• 25th July 2011
    Some freedom stories are just never told. Such is the case with that The Uprising of Chittagong. As Indians, we are told of the obvious ones: Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and so on. Unfortunately, we are only told the ones which make news and not ones that remain untold. Revolutionists in India are many and wide. Realizing this very fact, Ashutosh Gowariker decided that it was up to him to tell the story of The Chittagong Uprising which is based on the popular book Do and Die: The Chittagong Uprising 1930 – 1934. The film saw the likes of Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and Sikander Kher all get together and play revolutionists who are out to gain freedom from the British. Evidently, Gowariker is the director of Lagaan; one of India’s most prevalent period and freedom films. Will Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey be the next the Lagaan?

    Surjya Sen (Abhishek Bachchan) is not your usual school teacher; he is also a revolutionist who is done with following Gandhi’s non-violent stance. Upon completing his one year pact to the Father of the Nation, Surjya is ready to use alternate tactics to rid the British in Chittagong. He rallies up a bunch of young teenagers including Nirmal Sen (Sikander Kher) and Kalpana Datta (Deepika Padukone) whom he trains to fight as they get ready to strike against the British. On April 18th 1930, 64 trained persons strike major parts of Chittagong and in five prominent areas including the train station, the telegraph office and police station. They manage to achieve what they set out to do but are eventually caught and killed at the hands of the British.

    I’m a sucker for patriotic films so for me Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is yet another untold small story that needed to be told. However, it doesn’t possess the magnetism factor it could essentially possess. While it is a story that is virtually untold (full props to Ashutosh Gowarikar), it doesn’t allow you to fully feel the patriotism which previous successful such films have done. It is evident that the director has spent immense time ensuring the film is as authentic as it could be. Everything from the dialogues to the set and even the costumes could easily be spot on and thus, the film is really worth a watch. There are hardly any scenes which make you shed a tear or attack the Indian sentiment which is really essential with such a film. And what’s worst is the nonstop clichés in the film. These could have easily been avoided.

    But what really doesn’t work for the film is Abhishek Bachchan’s enactment of Surjya Sen. The actor just doesn’t hit the mark this time unfortunately. His Bengali dialect is off completely along with the patriotic passion which is missing from his performance. One can understand his need to underplay the character but in this case, the zeal required for such a role was just not there this time. It’s incredibly sad especially since KHJJS needed a performance that was strong and effective. Ultimately, this brings down the film. His on-the-sly romance with Deepika too was unnecessary in the film. They lack any romantic connection and individually, Deepika doesn’t fit the bill of Kalpana Datta. Her performance is incredibly average. Sikander Kher is a revelation however. The actor manages to really shine with KHJJS. The rest of the cast manage to bring a sense of excitement to the film and are the real reason to watch Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey.

    After making films like Lagaan and Swades; films which depict love for the country, it is sad that Ashutosh Gowariker couldn’t cut it with Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey. The film holds such power and could have easily been the cult film of the year. Such shame since it is a story that needed to be told. Definitely not comparable to Lagaan but worth a watch for the patriotic factor.
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