We are certainly citizens of the 21st century and may have wanted to pay a trip down the lanes of history at some point in time in our lives. And what better than having a time machine on celluloid that can take you to the world of our brave Indian revolutionaries, who did what none of us can even think of doing in our lifetime.
Based on real life characters and events, ‘Chittagong’ directed by NASA scientist and debutant filmmaker Bedabrata Pain is one specimen of patriotism personified piece of art woven intricately by fine nuances of film-making.
The story revolves round the life of Jhunku Roy (Delzad Hiwale ), a 14 year old lad born and raised into an anglicized Bengali family. His father, a loyal follower of the British, dreams of sending his son to the Oxford and see him becoming a barrister. But Jhunku has other plans.
Jhunku’s inspiration and guide, Master Da alias Surya Sen (Manoj Bajpayee), leads a group of young revolutionaries, which has most of its members under the age of 18. Jhunku wishes to follow in the footsteps of Surya Sen and secretly gets trained under his leadership. Along with Masterda are Nirmal Sen (Nawazuddin Siddique),Pritilata Waddedar (Vega Tamotia) and several other spirited revolutionaries who wish to lay down their lives for their motherland.
Surya Sen and his scarcely equipped army of 50 krantikaris are successful in forcing the tyrant British force in retreating during an operation and Wilkinson (Barry John), the district magistrate is left unanswerable to his bosses in Calcutta for the defeat at the hands of an untrained army. However, Sen’s army that consists of a handful of members loses few of its patriots in the barter of cartridges.
Post the minute yet significant success, Jhunku (now back to his family) is arrested by the British forces and sent to the Andaman Jail. And after having spent 7 years in prison, Jhunku returns to his village only to meet with a certain truth.
Manoj Bajpayee as the lion-hearted Surya Sen will stun you with his impeccable performance. He will make you relive the times when inhuman treatment was meted out to Indian revolutionaries during the British Raj. Nawazuddin Siddique will make you wonder if he is the same blood thirsty goonda of ‘Gangs of Wasseypur. Delzad Hiwale as the 14 year old Jhunku is outstanding and so is Vijay Varma (grown up Jhunku).Vega Tamotia as Pritilata will inspire all the women to have a rendezvous with their nationalistic side.
As a co-producer, Anurag Kashyap has pulled of a stunner that will leave you teary eyed and wonder if you really want to exist in the now “globalised” India.
The trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy has been brilliant with their compositions that will help you connect with the typically melodious Bengali music. Eric Zimmerman brings alive the beautiful locales on celluloid with his stupendous cinematography and Aldo Velasco has done a fine job with his editing. The misc-en-scene is perfect and so are the costumes of this period film.
Spare sometime this weekend to awaken your national conscience and remember all those martyrs who have helped us live the lives we are living today.
In totality, ‘Chittagong’ is a must watch for all those, who love their country.
Ratings: Five cheers to this one