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The Legend of Bhagat Singh

Pravin Sitaram
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The Legend of Bhagat Singh

The hype and hoopla surrounding the several ventures on this great freedom fighter was intense.  Finally, the dust settled and there was really only one version that went anywhere with the masses.  This was the version of Rajkumar Santoshi, who has some excellent films to his credit, starring Ajay Devgan. 

  Apparently a lot of research went into the writing of the script and the credits thank the contribution of Bhagat Singh’s brother.  The movie is quite intense and a moving experience.  Parents are cautioned that the movie does get violent in parts.  The life of Bhagat Singh remains an enigma to many even after several years of independence.  Bhagat Singh was in his early twenties when he was hanged and the movie portrays the visionary Bhagat Singh was even at such a young age. 

  The Jalianwalla Bagh massacre deeply influenced him as a child, so much that this child plunged headlong in participating in Gandhiji’s call for non-co-operation.  Gandhiji’s then called off the Non-co-operation movement after the Chaurichura incident.  This action of Gandhi deeply hurt the young Bhagat.  This feeling of resentment almost instilled the ideology in Bhagat Singh that non-violence was not the appropriate path in obtaining India’s freedom.  The film painstakingly goes through the different influences in Bhagat Singh’s life, including his association with another freedom fighter Chandrashekar Azad. 

  To his credit, Rajkumar Santoshi has bought out the pain and suffering us Indians went through those trying times.  He has been able to successfully depict Bhagat Singh’s ideology and the visionary that he was.   The pain and suffering a family goes through has been shown very well.  The scenes between Bhagat Singh and his family are really touching.  His casting too, is excellent and every actor has truly lived his character.

  The cinematography and all other technical departments add life to the narrative.  A. R. Rahman’s music has a patriotic feel to it and the background music is particularly impressive.  The sore points, in my humble opinion were the inclusion of the romantic song and the distorted portrayal of Gandhiji.  The movie almost depicts Gandhiji as the villain and not the British.  I wish Santoshi had delved just a bit into why Gandhiji did the things he did at that time.

  Last but not the least, one cannot forget the performances.  Ajay Devgan in my opinion has given a performance of a life time.  He brings life and vigor into the character.  His fiery eyes portray the very essence of Bhagat Singh.  Kudos to Rajkumar Santoshi & his team for recreating a piece of history.  I think the movie would have fared much better at the turnstiles, if not for the over abundance of movies on the same subject. 

About the Author
Pravin Sitaram, an avid movie watcher hails from a family steeped in Carnatic traditions. He had his training under Sri P.S. Parameswaran, of the Palghat Mani Iyer school, in Mumbai. Over the years he has embellished concerts by local artistes and top visiting artistes from India with his expert mridangam accompaniment. Pravin has a Ph.D in polymer chemistry and resides in the Greater Boston Area.



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