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23rd March 1931: Shaheed (2002)

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When his mentor Lala Lajpatrai is mercilessly beaten to death by the police Bhagat Singh is enraged and he sets about to avenge his death. He and his colleagues do succeed in killing one of... See full summary »

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Title: 23rd March 1931: Shaheed (2002)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Bobby Deol ...
...
Amrita Singh ...
Vidya (Bhagat's mom)
Rahul Dev ...
Sukhdev
Vicky Ahuja ...
Suresh Oberoi ...
Gaoler Chaddha
Shakti Kapoor ...
Chattar Singh
Akshay Anand
...
Special Appearance (song) (as Aishwarya Rai)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ishrat Ali
Rana Jung Bahadur ...
Public Prosecutor
Raja Bundela ...
Lala Lajpatrai
Suresh Chatwal
Smita Jaykar
Edit

Storyline

When his mentor Lala Lajpatrai is mercilessly beaten to death by the police Bhagat Singh is enraged and he sets about to avenge his death. He and his colleagues do succeed in killing one of the officials responsible, but they are identified and as a result they are arrested and held in prison where they are tortured relentlessly. They are then sentenced to a life in prison. Subsequently, they are charged with a more serious crime - treason and assassination - a crime that is punishable by death. Written by gavin@sunny_deol2009@yahoo.com

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7 June 2002 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Desh Maangta Hai Qurbaaniyaan....
12 August 2011 | by (India) – See all my reviews

Another 15th August ! One more Independence Day ! One more annual occasion to remember the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the motherland. Our patriotic sentiments seem to have got associated with the particular dates only. Well, in this review, I am linking the date of 15th August, 1947 to a sixteen years' earlier date

  • 23rd March, 1931 - the date of martyrdom of three young bravehearts


who fearlessly laid down their lives for the cause of freeing their motherland from the slavery of the British. Today I pen the review of a movie made on the martyrdom of Shaheed Sardaar Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Shivram Rajguru whose title is 23rd March, 1931 - Shaheed which was released in the year 2002.

The story is nothing but the biography of Bhagat Singh, the son of Sardaar Kishan Singh and nephew of Sardaar Ajeet Singh who devoted their entire lives to make their motherland, i.e., India free from the shackles of slavery. Bhagat Singh (Bobby Deol) joined the organization of the like-minded (believing in violent means) patriot youths - Hindustan Socialist Republican Association led by Chandra Shekhar Aazaad (Sunny Deol). The movie has portrayed the looting of the Govt. treasury at Kakori by these revolutionaries (famous in history as the Kakori Conspiracy) and connected events in detail. After some time, the death of Lala Laajpatrai due to getting beaten by sticks while opposing the Simon Commission, sparked the feelings in the hearts of Bhagat Singh and others to seek vengeance from the responsible British officer
  • Malcom Scott. Mistakenly they killed another officer - Saunders.


Bhagat Singh's views regarding independence and social justice got refined and moulded with time and he got himself arrested alongwith Batukeshwar Dutt after exploding a harmless bomb in the national assembly. The remaining part of the movie is devoted to the prolonged trial of the revolutionaries, their epic fast in jail and finally embracement of gallows by Bhagat Singh, Sukh Dev and Rajguru with smiles on their faces.

While deciding to make this movie, producer - Sunny Deol committed two blunders - firstly, he chose his brother-in-law - Guddu Dhanoa to direct this movie and secondly, he cast himself in the role of Chandra Shekhar Aazaad. Skilled in directing masala action-thrillers only, director Guddu Dhanoa could not grasp the sensitivity of the plot and the movie could not do justice to the personality of the great revolutionary and his invaluable sacrifice. Besides, both Sunny and Guddu conveniently forgot that at the time of his martyrdom, Shaheed Chandra Shekhar Aazaad was barely 25-26 years old and a forty-plus Sunny was completely miscast for that role. Besides, to encash Sunny's popularity as an action-hero, the director has portrayed him as a larger-than-life typical Bollywood hero and unduly inserted long action-sequences which might have attracted the front-benchers but spoiled the naturalness and gravity of the movie. Due to the prolonged role of Sunny as Aazaad, Bhagat Singh's presence is not properly felt in the first one hour of the movie which is a clear weakness of the script. To be frank, Sunny-Guddu duo has reduced the movie to a regular masala flick only.

However the movie impresses in the first half due to the sequences pertaining to Sardaar Ajeet Singh and Shaheed Kartaar Singh Saraaba. Despite the moving of the storyline in a typical action-thriller style, the movie scores at places. Good songs also help the cause. However in the post-interval session, the script-writer has lifted the screenplay of Manoj Kumar starrer classic movie - Shaheed (1965) for the court-room drama and other episodes. And when compared with the classic B & W movie, this movie comes a cropper and does not impress the audience. Had the script-writer applied own mind wisely for the second half also, perhaps it would have been better. The roles of Sukh Dev and Rajguru (with the other revolutionaries too) have not been given any importance and the movie appears to be an all Deol show only.

On the plus side, firstly, it's Bobby Deol who has played the role of his lifetime and infused life into the role of the immortal revolutionary. Amrita Singh as his mother, Divya Dutta as Durga Bhabhi and Suresh Oberai as the jailer have done well. Sunny has concentrated on action and (over the top) fist-fights only. Aishwarya Rai as the fiancée of Bhagat Singh is another disappointment. But the actor who won my heart is T.V. actor - Imraan Khan who brought Shaheed Kartaar Singh Saraaba to life through his amazing cameo. The most impressive song of this movie - Desnu Challo, Desh Maangta Hai Qurbaaniyaan has been picturized on him only. In addition to this song, the other songs are also quite impressive (including the immortal songs of the revolutionaries themselves, viz. Pagadi Sambhal Jatta, Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna and Mera Rang De Basanti Chola).

Technically and production-value wise, the movie is good but I would have been happier had the director paid proper attention to the sensitivity and depth of the plot which is a golden chapter of India's struggle for independence.Despite its flaws, this movie is watchable for its patriotic value. I end my review with the slogan invented by Bhagat Singh himself - 'Inquilaab Zindabaad' (long live the revolution).


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