Ashutosh Gowarikar, a well known movie director and producer recently came up with ‘Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey’ (hereinafter KHJJS). The movie had almost everything, a decent lead actor who has inherited stardom and mass appeal, a beautiful lead actress who’s one of the best we have today, a genre which is not likely to fail or at least, miserably fail and last and most significantly, Gowarikar himself who has come up with two acclaimed period movies like ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Jodhaa Akbar’ besides, another critically acclaimed movie, ‘Swades’.
KHJJS was one of the most highly awaited movies of the year (at least for me, it was) not only because it was supposed to deal with the life and exploits of Surjya Sen(of whom I have heard from my grandparents on numerous occasions while growing up), an almost forgotten hero and martyr who gave his life for the freedom struggle of India, but also because it was a period movie by Gowarikar, my favorite (not that I have a lot of choice in Bollywood) in this genre.
The movie offers a promising start and gives every character an adequate space initially. The acting performances throughout the movie are decent, if not very good with Bachchan surpassing expectations again and Vishakha Singh being a new delight. The drama is adequate. The movie also offers enough thrill to make the audience to watch the entire movie. The best things about the movie are the costumes and the cinematography. Gowarikar has successfully been able to give the ‘pre-independence East Bengali’ touch to the movie through locations in Goa. If you want to appreciate the cinematographic aspects of a movie, then this might be the best movie of 2010 for you.
Nonetheless, in spite of every good thing about the movie, somethings seem to be totally amiss. Firstly, the movie fails to arouse nationalistic feelings, maybe because of too many characters and none being given enough space to be idolized. Secondly, the music is not very good on the ears with ‘Ye Des Hai Mera’ being the only song one can hear a coupe of times. Thirdly, for the type of story telling the movie intended, it seems to be very long. Finally, the movie was probably not advertised properly and missed the regular publicity which other movies get through reality shows and daily soaps besides other mediums. Another important factor is that there are probably, too many Bengali dialogues which non-Bengalis fail to decipher and Bengalis fail to appreciate because of the accent.
I do not want to discourage anybody who wants to go ahead and watch KHJJS ( I was disappointed only because I expect a lot out of Gowarikar everytime he makes a movie). It definitely deserves one watch because of the movie it is and because of Surjya Sen and his comrades who deserve to be remembered. I won’t be surprised if some of you have forgotten that small paragraph in your history book about Sen and the Chittagong uprising. Trust me, theres more to it than just that paragraph.