Movies today has become a costly affair not only for the makers but also for the viewers. An average middle class person has to spend a minimum of Rs.1500/- if he has to take his family for a movie these days which includes the multiplex ticket fares as well as the popcorn-cola expenses and commuting fares. If someone has to spend such huge amount for a day of entertainment for him and his family then better the movie be worth the money being spent by him. Few days back I had heard Abhishek Bachchan professing the same sentiments that I have put forth on a leading TV channel while promoting his latest movie ‘Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey’. Alas these were mere words for him and the adage ‘Practice what you preach’ seems to be suggested to him and the director Ashutosh Gowarikar.
‘Jeelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey’ is the latest offering from Ashutosh Gowarikar who tries to take us back in history and narrate a story less heard off and read about even in our school history books. JHJJS is based on a book ‘Do and Die’ by Manini Chatterjee inspired from the Chittagong Uprising that took place in 1930. The movie narrates the story of Surjya Sen (Abhishek Bachchan) a school teacher, spearheading a revolt with the help of his five comrades (Sikander Kher, Samrat Mukherjee, Feroz Wahid Khan, Shreyas Pandit, Maninder Singh), two feisty women (Deepika Padukone and Vishakha Singh), and 56 teenagers on the night of April 18, 1930 in Chottogram (Chittagong).
But their plan to take on the cantonment, destroy the telegraph office, cut off the rail link, confiscate the armoury and take the firangis hostage goes haywire for several reasons. Coming under retaliatory attack, the band of 62 flees into the jungles of Jalalabad where many of them are massacred by the British. One by one all the revolutionaries on the run are either gunned down or arrested and thereby ‘transported for life’ or sent to the gallows. The story is short but the director stretches the same into a 3 hour affair and so the movie seems to move ahead slowly and at times it becomes boring.
Coming to the performances, Abhishek Bachchan has done a fantastic job and so does Deepika who has donned the role of Kalpana Dutta and she even gets a chance to showcase her badminton skills in a small sequence in the movie. Rest of the cast like Sikander Kher, Vishakha Singh, Maninder Singh, Shreyas Pandit and Feroz Wahid Khan leave an impression on the minds of the viewers.
The production design [Nitin Chandrakant Desai] transports you to that era. It’s that authentic. The stunts [Ravi Dewan] are true to life. Kiran Deohans and Seetha Sandhiri’s cinematography captures the era to perfection. Music by Sohel Sen is just average and there are no songs that leaves any long last impression. The screenplay by Raoul V Randolf and Ashutosh Gowarikar is wonderful however the editing should have been more crisper in the second half that would have made a huge difference.
All said and done the movie is a one-time watch and the box office returns seems to be bleak as today’s audience doesnt seem to favour such subjects and would rather wait for the movie to be screened on the Television rather than catch it onscreen paying huge ticket fares. Moreover the movie was not publicized well nor the posters give a feel that will generate an interest in the minds of the average movie goers to go and watch the movie. Another disaster in the making as far as box office returns is considered.