Viceroy’s House has so far received lukewarm reviews.
VICEROY’S HOUSE Starring: Hugh Bonneville, Manish Dayal, Gillian Anderson, Om Puri and Huma Qureshi Director: Gurinder Chadha
THE latest film from British director Gurinder Chadha is a partition-set drama in the weeks leading up to India and Pakistan being divided under the watchful eye of the last Viceroy.
While the Viceroy is trying his best to stop the split and then to make it a peaceful one, we get a glimpse of peripheral people affected by the events ranging from two lovers being torn apart to leaders on a mission to divide the nations.
What had the potential to be an eye-opening chapter of history is let down by a tired screenplay weighed down with too many clichés.
Most of the characters just aren’t believable and much of the talented cast, including the late Om Puri, just seem to be going through the motions. On the flipside, Huma Qureshi shines brightly, there are eye-catching costumes, solid music from AR Rahman and the last 10 minutes has some genuine emotion.
Chadha’s heart was in the right place with Viceroy’s House, but it doesn’t reach its potential and will be seen as a wasted opportunity. It comes across as a boring history lesson and would have been better served as a TV drama. Watch it with lowered expectations.
2.5 out of 5.
RANGOON Starring: Kangana Ranaut, Shahid Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
THE latest film from big-thinking director Vishal Bhardwaj is a World War 2-set drama of love, honour, jealousy, conflict and the freedom struggle of India.
At the heart of the story is a movie star-turned-producer (Saif Ali Khan), his mistress, who is a famous actress (Kangana Ranaut), and a soldier on the frontline (Shahid Kapoor) whom she falls for. All three are hiding secrets of their own.
The multi-layered concept, performances and cinematography are great in the ambitious drama, but what prevents it from reaching its undeniable potential is the super-long running time. Instead of telling a clean, crisp story, Bhardwaj delivers an overly long drama that is too self-indulgent and doesn’t keep the audience fully engaged.
What prevents the slow-moving drama from sinking is first rate performances from an engaging cast. In fact he could have just made a rip-roaring film revolving around the stunt actress played by Kangana and it would have been far better viewing.
Ultimately, Rangoon will most appeal to die-hard fans of the lead cast, but even they will need a lot of patience and perhaps even a packed lunch to make it to the end of this overly long marathon with the drawn-out ending.