Tips Films' THE LEGEND OF BHAGAT SINGH, directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, is the story of the freedom fighter who sacrificed his life for the country.
March 23, 1931.
In the dead of the night, three bodies are smuggled out of Lahore Central Jail via the back gate. They are taken to an isolated place and surreptitiously cremated by British officers. The next day this incident creates a national uproar throughout India.
Who was this man who struck such fear in the powerful Britishers? He was Shaheed Bhagat Singh.
The film takes us on a riveting journey of Shaheed Bhagat Singh's remarkable life Ã¯Â¿Â½
* His searing anguish as a 12-year-old at the horrific Jallainwala Baug massacre.
* His whole-hearted participation in Mahatma Gandhiji's non-cooperation movement of 1921.
* His disillusionment after Mahatma Gandhiji called the non-cooperation movement off.
* His obsessive search as a teenager for a strategy that would free his country from the inhuman yoke of British ruleÃ¯Â¿Â½
Recreating history is a difficult task. And to record the life of the freedom fighter, on whom several films are being made simultaneously, places every film under a microscopic view.
The story of Shaheed Bhagat Singh is not new for Indians. But the chronology of events Ã¯Â¿Â½ from his childhood to his last breath Ã¯Â¿Â½ have been presented magnificently in T.L.O.B.S.
The outcome Ã¯Â¿Â½ an exhaustive and informative reference guide on the life of the great freedom fighter. The film comes across a winner in practically every department of film-making.
The very beginning of the film arrests your attention instantly. The bodies of the three freedom fighters being smuggled out of jail and the subsequent uproar when Mahatma Gandhiji visits Lahore, transports you to an era which most of us haven't seen.
Thereafter, the flashback Ã¯Â¿Â½ the reasons that compelled a young impressionable mind to raise his voice against the British Ã¯Â¿Â½ have been spelled out convincingly. One couldn't have thought for a better way to unfold the story!
T.L.O.B.S. abounds in moments that remain etched in your memory even after the screening has ended Ã¯Â¿Â½
* The Jallianwala Baug massacre in the first reel itself;
* The assassination of Saunders by Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Rajguru;
* Shaheed Bhagat Singh going on a hunger strike to protest against the food and living conditions of prisoners;
* The courtroom sequences in the second half;
* The judge pronouncing the verdict in a near-empty court;
* The heart-rending climax.
Director Rajkumar Santoshi scores on several accounts Ã¯Â¿Â½
* One, the storytelling is simple, but effective. Facts have been presented in the most simplistic manner so that the common viewer can comprehend with no trouble.
* Two, the pre-independence era has been captured minutely on celluloid. The look is perfect and the viewer is compelled to believe that he is part of the proceedings.
* Three, the freedom fighter has been projected as a true hero in the film, justifying the title 'The Legend'.
* Four, without distorting facts, the film gives a brilliant account of the freedom fighter's life and his passion for the country.
Directorially, Santoshi's master strokes are visible at several places. Besides handling the film with utmost care, the maker has seen to it that the casting as well as the performances is befitting a film of this magnitude. Even the ending is splendid. This is undoubtedly his finest attempt.
Another person who deserves full marks is writer Anjum Rajabali. Scripting the life of a legend was a tough task. And the screenplay unfolds smoothly Ã¯Â¿Â½ dissolving from one scene to another slickly. There're no sudden jumps in the plot, nor does the film turn out to be a mere documentary. The dialogues (Piyush Mishra, Ranjeet Kapoor, Rajkumar Santoshi) are natural. And those against the Britishers are sure to be received with a thunderous applause in India.
A.R. Rahman's music gels well with the mood of the film. The film has a couple of hummable tunes Ã¯Â¿Â½ 'Mera Rang De' and 'Pagdi Sambhal Jatta' Ã¯Â¿Â½ are the pick of the lot. The background music meets international standards of quality.
K.V. Anand's cinematography is first-rate. The pre-independence era and the overall look have been captured on celluloid with detail. Costumes (Bhavna Mukhatiwala) are just right. Action scenes are well executed.
Ajay Devgan has lived the role. To state that he is excellent would be an understatement. His performance is bound to win admiration from cinegoers, besides fetching awards.
Sushant Singh (as Sukhdev) excels. He matches Ajay at every step. Akhilendra Mishra (as Chandrashekhar Azad) makes a strong impact. D. Santosh (as Rajguru) is fantastic. Raj Babbar does well. Farida Jalal gets ample scope to display histronics and she succeeds. Amrita Rao is alright.
On the whole, THE LEGEND OF BHAGAT SINGH is a winner all the way. From the box-office point of view, there's no denying that the clash of the two films on the life of Shaheed Bhagat Singh may cut into each other's business, but eventually, T.L.O.B.S. has all it takes to enjoy a successful run at the turnstiles. A must see!