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CHITTAGONG - A different take on the subject earlier used by Ashutosh, which somehow generates the same impact. (Review By Bobby Sing)

18 Oct, 2012 | Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / C / Movie Reviews / 2012 Releases

Films made on important historical incidents or revolutions in a country leading to its ultimate independence are no doubt a worth praising effort by their makers. Its indeed a sincere and passionate decision to make a major film on such a subject in this present era of Star-worship and Marketing lead cinematic ventures, because in almost all the cases its pretty sure that the film is neither going to get a big audience nor its going to achieve the status of a ‘Big Commercial Hit’ for some obvious reasons.

The most honest among those obvious ones is that today after almost seven decades of our ‘earned’ independence, a whole generation has now changed supporting a new mind-set, wherein young viewers cannot really relate to this theme in the similar manner as people could in the 60s, 70s or even 80s. At present, unless they are given this realistic, patriotic theme in a sugar coated version like RANG DE BASANTI, they are not going to opt for it in its purest form and the film will surely remain interesting or compelling to watch only for a particular section of the audience who are really willing to know about that era or the past lived by their own ancestors.
So, I readily assume that whenever a director or a producer opts to make a film on this subject without any added flavours as such (in a pure realistic form), then they actually are pretty much aware of its commercial aspects and willing to make it only as per their inner creative urge of a responsible film-maker of their country or in order to make the present generation aware of some untold (regional) chapters of those tough times of the struggle (with probably some Govt. aid) and nothing else.

A few years back, Ashutosh Gowariker also chose the same subject for his movie “Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se” in which he majorly failed due to his faulty casting more than his own direction. Ashutosh tried to bring in some commercial value in the project by casting Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone in the lead which actually fell flat, resulting in a film standing in the mid-way. Thankfully, the mistake is not repeated by Bedabrata Pain in his Chittagong, which has the same story told from a different angle and is a better film too if compared to KHJJS in a broader sense. Yet, I seriously couldn’t understand why exactly the same subject was adapted by the director once again in such a short span of time of only 2 years?
Honestly, there can be only two reasons for this. One, either Chittagong was started much before KHJJS and it got caught in its own production process Or Bedabrata was not satisfied by the handling of this precious historical chapter of Bengal by Ashutosh in KHJJS and was confident enough of making a better movie himself, generating a hugely different impact on the audience than the earlier one.
However after watching it, the confusion around its re-making surfaced again in my mind, since it was not able to generate any kind of devastating impact in complete contrast with the one experienced before in the form of KHJJS.
Nevertheless, there can be no second opinion that Bedarbrata’s CHITTAGONG is surely a better version of the two where the incident is narrated by “Jhunku”, a participant of the revolt himself, giving you a first-hand experience of the brave & tragic chapter of 1930s. The film is executed well with some note-worthy cinematography, a fine background score, a well composed song “Bolo Na” and brilliant performances from the entire cast featuring Manoj Bajpayee, Delzad Hiwale, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Raj Kumar Yadav, Barry John, Vijay Varma, Sauraseni Maitra, Chaiti Ghosh and more. Though the proceedings become slow post intermission when the after effects of the heroic revolt are being shown. Still it successfully keeps your interest alive through some new viewpoints added towards the climax, which eventually help CHITTAGONG to become a different movie as compared to Ashutosh’s KHJJS in totality.
But at the same time, that doesn’t mean that KHJJS had nothing good in it justifying the important subject. On the contrary, there were certain scenes in CHITTAGONG where I strongly felt that KHJJS had something superior as mentioned below.
1. It was quite strange to see that where in KHJJS, the young school boys are chosen & used due to their own self confessed desire, fighting spirit & fearlessness, CHITTAGONG uses them just because they have white cards, which is not a negative feature associated with their existence in the British Empire (unlike the Red Card given to others).
2. Where in KHJJS, Ashutosh extensively shows you the selection, training and grooming of the young boys by their master in details, CHIITAGONG speeds up this important part by just showing them being trained in gun-shooting in few scenes only.
3. In KHJJS the attacks on 3 different spots are shown in great length and details, whereas in CHITTAGONG the detailing is missing, probably because it later has to tell a lot more about “Jhunku”, even after the hanging of Surjaya Sen (the end point of KHJJS). So where KHJJS focuses completely on giving the account of the zealous attacks made by the team on different key point of British operations, CHITTAGONG is majorly about these attacks plus its aftereffects years later.
4. Lastly, there is one thing which I respected the most in KHJJS, when they showed the original pictures of all the young boys and their leaders along with the pictures of actors enacting them on the screen in their end credits. In CHITTAGONG too there is short interview of “Jhunku” which deservingly gets a standing ovation in the theater. But truly speaking, the impact of watching those original pictures was much more in KHJJS.
On a concluding note, I am neither in favor of writing off Ashutosh’s attempt completely nor in favor of praising Bedabrata’s honest attempt whole heartedly. I deeply respect all the martyrs of this brave revolt of 1930s, have tremendous regards for the makers of both the films and salute their spirit behind their earnest efforts sincerely. But in support of my “feeling of dissatisfaction” from both these films, I would like to quote a paragraph from my review of KHELEIN HUM JEE JAAN SE again here, written two years back, which says,
What a common viewer wishes to feel when he is going to watch a film made on a historical event of Indian Independence? He undoubtedly wants to feel the action, smell the gun powder and would like to give a standing ovation clapping loud at the end of the movie feeling proud to be a citizen of the current world power, INDIA. That was the reason which converted RANG DE BASANTI, GADAR & LAGAAN into such big hits. Or on the other side, a film made on the Indian patriotic movement should be so sensitive and emotional that it should make every viewer in the theater go numb with wet eyes in the end as in SHAHEED & GARAM HAWA. Unfortunately, KHELEIN HUM JEE JAAN SE (and now CHITTAGONG) can neither be called a powerful uplifting movie nor as an emotional enriching experience made around freedom struggle of the country. The only good thing about the movie is that it thankfully makes us aware of an actual independence movement which somehow got lost in the other over famous incidents and sacrifices of the Indian Freedom Fighters and that’s all.”

In short, CHITTAGONG is a simple and straight forward portrayal of that unbelievable kind of chapter from our own Indian History. It mainly scores higher due to its rich execution and polished realistic performances from a well chosen talented cast. But I really wish it was more powerful infusing new life into our blood revisiting that historical event again. In its present version, the experience of watching CHITTAGONG is just like reading a simple enlightening biography of a calm soul, remembering his young days of a freedom fighter with a divine smile on his old face like “Jhunku”.
Rating : 3 / 5

(For a better understanding of the historical revolt, it is suggested that one should watch both the movies as mentioned in the review).
(Following is the link - For friends interested in reading the review of Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se)

Tags : Chittagong Movie Review, Chittagong Review, Chittagong Review By Bobby Sing, Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bollywood Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews By Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bollywood Movies Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com, Bobby Sing Bollywood Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Reviews, New Bollywood Movies Released, New Hindi Films Reviews, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By B
18 Oct 2012 / Comments ( 4 )
jithin mathew thomas

Dear Bobby,
I found your take on Rang de Basanti very different, however could not find your review of that film.
Could you please share a few words on the film.

Bobby Sing

Hi Jithin,
I started the site in the last months of 2007 so didnt write about the film in details as a complete review.
In those days I used to write only short notes on worth watching movies and the inspired films.
So following are the two posts talking about RANG DE BASANTI in only a few words.



Jithin Mathew thomas

Hi Bobby,
Chittagong and kHJJS were made around the same time and even about to be released at the same time. Anurag Kashyp accused Amitabh Bachan of involving himself and delaying the release of Chittagong to ensure the safe release of Jhjjs (there was a big war in twitter at that time). Recently AK apologized (prior to the release of chtgng) to AB sr. and invited their family to the premier of Chittagong.
If you are are following them on twitter ,you\'l see the tweets.

Bobby Sing

Thanks Jithin and that clears the air and I was right in thinking so.

However the fact remains that I actually felt the same (calm) after watching both the films which I dont expect from a film made on any event from the freedom struggle. While watching such film, I actually wish that the viewer should feel the passion while sitting on their seats and it should actually work like a Time Machine for the viewers transforming them into that era.

Anyway if Ashutosh started his version after knowing that CHITTAGONG was already being made at the same time then clearly there is no spirit of Country behind such acts.


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