThere’s comedy, romance and a hook in Phillauri trailer, the response to which has left the film’s makers content and excited. The trailer was unveiled on Monday morning to a positive response as Bollywood buffs found the idea of actress Anushka Sharma playing a ghost very unique and interesting.

Anushka, who has also produced the movie with her brother Karnesh Sharma under their banner Clean Slate Films, said over phone from Mumbai: “We are very ecstatic. When you put out a film like this, you don’t know how people will receive it because you’re trying to tell a story differently.

“So when such a response comes through… It’s great. We are grateful with the response, and we are very charged up with the rest of the promotions, thanks to this amazing start.”

The trailer begins with Suraj Sharma — yes, the Life of Pi actor — in a very different persona as a NRI Punjabi boy who is made to marry a tree before he marries his fiance as he is ‘maanglik’. The humour comes in when the ghost who lived on the tree starts trailing him.

Anushka’s histrionics as the friendly and entertaining ghost look endearing, and the VFX adds to the look. In a jocular tone, the actress said: “I thought playing human was too mainstream… Insaan se bore ho gayi (Got bored playing a human). But… this ghost is different and fun.”

Gradually, the trailer gives out that the ghost has a back story of unrequited love from a bygone era. And her love interest — a man who sings really well — is played by the multi-talented Diljit Dosanjh, who is happy to be a part of this “different” story.

“This film’s story was very different. I am a singer in real life, but not the kind of singer that I play in the movie. It was wonderful to be in this film. Punjab is looking very beautiful in Phillauri,” Diljit said, when asked about the picturesque hinterlands of Punjab that the trailer gives a dekko at.

From the trailer, one cannot tell much about what leads Anushka’s character to become a ghost. But that was the whole idea, says the film’s director Anshai Lal, who is making his feature film debut.

Here is the trailer of ‘Phillauri’


Trailer For ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’ Released


The trailer for ‘ Badrinath Ki Dulhania’, one of the most awaited movies of this year starring Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt has now been released. The movie will hit the theatres in March. The ongoing promotions, the posters and the teaser featuring the lead pair have already created enough buzz for the movie ahead of the trailer launch. Written and directed by Shashank Khaitan, the movie has been produced by Hiroo Yash Johar, Karan Johar & Apoorva Mehta. Share your thoughts about the trailer? Tell us below in the comments section.

Movies To Make Big At The Box Office in 2017

By Deepti D.

Well, ‘Ok Jaanu’ with the so called ‘great’ version of Humma song has already been released and also flopped and so has the unconventional story and the title ‘Haramkhor’. So yes 2017 started on a bad note. But there are several movies lined up for this year which could make big at the box office. With ‘Raees’ and ‘Kaabil’ already out in theatres, a keen contest is going on between both the movies to rake in more moolah. Let’s see what all we have in store for 2017 and whether this year would fare better than 2016…


How can we not start 2017 with King Khan’s mega release…? Raees is one of the most awaited films of this year. Donning a typical Muslim look with ‘surma’ eyes , taaviz in the neck  and a stubble, SRK plays the role of a cruel and clever bootlegger who criticizes the prohibition of alcohol, prostitution and illegal drugs in Gujarat of the 1980’s. Also, starring Nawazzudin as the tough cop and the Pakistani beauty Mahira Khan, Raees has a gripping storyline which deserves the audience’s attention.


Sharing the same release date as Raees, Kaabil can be termed as Hrithik Roshan’s ‘comeback’ after the disastrous Mohen-jo-daro. Both the lead actors, Hrithik and Yami play visually impaired people and share amazing chemistry. The film is centred around Hrithik’s character who vows to avenge his wife’s rape and murder. Apart from the enthralling storyline, it’s the clash with Raees that is intriguing the audience and who would reign the box office.. so 26th January is the acid test D-Day !



A sequel to the previous movie with the same name, this is the first Akshay Kumar starrer of 2017. This courtroom comedy drama movie releasing in February stars Akshay Kumar as a clumsy lawyer who is representing the most crucial and critical case of his career. The earlier movie has Arshad Warsi who did a fabulous job, let’s see how the master of various emotions Mr Kumar pulls this off.



Kareena Kapoor is the common factor in Rangoon, no she is not starring in the movie, but the film stars her ex Shahid Kapoor and current hubby Saif Ali in the main roles. The movie slated for a February release is gripping love triangle against the backdrop of the 2nd World war. The girl in question is Kangana Ranaut who is looking as vintage as possible. Let’s see how the trio would fair at the box office… they all need a hit desperately.


The cute pair of Alia Bhat and Varun Dhawan pair in the March release is back. They star in thisromantic comedy which is the next instalment of their previous movie ‘Humpty Sharma ki Dulhania’ which was an instant hit because of its music and storyline. Let’s see what Mr Badrinath has to show us with regard to his dulhania this time


Vidya Balan is back after a hiatus in this historical drama film, an adaptation of a 2015 Bengali film where the story involves 11 prostitutes who refuse to let of their brothel and each other during the India Pakistan Partition era. With a unique story line, this movie should be a must watch for all people who want re live that era.


Amitabh Bachchan is back and how! His first release of 2017 is a sequel to the Sarkar series, an Indian political action crime thriller directed by Ram Gopal Varma and slated for a March release. Bosting of a pool of stars like Jackie Shroff, Manoj Bajpayee and Yami Gautam, this is a much awaited movie. Hope it lives up to its predecessors at the box office too.



Come April and we would see the release of the ex-couple Ranbir Kapoor and Katrina Kaif’s Jagga Jasoos. This movie which is a musical adventure romantic comedy is about 2 teenage detectives in search of the male lead’s missing father. Although the shooting for the movie started way back in 2013, still after many delays, this movie is seeing the light of the day… hopefully it should light up the box office too.


After the super success of Baahubali 1 comes its much-required sequel and is stated to release in April 2017. With its breath-taking visuals and stunts, this movie has to be seen for that one question boggling every audience’s mind ever since the 1st part released… why did Kattappa kill Baahubali?


Once again Chetan Bhagat’s novel is being made into a movie and this romantic comedy has Arjun Kapoor playing a Bihari boy and Shraddha Kapoor as the modern city girl in the leads. Let’s wait and watch whether this May release would be as successful as the original novel. Only time shall tell.


Coming up this June is alleged love birds Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon’s romantic movie Raabta. Starring a series of other actors, Raabta is a story on human complex relationships and love triangles. Hopefully the off-screen chemistry of the lead pair would be the highlight on screen too.


The blockbuster duo of Salman Khan and Kabir Khan are back after the super success of ‘Bajrangi Bhaisaab’ in 2015. Now after 2 years they are again ready to create magic on box office with ‘Tubelight’, a historical war drama set during the Indo- Sino War of 1962. The audience is already excited to watch the movie as Sallu Bhai would be romancing the Chinese actor Zhu Zhu for the first time in a Bollywood movie. Are we seeing another super duper hit?



And Sanjay Leela Bhansali is back with another historical drama Padmavati. Starring his favourites again, the love birds Ranveer Singh playing a negative role as Alauddin Khilji and Deepika as Queen Padmavati along with Shahid Kapur as Raja Rawal Ratan Singh, this magnum opus love triangle is slated for a Nov 2017 release.

The year 2017 is certainly going to be an interesting year with some fantastic movies with some awesome performances lined up. Let’s all gear up to see which movie and actors fight for the awards at the end. Till then Happy watching!



Top Ten Movies Of The Year


By Deepti D.

So, we are in the final hours of 2016… well, I don’t know about you people, but I feel that this year just went away in a split second, I mean just 12 months back we were welcoming 2016 and now in few hours we would be bidding it farewell. We would be welcoming 2017 with new hopes, new aspirations, new resolutions … that would be broken in the first week itself,new joys and new deadlines… phew! The list is endless.

It’s also the time when we would be bombarded with film awards and red carpet appearances of our stars, be it Stardust, Filmfare, IIFA where everyone is expecting an award or so. Slowly, all this would finish and what would be left would be our Friday releases, some of those which we would wait with bated breath and some, that we won’t even bother. But right now,it’s too early to talk about the releases of 2017, instead why don’t we go down memory lane and see the TOP 10 movies which made their mark in 2016 and are in queue for bagging all the awards. So, let the final journey for this year begin…….



2016 started with the Akshay Kumar starrer Airlift releasing in January. Based on a true story, where a Kuwait based Indian businessman becomes a saviour for the 1,70,000 stranded Indians during the 1990 invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Brilliantly acting by Kumar and Nimrat in lead roles, the highlight of the movie was its strong storyline which evoked patriotic feelings and the popular chartbuster’ Soch na Sake’ by Arijit Singh. The year had on a bang!


This February release also was a turning point in Sonam Kapoor’s career. The story revolved around the brave Neerja Bhanot, who sacrificed her life and protected 359 passengers on the ill-fatedhijacked Pan Am flight 73 in 1986. Portraying Neerja in the movie, Sonam got thumbs up from both the critics and the public and they agreed that she could act! Also, one should give applause to Shabana Azmi who showed that what a fine actress she is while playing the character of strong yet sensitive mother to Neerja.


March saw the release of Kapoor and Sons, a film which showed our modern Indian dysfunctional family and its effect on everyone. The two highlights of the movie were Rishi Kapoor who played a 90-year-old grandpa with a pervert mind and the hot-imported-from-Pak actor Fawad Khan who broke a million hearts by playing Gay! Why Fawad Why?? The story line was fun but made us think … is the family system in modern India really collapsing?


  • KI & KA

April Fool’s day was celebrated with the release a unique movie called Ki &Ka which showed the journey of a young married couple played by the older wife Kareena Kapoor Khan and the young husband by Arjun Kapoor who contradict the gender roles placed on men and women in the Indian society. Kareena played the successful business woman and Arjun the house husband. Progressive in nature, the film was successful owing to its unconvential story line and the lead pair.


Eid is incomplete if we don’t have a ‘Khan’ release and this time it was Salman Khan’s turn to take the box office by storm in this July release Sultan. Not playing his usual ‘dabang and bodyguard’ self, here Salman played a polite yet successful wrestler from Haryana whose career plays a rift with his personal life and how he makes a successful comeback. Giving him company was Anushka who also played a wrestler with the typical Haryanvi accent and some hit songs like ‘Baby ko Bass Pasand Hain’ and the melodious ‘Jag Ghomeya’ . This movie was the super-duper blockbuster of 2016 and it deserved that status.


6 months into the year, August saw the release of another Akshay Kumar movie Rustom. Based on the very famous Nanavati case, Akshay essays the role of the decorated naval officer who is accused of murdering his wife’s lover. Akshay played the character to perfection and the film was successful thanks to the story line, the case which had intrigued people for a long time plus the fabulous acting by the lead pairs.


  • PINK

No year is complete without a release of the superstar himself… yes, we are talking about BIG B.  Pink, a movie based on a social message had Mr Bachchan playing a retired lawyer who comes up in defence of three young women implicated in a crime. The basic crux of the story loudly stated that when a woman says NO it means a NO, whether she is a married or not, a young girl or a prostitute. It underlined the basic freedom of women to her own sexuality. The bold subject and an immensely brilliant performance by the actors made this film a sure shot hit.


This October Diwali release made headlines even before it was released thanks to the tension with our neighbouring country and since it starred dear Fawad Khan. The ultimate result being that the story which explored love in various shapes became a hit, thanks to the undue publicity and the intimate scenes between Ash and Ranbir. Although on the other hand Anushka’s acting was well appreciated, but finally all’s well that ends well.



When the posters of this movie came out, people were surprised to see the unconventional pair of SRK -Aalia. Soon the mystery was cleared when the movie released in November which showed Aalia as a budding cinematographer who finds comfort in life’s imperfections when she meets Jug, a psychologist played by SRK who changes her way of thinking. A simple movie, it touched the heart of millions and people came forward in open about their flaws and fears.


A perfect finish to 2016, Aamir Khan starrer Dangalis surely becoming the year’s biggest hit.

The movie based on the real life former wrestler Mahavir Phogat who trains his young daughters Geeta and Babita to follow his dreaming of winning a medal and becoming world class champions in wrestling. Aamir nails the character to perfection and the young girls have also shown their brilliant acting skills. The message of the film is very clear that Girls are no less than boys, it’s just hard work which pays off. While I am writing this, Dangal is going houseful in all shows.

2016 was indeed a year of many unconventional movies, breaking the old age stereotype formula of films and 2017 looks even more brighter for the industry. With films like Kaabil, Raees, Jolly LLB to name a few, the variety of subjects is growing day by day. Hoping for a good 2017, here’s wishing everyone a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!