Only when passion takes over, can one decide to quit a job as a NASA scientist and become a Bollywood filmmaker. Bedabrata Pain's 'Chittagong' brings to life the historic characters that were long lost into the pages of the past. Kudos to Pain for making this movie a beautiful remembrance that celebrates his zeal for filmmaking, and not just a boring history lecture.
What's it about?
The movie throws light on the pre-independence uprising that shook the British empire to its core. Jhunku (Delzad Hiwale), a 14-year-old revolutionary narrates the saga of the Chittagong and Tebhaga uprising that hit the nail on the coffin of British rule. Masterda Surya Sen (Manoj Bajpai) along with Nirmal Sen (Nawazuddin Siddique), Loknath Bal (Rajkumar Yadav) and Pritilata Wadeddar (Vega Tamotia) plan to raid the police armoury to fight the foreign rule. With an army of just 50 teenage boys, the group creates havoc for the foreign rulers. Chittagong is the story of these valiant heroes that form a poignant chapter of the Indian revolutionary movement that uprooted the cruel Raj.
It is unjust to compare Pain's 'Chittagong' to Ashutosh Gowariker's multi-starrer 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se' which was based on the same plot. However, 'Chittagong' emerges as a clear winner because of the weightage it gives to the greater feeling called patriotism and not just mere characters. Every revolutionary shines with effortless acting and manages to tell the heroic tale. Manoj Vajpayee as Surya Sen is very subtle and hence lacks a bit of lustre. The romantic angle between Nawazuddin and Vega does not distract you from the actual plot and the director succeeds in not mixing romance with patriotism. Delzad Hiwale as the adolescent Jhunku is impressive and essays his character with finesse and simplicity. Vega Tamotia as Pritilata Wadeddar, who was India's first woman revolutionary to kill a British officer stands out for her graceful performance. Tamotia's sheen is noticed even in drab cotton sarees, and she is undoubtedly Bollywood's promising new discovery.
A still from the film
The movie displays breathtakingly beautiful locations captured by cinematographer Eric Zimmerman. The teak forests, hamlets add to the cinematic wonder. Pain's honest research is visible through the correct chronology of the events. The detailing too does not go unnoticed with apt costumes, newspapers, interiors of the old era. The only area where the film lacks is with the casting of the Britishers. Alex O'Neil as the ruthless police officer Johnson does not terrorise the audience like Lagaan's Captain Russell. Also the actor who plays the character of Captain Wellington fails to leave any impact.
The music by trio Shanka Ehsaan Loy compliments the plot. Lyrics by Prasoon Joshi invoke the feeling of patriotism into the listener.
What to do?
Definitely watch this heroic story of revolutionaries who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Cherish the forgotten history.
in.com rating: 3/5
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