Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is a book to movie adaptation by the gifted film-maker Ashutosh Gowariker. The film is based on the book 'Do And Die: The Chittagong Uprising 1930-34' by Manini Chatterjee. Once again Ashutosh Gowariker has returned to the forgotten era. And once again he has shown that this most definitely his forte, previously with Lagaan , Jodhaa Akbar, and now Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey. Speaking with Ashutosh Gowariker he spoke about the difficulties which arose whilst shooting this film and the most difficult hurdle by far was in re-creating the 1930s in Chittagong. Not only is this demanding and a lengthy process, but Gowariker sure convinces the audiences of the realities of the 1930s.
The film is set in the 1930s British India: In the province of undivided Bengal lies the sleepy, peaceful port of Chittagong. In this unassuming little town a revolution is about to begin; a revolution which will forever wake all of Chittagong and inspire the entire nation. The plot of the movie is based on a real incident...April 18. One night. Five simultaneous attacks. A band of 64 people; 56 innocent yet fearless young boys, five defiant revolutionaries, two determined young women, and an idealistic leader - Suriya Sen, a school teacher by profession.
This group of 64 represents a little-known chapter in history; a forgotten night that reigned terror on the British through a series of calculated attacks. Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is a true story of these forgotten heroes and the narrative takes us through every step of the action from the initial trepidation, to the thrill of the attack, to the underground movement, daring escapes and tragic captures, and most importantly, their undying legacy. The film has been shot in Goa and not in Chittagong as some may think, Despite not shooting in the original locations of the 1930 revolution; the film most certainly captures the feel and spirit of the youth in that era.
Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is embroidered with some beautifully soft instrumental pieces alongside two songs “Naiyn Tere” [Pamela Jain and Rajini Jose] and “Sapney Saloney” [Sohail Sen and Pamela Jain] hit a chord with me besides the patriotic number “Vande Mataram” [Revised Sanskrit To Hindi] by Cine Singers Association Chorus Group. The music was impactful in every scene and added to the screenplay.
Deepika Padukone discards her glamorous looks that we usually see her sport in films. For accepting a role like this so early on in her career, she should be commended. She lived up to the strong, determined and ambitious character of Kalpana Datta and brought her own elements in to the role. She looked stunning in simple sarees draped in a Bengali manner.
Sikander Kher who essays the role of Suriya Sen’s friend Nirmal Sen, left me with a lasting impression. He stood out in most of the scenes he was in. Kudos to Sikander for pulling off a supporting actor role so brilliantly. The rest of the supporting cast and comrades of Suriya Sen were played by Samrat Mukerji, Vishakha Singh, Maninder and Feroz Wahid Khan, each actor gave an honest and natural performance. I would not want to forget the teenage actors, some whose faces I did recognise from television serials. Each youth artist gave an honest performance; all of them looked the part, showed enthusiasm and charisma.
One must mention the production design by Nitin Desai and costume design by Neeta Lulla which proves to be very authentic and transports you to the 1930s era in India.
Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is truly an enlightening and enriching experience especially as this revolution was almost unheard of within our Indian history. It certainly evoked the Indian in me and brought me to tears in many scenes. The only flaw with the film (as with all Gowariker's films) is the length. It is approximately 2:50 hours long and there are parts that could have been condensed. It may not rake in the coins at the box office, but it’s by far one of this year’s epics and runaway success in terms of creativity. It is a film that needs to be encouraged and appreciated by all.