Star cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Sikander Kher, Vishakha Singh.
Plot: Set in 1930-34, when India was struggling for freedom from the British Raj, it is about a less-known chapter from history books. The film is about the Chittagong Uprising. Abhishek forms his own small army in Chittagong and launches a simultaneous attack on five different strongholds of the Britishers in Chittagong.
What’s Good: Nothing really, except, perhaps, the cinematography.
What’s Bad: The script; the performances; the dull drama; the music.
Verdict: Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is an unmitigated disaster.
Loo break: Several.
PVR Pictures and Ashutosh Gowariker Productions’ Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey (UA) is a historical. Based on Manini Chatterjee’s novel, Do And Die: The Chittagong Uprising 1930-34, it deals with one small part of India’s long battle for freedom from the British Raj. More particularly, it talks about the lesser-known Uprising which took place from 1930-34 in Chittagong.
Surjya Sen (Abhishek Bachchan) is a school teacher who, driven by the passion to set India free from the clutches of the Britishers in 1930, forms his own mini army com- prising friends, some of his own students and young local boys in their teens. His army also has two female members – Kalpana Dutta (Deepika Padukone) and Pritilata (Vishakha Singh). While Kalpana soon develops a soft corner for Surj- ya, Pritilata is already in love with NirmalSen (Sikander Kher), one of the best friends of Surjya and also a pillar of the mini army.
Besides Nirmal Sen, the other friends of Surjya Sen are Anant Singh (Maninder Singh), Ambika Chakraborty (Shreyas Pandit), Ganesh Ghosh (Samrat Mukherjee) and Lokenath Bal (Feroz Wahid Khan).
Under the leadership of Surjya Sen, the freedom fighters in the Chittagong province of undivided Bengal are planning a revolution that would go on to inspire the entire nation. The group plans five simultaneous attacks on one night, taking the unsuspecting Britishers by surprise. Many of the members of the young group lose their lives in the freedom struggle but it leaves an indelible mark in the minds of the whole nation.
Script and Screenplay
First things first. The chapter on the Chittagong Uprising in the history of India’s freedom struggle is not so well-known that the audience would want to watch a film based on it. If the primary aim of a film were to educate the audience, the film would be lapped up by them. But the main aim of a film, especially in today’s times, is to entertain, and the drama is anything but entertaining. In other words, Manini Chatterjee’s novel should never have been made the subject matter of a film.
Raoul V. Randolf and Ashutosh Gowariker’s screenplay, unfortunately, has no highs whatsoever. The drama proceeds like in a documentary, devoid of excitement and entertainment. A film on the freedom struggle, which this is, ought to have a high dose of patriotism but it wouldn’t be wrong to say that in this film, that’s almost completely missing! Even the high energy level one associates with a film on patriotism, is absent. In fact, the drama proceeds so half-heartedly that it rarely evokes a feeling of love for the country, in the minds of the viewers. One more reason for this is probably because the writers have hardly cared to show the atrocities perpetrated by the Englishmen on Indians. They, probably, assumed that the audience would be aware of the same but the assumption proves detrimental to the commercial value of the film because, in the absence of the excesses of the Britishers on screen, the viewer doesn’t get charged enough to experience a rush of patriotism within himself.
Yet another drawback of the screenplay is that the incidents unfold on the screen in a mechanical manner so that everything looks like a drama rather than real. Even the key characters of the film aren’t established properly because of which the audience’s sympathy rarely goes to them.
Dialogues (by Vijay Maurya), which should have been clapworthy and the film’s mainstay, are too ordinary for a film of this genre.
All in all, the script is lacklustre and devoid of the patriotic flavour so necessary for a film of this genre.
If the script is weak, the acting is also nothing to shout about. Abhishek Bachchan does an ordinary job and seems far from charged enough to play revolutionary Surjya Sen. Deepika Padukone doesn’t seem to fit into the role of Kalpana Dutta. Her acting is fair. Sikander Kher tries hard but the effort shows at places; in some scenes, though, he is good. All the three aforementioned actors seem to lack the fire to play revolutionaries and have enacted their roles like they would any other role of today’s youngsters. Vishakha Singh has her moments; she has an expressive face and equally expressive eyes. Maninder Singh,Shreyas Pandit, Samrat Mukherjee and Feroz Wahid Khan lend reasonable support and each one has a couple of scenes in which he leaves his mark. Amin Gazi, Rohan Painter, Smit Seth, Palash Muchhal, Nitin Prabhat, Narendra Bindra, Paarth Mandal, Mohsin Khan, Aamir Khan, Abbas Khandwawala, Shubham Patekar, Gaurav Sethi, Aakash Joshi, Vikramjeet Virk, Jan Bostock, Monty Munford, Francis Mathew, Paul Gatward, John Tassi, John Pollard, Robert Drury and the others lend fair support.
Ashutosh Gowariker’s direction doesn’t add much to the weak script. The filmmaker doesn’t seem to be in form. Sohail Sen’s music is a terrible letdown. The songs are far from inspiring, which was the need of the drama. Lyrics (Javed Akhtar) are so-so. Cinematography (Kiran Deohans and Seetha Sandhiri) is very nice. RaviDewan’s action is commonplace.Editing (DilipDeo) should’ve been far more tight. Sets (Nitin Chandrakant Desai) are good. Technical and production values are alright.
On the whole, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey will meet with a disastrous fate at the box-office. It has opened to dull houses and it has nothing to warrant a pick-up.