RP13: Violence, drug use, and content that may disturb
This page outlines how the classification criteria were applied. We do our best to discuss the content while avoiding spoilers, but please avoid reading this information if you do not want to learn anything about the content of this movie.
Date registered: 22/02/2017
Rangoon is a lavish historical Bollywood drama set in 1943 during the closing years of World War II.
It centres on Julia, a young actress and performer, and soldier Nawab Malik, who become involved in the Indian struggle for independence. Julia is forced to travel to the front line of the Indo-Burmese border in order to boost soldiers’ morale, but her convoy is attacked along the way and she becomes lost in the jungle. Nawab finds her and helps her through the jungle, and during this time they fall in love.
The film contains several depictions of opium smoking. Nawab is rewarded for protecting Julia in the jungle with a bag of opium, which he shares with Zulfi, Julia’s costumier. The opium helps him relax, and is presented as a normal pastime which is common among people in his circle and those in the military.
One of the strongest scenes is the opening battle sequence depicting Indian and Japanese soldiers fighting at close quarters. The men use rifle bayonets and machetes to hack and stab one another. One man is impaled on the end of a bayonet and then shot. Several men die in explosions after running over grenades. In a later scene a boat load of spies are blown up by a rocket – the boat disappears in the explosion without any focus on injuries. This scene leads into the capture of a woman who has secretly been working for the INA. The British General wants her to name her co-conspirators, and threatens her young son at gun point. She is eventually shot in the head in front of her son.
A classification of RP13 means the film is restricted to people aged 13 and over unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. A guardian is considered to be a responsible adult (18 years and over), such as a family member or teacher who can provide guidance.
While its scenes of war violence and cruelty, in particular the scene of a mother and child being threatened at gun point, are likely to be shocking and frightening to young children, these depictions reflect a certain reality. Parents and guardians will be able to explain this relevance to their children and appropriately contextualise this material for them. The small amount of opium use is also able to be viewed in this context and is unlikely to be read as promotional of drug use in a wider sense. Also considered was the film’s artistic, cultural and historic value as an entertaining saga based on the struggle for Indian independence.
Contact the Information Unit if you require further information on a classification decision.