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June 13th, 2002 - Ratheesh KrishnaVadhyar's Journal

June 13th, 2002

June 13th, 2002
05:40 pm

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The Legend of Bhagat Singh

Thousands of people might have sacrificed their lives in India's great independence movement. What was it that pushed all these people and made them face death fearlessly? Was it patriotism? The feeling of being oppressed and the urge to fight against injustice? Or was it just the romantic aspect of "dying for one's country" and the adventure of it? Probably it was a combination of all. Today, we may not be able to exactly visualize the mind set of people and the spirit in atmosphere that was present almost hundred years ago. But filmmakers are interested in encashing the feelings of people by making strong-colored movies based on leaders and incidents associated with India's freedom movement, and The Legend of Bhagat Singh directed by Rajkumar Santhoshi is the latest addition to the list of such movies.

Even though The Legend of Bhagat Singh is at places faithful to the usual Bollywood principles of making movies (like melodramatic dialogues, songs etc.), in general I felt it is a well made film. Rajkumar Santhoshi seemed to be in control in majority of the scenes, and there are many memorable sequences in the film. Ajay Devgan was excellent as Bhagat Singh. Other actors outwardly look similar to their corresponding historic figures, but they don't have anything great to do otherwise. KV Anand's photography was excellent, and AR Rehman's background music was good. The movie hints that Mahathma Gandhi could have "saved" Bhagat Singh from death sentence if he had strongly insisted with the British for that. I felt these kind of references should have been avoided.

A number of movies have been released based on Indian freedom fighters: Gandhi (a whale-like movie, narrated almost in documentary style, from the point of view of a liberal non-Indian), Sardar (quite a boring movie, worth watching to see Paresh Rawal's acting as Sardar Patel), Bharathi (an excellent Tamil movie, about the legendary poet of Tamil Nadu) - these are the few that I have seen so far. Interestingly, there is one more movie on Bhagat Singh, released on the same day as The Legend of Bhagat Singh.

Probably the best film sequence I have seen, that is in some way related to the freedom movement would be the critically acclaimed one in Atoor Gopalakrishnan's classic Malayalam movie Kathapurushan. Kunjunni, a small boy living in a remote Kerala village, hears about Gandhi's death, and he just starts crying. Then the scene shifts to people marching silently through the country roads and rice fields, with the intermittent "Dum" sound (of Chenda?) in the background. The impact of this sequence is outstanding.

Current Music: Pukar - Sunta Hai Mera Khuda

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