Rating: * * *
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Sikander Kher, Vishakha Singh
Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Music: Sohail Sen
Producers: Ashutosh Gowariker Productions, PVR Pictures
Films based on the freedom movement have been a regular feature in Bollywood. Right from the black and white era (Shaheed, Anand Math, Haqeeqat) to the current decade (23rd March 1931 Shaheed, Legend Of Bhagat Singh, Mangal Pandey-The Rising) a number of films on the freedom struggle have hit the screen. Because of this very reason, Ashutosh Gowariker’s Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey becomes just a one-time-watch affair as it lacks the true patriotic fever like the number of patriotic films of the past.
The biggest achievement of KHJJS is that it tells the tale which is never told before in Indian cinema – the Chittagong (Chattogram) Uprising, a chapter lost in history. Surjya Sen aka Surjyo Da aka Master Da (Abhishek Bachchan) leads a group of revolutionaries to attack various British establishments in Chittagong. Kalpana Dutta (Deepika Padukone), Pritilata (Vishakha Singh) and a group of teenagers join hands with Surjya in his mission.
Gowariker once again shows that he is one of the masters of period dramas in Bollywood as he takes care of every minute detail while presenting Manini Chatterjee’s novel Do And Die on celluloid. He succeeds in creating the intenseness and at the same time getting top notch performances from every actor. However, he is hampered by a lengthy screenplay.
Art director Nitin Desai deserves plenty of applause for recreating the 1930s era with utmost perfection. He is aptly supported by Kiran Deohans’ artistic cinematography.
Although not one of his best performances, Abhishek Bachchan excels in the role of an unruffled and serious revolutionary Surjya Sen. He suits very well as the leader of the revolutionaries. Deepika Padukone plays the challenging role of Kalpana Dutta with maturity. She shows she can do well in serious de-glam roles as well. Sikander Kher leaves an impact mostly in the second half.
Samrat, Maninder and Firoz Wahid Khan make their presence felt with heroic and heart-warming performances. However, it’s the group of teenagers that move you by their determining and courageous efforts. In their acts, they don’t appear like teenagers at all.
Because of the minus points mentioned above, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey falls short of becoming an extra-ordinary effort although it deserves a watch because of the efforts taken to tell a story which is lost in history. At the box office, the film will struggle to succeed.