Sunday, December 5, 2010

Review of 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey'

Now onwards, please read it as KHJJS.

There are two prominent ways period movie based on real incidents works with audience. One, if you have a captivating script and make it in an EPIC scale (e.g. Lagaan, Legend of Bhagat Singh, Jodha Akbar, Gadar,Border etc) and two make it as a PURE documentary with no-frills (e.g Blood Diamond) . Although there are not much 'Hindi' examples in this category, but looking into documentaries like 'Peepli-live' which have done extremely well in box-office, I dont see any logic that says same would not be applicable to period-films . But surely enough, if you are lost somewhere in between, then the result will be something as disappointing as 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey'

Yes, disappointing because the 'Rahman-like' music of 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey' (by Sohail Sen)deserved a better foreground. The die-hard fans of such epics as Lagaan and Jodha Akbar deserved better screenplay. From a director who has time and again justified his ability to paint using patriotic colors (Lagaan and Swades), here is a school-play that even mayn't inspire school children or teenagers.

I sincerely appreciate (and admire) Ashutosh for his idea/objective of making 'Chittagong Uprising' 'THE Chittagong Uprising of 1930' by motion-pictuRISING 'Do and Die' : a book written by Manini Chatterjee. The story of our freedom fighters need to be told/retold however small they may be as we should never forget the pain, suffering, difficult times and hardship through which our fighters and revolutionists went to achieve what they dreamt yesterday and we enjoy today : THE FREEDOM. And hats off to these genre of directors who continue telling such inspiring stories. But given the motive and background of this movement, a much better option would have been to make a documentary by retaining the original set-up that could have gone well with an ALL-BENGALI cast and original language (Bengali) (with a Hindi/English sub-titling). What's more, a close look on the screenplay, reveals that the first half has taken the shape, although unintentionally, of a play with unusually small scenes (Remember : 'Gandhi, My Father') and dramatic dialogue delivery . This could have been easily avoided.

Strangely enough, Abhishek Bachchan as Surjya Sen is miscast. His character was supposed to be THE Protagonist of KHJJS, THE leader of Indian Republic Army, THE mastermind behind 'Chittagong Uprising', THE driver of the 'Do-and-die' movement. Instead he lacks leadership, he lacks attitude and more importantly, a single heroic-scene which will inspire generations not to mention the audience. The legendary war cry 'Inquilaab Zindabaad' has been (badly) given the form of an unknown 'Kranti Amar Rahe' which fails to excite the audience. There is no mention of the dare-devil attitude of the beginner of "Do-and-die' ( sometimes Surjya seems unsure of the 'Die' part). Adding to this woe, the much admired music has been grossly misused. Not only the awe-inspiring songs like 'Vande Mataram' and 'Yeh Desh Hai mera' have been moderately picturised, but also they have been made to start abruptly and fade away in the background even before half of their lengths. Sadly, its difficult to imagine this from a director who has been known for his understanding of importance of music , from a music-lover who has been much acclaimed for his grand creations like the song 'Marhawa (from movie Jodha Akbar)' . The only motivating (if not captivating because of its clear resemblance with 'Chale Chalo' of Lagaan) song is the title track.

And its high time for Ashutosh to try 'purity' . 'Jodhaa Akbar' worked in spite of all controversies because it was after all about the romance not the war. Ashutosh somehow fails to understand that the story of Chittagong uprising is just the opposite. It can never be in his hardest of attempts be a story of Surjya -Kalpana or Ambika-Pritilata romance. In this movie, the more he tries a romantic sub-plot/scene, the more the original-war-based-plot fails. The story should have been only about war and never about the 'no-evidence-yet' romances .

Far from expectation, the movie actually belongs to the characters played by Ganesh Ghosh, Lokenath Baul, Nirmal Sen, Ambika Chakrobarty, Naresh Roy, Sasanka Datta, Ardhendu Dastidar, Harigopal Bal, Tarakeswar Dastidar, Ananta Singh, Jiban Ghoshal, Anand Gupta and Pritilata Waddedar, who have their moments through execution of the planned attack which constitutes core of this plot. Feroz Wahid Khan as Loknath Bal is brilliant and manages to tickle funny bones in the disguise of British Officer. Samrat Mukherjee as Ganesh Ghosh is (pleasantly enough) to be the only true Bengali among the lead roles and impresses everyone through his role as a trainer for 'the army of teenagers' . Anant Singh played by Mahinder Singh is brave enough to press the trigger in front of armed policemen. And as a pleasant surprise, the real entertainers are the teenagers who have given a wonderful performance through their innocence, simplicity , humble, fear for death, anger for the British Raj, their demand for 'freedom to play football' and above all the passion to be a part of Revolution. Be it their sheer innocent discussions on 'What does the war cry Vande Mataram' actually mean' or a young rebel's assassination of SP ( a British) after cleverly reaching him defending a football, its these minors who make the movie worth the watch.

Art Direction and Cinematography as expected are praise-worthy. Undoubtedly, Ashutosh once again gets distinction for detailing and successfully recreating the pre-independence era.

Although most of the audience like me would have skipped 'What's your Rashee ?' (looking at the casting alone : Harman Baweja - A wanna-be Hrithik Duplicate and Priyanka Chopra - as if 'Lovestory 2050' was not enough), but after watching 'KHJJS' , one would surely like to know about the success of KHJJS/AGPPL (for starters, that's Ashutosh Gowarikar Productions Pvt Ltd) and uncontrollably ask Ashutosh 'What's your Raashee ?' :-)

Overall Rating : *** (3 Star)


  1. Good technical descriptions...

  2. excellent piece of writing...bhai tu TOI main daal apne kidding...

  3. awesome analysis....great job....pointed out the flaws to the point and precisely !!!