15 October 2012 | kaustavthegodfather
A courageous effort both off screen and on screen
Yes, the film is about the independence movement in the last stage. A stage where civil disobedience movement and "bharat choro andolan" has hit the high note. In it's backdrop Bedabarat Pain articulates together the lives of a few revolutionaries from eastern Bengal struggling for independence against a ruthless British empire.
Like all Indian independence related movies this one is also a 'biographic' way of showing the film.It is a genre cliché of all independence movies that heroism should prevail in order to ring bells of protest among the audience.
It's the main story of Jhunku alias Subhendu Roy a 14 year old teenager who influenced by the Master Surya Sen and troupe to join and fight for the cause of independence. Surya Sen, acts as his mentor for uprising preparing him mentally and keeping up the challenge of becoming a rebel by training him in akhadas (body building gyms of yonder days) and by giving proper training in armaments regiment in the dense jungles where police patrols are not prominent.In this process the story becomes a two-fold. The early part detailing the struggles of Master da Surya Sen, Nirmal Chandra Sen (both now consider great martyrs of the Indian Independence movement) Lokenath Baal, Anant Singh, Gonesh Ghosh, Sukhendu Chakraborty, Ahasanullah, Binob Behari and several others trying to capture the Chittagong regiment by by making a coup-de-tat on the Chittagong Arms cantonment and striking the European club so as to strike terror in the hearts of the colonialists.
The later part of the cinema shows the gruesome struggle of the leaders of members of the partisan group. The struggle is intermittently present through out, the second half shows that one required nerves of steel to stand up in those times. While attacking the arms forgery and police quarters to seize arms Surya Sen instructs his younger comrades to do only the needful and not make a bloodbath out of the enemy, but the same rule won't apply for them when are caught.
The real issue of the cinema was to highlight the point that one doesn't require a lot expertise militancy to overthrow a government following a coup-de-tat. Surya Sen and his fellow comrades had done that just a by a mere bunch of inexperienced locally trained under-aged guerrillas. Vietnam war was famous for using the guerrilla warfare techniques but I think our Vietnamese counterparts may have taken cue from our Indian Independence warfare struggles where the britishers were ambushed in the dense jungles and beaten despite having more artillery and man-power.
Speaking of execution I would praise it in a thematic level. The story line was well adept and it didn't go overboard to entail it. Overtly romanticism was avoided in order to make it less focused on individual lives and more on the nucleus of the struggle. Manoj Bajpai's portrayal of Surya sen was calm and cool leader was good. It was pro-physical archetype of depiction. Though there is a bit laughable sequence where Jhunku is shown reading a letter in Bengali but the pronunciation is in Hindi. It's hard to guess on whether it was a deliberate attempt or had the director forgot to edit that portion. Speaking of the camera-work it was very good and impressive. The color tone was rightly adjusted in this cinema. If one looks closely the camera focuses on from top and slowly coming down to reveal on the earthly matters going down. This could be seen as making a visualized suggestion of the endeavor being a noble effort above this mortal world.
The sound mixing is very poor and left me disappointed at moments. At times the speaker would crackle so loudly that it was having an electrical problem. Sounds from the background felt unreal and was a dubious dubbing effort.
All said but the real star of this film shall be Bedabrata Pain. Being an eminent scientist himself, he decided to make a film on shoe-string budget detailing the painful tasks taken by our freedom fighters against an empire. In a way the film reflects pain own painful task of directing,producing and marketing the film against a heartless and plastic bollywood cheap selling empire. In a way it deserves praise. In a way I hope he sticks around and makes another independent film which can amaze us.
I think every Indian irrespective of class and society should see this movie and also show it their children. Children often complain that history is boring, I am sure that after seeing Chittagong most children would gleefully go through their history books in order to know more about their leaders and the sacrifices they made for the motherland. Strangely this film was also dedicated to Pain's own child who died of an accident 2 years early.
I wish that independent films like these find more success and more audience so that the filmmakers would get rewarded for their honest efforts in good films to cater to the masses.