Ah, Rangoon! Flop of the century in India, it nearly destroyed the careers of everyone involved. It’s leaving Netflix? Good riddance!
Actually, here at Audere Magazine, we recommend you take a look.
Directed and co-written by Vishal Bhardwaj, Rangoon was the second flop in a row for India’s sweetheart Kangana Ranaut, and analysts predicted that the film’s catastrophic critical and box office performance might spell the death of production company Viacom 18 Motion Pictures.
Rangoon was a historical romance/action/musical/comedy-tragedy, with a healthy dose of political polemics, about a fictional 1940s movie star in India who is radicalized to join the Indian National Army during her time entertaining the troops on the border of Burma.
It was critically reviled (in spite of some contrarian praise) and sank quickly at the box office, “under its own ambitions,” one writer sniffed. Too much stuff in it, the critics said. It holds a 5.6 rating on IMDB.
But truth be told, it is spectacular. Great singing and dancing, a heart-tugging romance at the center of it all, it will educate you about a little-known chapter in India’s independence movement, and the action scenes are terrific throwbacks to classic movie thrillers. Even when it’s ridiculous, it’s never less than fabulous. And it will make you cry.
Wrote Simon Abrams on RogerEbert.com:
“Indian melodrama Rangoon somehow manages to be emotionally resonant despite being overstuffed. This is no small feat given how many different genres, tones, and characters this film juggles. Rangoon is, among other things, a politically naive WWII drama, an infectious putting-on-a-show musical (complete with accomplished song and dance numbers), and a soapy menage-a-trois romance between an actress, a director and a soldier. It is immodestly scaled and frequently implausible but manages to be far greater than the sum of its parts. Rangoon is also that rare Indian film I can recommend to anyone who isn’t necessarily already interested in Bollywood or Hindi-language cinema — despite its myriad little flaws, it’s a charming crowd pleaser.”
Exactly. Don’t listen to the nay-sayers. Rangoon is a classic, that rare flop destined to be heralded for decades to come. And if you start telling the truth about it now, you will look so prescient in 2038, when it is reconsidered, restored and acclaimed.
Rangoon leaves Netflix May 28. Watch it here. But you’d better hurry!