Bollywood’s attempt at a serious wartime romance is something of an ambitious misfire. Set in pre-independence India against the backdrop of the Second World War and Gandhi’s nonviolence movement, this is essentially a doomed love story. At the request of General Harding (Richard McCabe), married film director Rusi (Saif Ali Khan) sends his fearless swashbuckling heroine and mistress Julia (Kangana Ranault) to entertain the ‘British’ troops comprised mainly of Indian officers at the Indo-Burmese border.
Her assigned bodyguard is Nawab (Shahid Kapur), a secret member of the Indian National Army who believes that violence is the key to the end of colonialism. When Japanese troops ambush them, Nawab and Julia escape into the jungle where passions ignite. Will Julia dump Rusi for Nawab or will they always have Burma?
Director Vishal Bhardwaj, best known for his trilogy of Bollywood Shakespeare adaptations ‘Maqbool’, ‘Omkara’ and ‘Haider’, wants to say that life is about being true to yourself, your cause and ultimately your country. But this lengthy film never really follows that mantra. The result feels like two different films struggling to achieve two separate goals. Some violent set-action pieces and dance sequences are truly spectacular – Bhardwaj doubles as the music director with an effective background score. The performances are adequate, with the three beautiful leads enhancing what must be the best looking film of 2017 so far.