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Chittagong (2012)

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Set in the turbulence of the 1930s British India, a 14 year old boy, Jhunku, and his journey to find where he belongs. For the first time in Indian history, the British army is defeated by ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Surya Sen (as Manoj Bajpai)
Barry John ...
Wilkinson
Delzad Hiwale ...
Jhunku Roy
Vega Tamotia ...
Pritilata Waddedar
...
Nirmal Sen
...
Lokenath Bal (as Raj Kumar Yadav)
Jaideep Ahlawat ...
Anant Singh
...
Jhunku Roy
Dibyendu Bhattacharya ...
Ambika
Vishal Vijay ...
Ganesh Ghosh
...
Charles Johnson
Anurag Arora ...
Ahsanullah
Sauraseni Maitra ...
Chaiti Ghosh ...
Paritosh Sand ...
Nilesh Roy
Edit

Storyline

Set in the turbulence of the 1930s British India, a 14 year old boy, Jhunku, and his journey to find where he belongs. For the first time in Indian history, the British army is defeated by a ragtag army of schoolboys and their teacher, Masterda. Called a traitor by his peers, and let down by a man he trusts, Jhunku impulsively joins the movement. As his world is turned upside down, Jhunku is forced to confront his self-doubts. As the leaders of the movement are progressively caught or killed, Jhunku battles against seemingly insurmountable odds to win a victory of his own. The film is an exciting action-drama, made more so by the fact that it is true. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Ordinary Boys, Extraordinary Triumph

Genres:

Action | Drama | War

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Details

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Release Date:

12 October 2012 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Читтaгонг  »

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User Reviews

 
Chittagong vs Chittagong and the winds of change
15 November 2014 | by (United States, Budapest, etc.) – See all my reviews

One of the most interesting things about Chittagong, the film, is that it is the debut feature of a 49 year old director with a PhD in physics, Bedabrata Pain, who left his day job as a leading scientist for JPL (Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena) after a brilliant 15 year career there, to take up a new career in filmmaking at the age of 45. He started out byco-producing a film by his Bengali wife Shonali Bose, "Amu" which dealt with the government backed pogroms against Sikhs in 1984 after President Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own Sikh bodyguards. "Amu" was shown at major festivals such as Berlin and Toronto. Now Sinhali returns the compliment by coproducing Bedabrata's maiden effort along with maverick producer/director Anarug Kashyap of "Gangs of Wasseypur"

Pain's "Chittagong" is so well crafted that it's hard to believe this is a first time film by a new director, but there it is, one of the more topical films of the year. "Chittagong" tells the story of a little known uprising against British rule by Bengali shoolboys under the leadership of a charismatic village teacher, Masterda Surya Sen. Some audacious young ladies were also involved. Generally speaking historical films relating to partition have not fared well in India. Why such a tale is now suddenly of interest is a good question. Director Pain who is himself Bengali said that he wanted to tell a story in which the Indians come out victorious, because most historical films of the Raj colonial era tend to dwell on defeat and martyrdom. The schoolboy revolt succeeded and Chittagong was actually liberated in 1930, if only for a single day.

At the same time he said he did not want to give viewers a history lesson, but more a sense of dramatic entertainment. In this he has more or less succeeded. Chittagong has the right mix of all the elements --action, drama, politics, romance and patriotism, convincing little-known actors, and is also a history lesson, like it or not, maybe more so than intended.

Pain chose to shoot the film in Hindi, not the original Bengali language which was and is still spoken there. Chittagong today is not even in India, but in the Islamic state of Bangladesh next door, originally created as East Pakistan when India was partitioned in 1947. However, choosing Hindi, the language of Bollywood, automatically gives the film a national rather than a regional outreach. Several Bollywood character actors spotted by co-producer Anurag Kashyap, notably Manoj Bajpayee, who plays the teacher, Surya Sen, in Chittagong, and ended up as Boss Sardar Khan in Wasseypur I, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui who plays his military sidekick, Nirmal Sen, in Chittagong and his weed puffing son in Wasseypur II, have now become high profile figures in what is fast becoming an independent Bollywood Nouvelle Vague ...

Brash and ballsy Indian director-Producer Anurag Kashyap recently locked horns with Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan on the widely read hotlines of personal media accusing Bachchan of using his industry clout to have the release of Pain's Chittagong delayed, so that another picture on the same subject starring Bachchan's own son, Abhishek, could get a leg up in the highly competitive B-Town market.

I needs to be mentioned that Abhishek Bachchan, 36 year old son of King Amitabh, while tall dark and handsome, is no chip off the old block as an actor, and has established a career as a leading man in Bollywood largely on the strength of his illustrious family name and his marriage to fabulous Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai.

The other Chittagong film in queston "Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey", (immediately dubbed KHJJS in true Bollywood fashion) is another Hindi period piece directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, starring Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone in the lead roles, and also based squarely on the same student uprising of 1930. Deepika, 26, is like Rai another striking beauty from the south, more lauded for her looks than her acting abilities, but exceptionally popular. Gowariker is a respected mainstream Bollywood director best known for "Lagaan" 2001, (Land Tax) which was barely nosed out for Best Foreign Film Oscar that year and brought some recognition to Bollywood from out west.

The two films were set for release around the same time but the Gowariker version got there first by a mile while the Pain pic was held up for over a year until now. Reacting sharply against what he saw as undue influence by Amitabh Bachchan to hold up release of Pain's Chittagong in order to protect his son's film from being upstaged, Kashyap started posting caustic remarks on the networking sites. One of them read: "See Chittagong, a far superior film made on the same subject as Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey.. At 1/8 th of the cost, far superior actors and immense passion... Producers decided to sit on it, because of a phone call from someone, because that someone was trying desperately to save his son's career... welcome to Bollywood, where whose son you are outshines all the hard work and passion and potential and talent. KHJJS came and went, now what?" Well, here's what. KHJJS received some respectable reviews but flopped badly in spite of it's prestige director and bankable stars. Chittagong was voted audience favorite in Florence, but it remains to be seen what it will do elsewhere, especially now that two of its actors, Siddiqui and Bajpayee, have become overnight sensations.

Pain's Chittagong was viewed at the River to River Indian Film Festival Florence,'Italy, in Dec. 2012


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