|Index||10 reviews in total|
Going through the pages of history I used to think that India is filled
with rich historical events and characters yet we hardly see them being
made into compelling cinema. While foreign countries have churned great
cinema out of their history, India has taken the back-seat. Somehow the
interesting historical events are never turned into engaging films
barring few. With growing empathy towards our own history the
film-makers are showing no interest as market value seems to be turkey.
Yet there are people like Bedabrata Pain, a genius Nasa scientist who
dared to follow his passion making a great film of courageous men who
symbolizes triumph of human spirit.Earlier a film made on similar
events by Gowariker(Khelien Hum Jee Jan Se) was naive and childish
Chittagong uprising is an important incident in Indian freedom struggle led by a school master Surjo Sen. The uprising was of more significance as his army mainly consisted of teenage school students thus making more impact in creating a national uproar. But the film doesn't pivot on Masterda neither it's a homage in memorial of all the martyrs involved in it. Instead it focuses on Jhunku who is narrating his experience of the Chittagong revolution and after getting released from Kalapani how he created a movement involving peasants. The film ends with the footage of real Jhunku (in his early 80s) showing the passion and research work done behind making of the film.Recently no other historical film comes close to Chittagong in terms of authenticity and honesty.
Probably one has seen it in Gowariker's version but Pain's execution brings in layers to the characters. Those revolutionaries were but human it the end. They had weaknesses and fear of failures which are captured with precision. The revolutionaries are portrayed as mortal with strong will power and self-belief. MasterDa's characterization is flawless and the strategic depth in the movement comes out effortlessly through the proceedings. The masterstroke of the screenplay (Co-written by Shonali Bose) is telling the whole story through the eye of a boy named "Jhunku". Through his eyes we build an image of Masterda, NirmalSen, Preetilatha and other revolutionaries of his gang. With people already aware of the fate of Masterda, Jhunku's angle gave a fresh perspective for audience viewing. Brownie points must be given to the writers for showcasing the human side of the British officers. Barry John's character shows inner conflict which is too evident from being a family man. Anurag Aurora as Ahsanaullah & AllexO'neil as Johson depicted sadism with perfection.
Pain excels in his directorial debut. His style of execution should be a lesson to film-makers, even those who are directing for over years but still fails to show any spark. The film gives ray of hope to all of us, that making an honest effort is more important than success or failure. After all leaving NASA to make a film on this uncharted territory speaks volume about the person. Pain also got ample support from his technical team. Eric Zimmerman's cinematography is brilliant. The way he had captured the forest terrains helped the audience to visually stretch back to the era of 1920s. With ample support from teams of Production Design (dependable SamirChanda), Costume design (NeelanjanaGhose) and Art Direction ( AmitRoy) the realistic feel of the freedom struggle is aptly created, reliving those days of uprising. Aldo Velasco's editing deserves mentioning. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music flows with the narrative."Ishaan" -nice composition and with the tragic history behind the song one can't help but to admire the spirit of the director who is an inspiration to many.It's difficult to move ahead with life after such a tragedy.
The film boasts of some finest actors of contemporary cinema. ManojBajpayee fits in as MasterDa and again surprised us with his abilities. NawazuddinSiddiqui is getting is due after a long struggle and showing meteoric rise with meaningful cinema. After GOW, Siddiqui sparkled as Nirmal Sen in this film. He is one of the rare actors of current cinema who can emote with his whole body. RajKumarYadav as Lokenath Bal and Jaideep Ahlawat as Anant Singh are superb. All these four seem to carry the energy of GOW (though Chittagong was shot much before GOW). Delzad Hiwale should be given standing ovation for his portrayal of Jhunku who is awestruck by Masterda and gradually becomes part of the revolution. His transformation from a shaky rich kid to a rebel with a cause has been textured with perfection. Another find of this film is Vega Tamotia who played the role of Preetilata has flawless expressions. Veteran Barry John adds human value to Wilkinson who is serving the queen and at the same time is empathetic to Jhunku. Vijay Verma as older Jhunku leaves good impression. Dibyendu Bhattacharya (last seen as chunni in DevD) is brilliant as Ambika and should get more opportunities in future. Overall the huge supporting cast are as fine tuned as the leading cast.
With people's apathy towards our own history more such Chittagong needs to be made so that we can at least feel pride in something which has been long lost with corruption. Chittagong also reflects triumph of human spirit at every level. Chittagong also boosts such independent film makers to come with their own style and start a new wave in Hindi cinema.Kudos to Anurag Kashyap,Pranay Roy for supporting this brilliant independent cinema which was made 3 years back and got subdued by the biggies of the business.
Immediate Box office might not be huge; but it will go down in the history as a brilliant film that fought all odds to get release.It also shows a new angle to freedom struggle, scanning unknown characters from the page of history books to reality. The film is a must watch for cine-lovers, history-lovers and all who wants to know about bunch of fearless,self-sacrificing young souls who can inject ray of hope to the new generation & helps in becoming strong, righteous characters.
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.
Almost nothing outrageous happens throughout the film.Even the armoury raid takes only about 10 minutes in the 105 minutes long film that too pre-interval.And thats the beauty of Chittagong, which depicts this forgotten tale (outside Bengal) so efficiently through silences,emotions and expressions.The honesty involved in making the film, touches you deep down and makes you forget the few flaws here and there.Manoj Bajpayee,Nawazuddin Siddiqui,Jaydeep Ahlawat,Raj Kumar Yadav all shine again after GOW and are aptly supported by Dibyendu Bhattacharya,Shaheb Bhattacharya,Anubrata and others.But its Delzad Hiwale as young Jhunku (loved him in Bubble Gum) and Vega Tamotia as Preetilata who stand out and make the deepest marks.Eric Zimmerman's camera is beautiful to say the least.Bedabrata Pain has really surprised with the maturity in execution,treatment and tight cholesterol free screenplay.Leaving apart the personal tragic story behind or his identity as a NASA scientist,Chittagong judged only in its own merit scores higher than most films on Indian freedom revolution.This definitely requires more screenings,viewings and word of the mouth publicity.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Chittagong is absolutely well directed, well scripted n well performed
movie,the story based on the few rebellions of Chittagong in 1930's,
How they decide to fight against British rule, to expel them out of
Chittagong, its an epic tale about some forgotten heroes of our country
there are numerous scenes where the film arouses feelings of patriotism
within you; and that last 5 mins clip of real jhunku (Subodh Roy)was
like ice on the cake!! Manoj Bajapai and Nawazuddin siddiqui are just
brilliant as usual, the background score was also too good. if you like
patriotic movies, this is must watch for you!!
this is surely gonna be remarkable year for bollywood Pan singh tomar, khaani,Vicky donor, Gangs of wasseypur 1 & 2, Barfi, OMG, English Vinglish and now Chittagong, it'd be interesting to see who gets best film's award !!
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
A few years back, Ashutosh Gowariker also chose the same subject for
his movie "Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se" in which he majorly failed due to
his faulty casting more than his own direction. Ashutosh tried to bring
in some commercial value in the project by casting Abhishek Bachchan
and Deepika Padukone in the lead which actually fell flat, resulting in
a film standing in the mid-way. Thankfully, the mistake is not repeated
by Bedabrata Pain in his Chittagong, which has the same story told from
a different angle and is a better film too if compared to KHJJS in a
In Bedarbrata's CHITTAGONG the incident is narrated by "Jhunku", a participant of the revolt himself, giving you a first-hand experience of the brave & tragic chapter of 1930s. The film is executed well with some note-worthy cinematography, a fine background score, a well composed song "Bolo Na" and brilliant performances from the entire cast featuring Manoj Bajpayee, Delzad Hiwale, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Raj Kumar Yadav, Barry John, Vijay Varma, Sauraseni Maitra, Chaiti Ghosh and more. Though the proceedings become slow post intermission when the after effects of the heroic revolt are being shown. Still it successfully keeps your interest alive through some new viewpoints added towards the climax, which eventually help CHITTAGONG to become a different movie as compared to Ashutosh's KHJJS in totality.
But at the same time, that doesn't mean that KHJJS had nothing good in it justifying the important subject. On the contrary, there were certain scenes in CHITTAGONG where I strongly felt that KHJJS had something superior as mentioned below.
1. It was quite strange to see that where in KHJJS, the young school boys are chosen & used due to their own self confessed desire, fighting spirit & fearlessness, CHITTAGONG uses them just because they have white cards, which is not a negative feature associated with their existence in the British Empire (unlike the Red Card given to others).
2. Where in KHJJS, Ashutosh extensively shows you the selection, training and grooming of the young boys by their master in details, CHIITAGONG speeds up this important part by just showing them being trained in gun-shooting in few scenes only.
3. In KHJJS the attacks on 3 different spots are shown in great length and details, whereas in CHITTAGONG the detailing is missing, probably because it later has to tell a lot more about "Jhunku", even after the hanging of Surjaya Sen (the end point of KHJJS). So where KHJJS focuses completely on giving the account of the zealous attacks made by the team on different key point of British operations, CHITTAGONG is majorly about these attacks plus its aftereffects years later.
4. Lastly, there is one thing which I respected the most in KHJJS, when they showed the original pictures of all the young boys and their leaders along with the pictures of actors enacting them on the screen in their end credits. In CHITTAGONG too there is short interview of "Jhunku" which deservingly gets a standing ovation in the theater. But truly speaking, the impact of watching those original pictures was much more in KHJJS.
On a concluding note, I am neither in favor of writing off Ashutosh's attempt completely nor in favor of praising Bedabrata's honest attempt whole heartedly. I deeply respect all the martyrs of this brave revolt of 1930s, have tremendous regards for the makers of both the films and salute their spirit behind their earnest efforts sincerely. But here I have to admit that may be I was expecting a lot more from the film as a second attempt.
In short, CHITTAGONG is a simple and straight forward portrayal of that unbelievable kind of chapter from our own Indian History. It mainly scores higher due to its rich execution and polished realistic performances from a well chosen talented cast. But I really wish it was more powerful infusing new life into our blood revisiting that historical event again. In its present version, the experience of watching CHITTAGONG is just like reading a simple enlightening biography of a calm soul, remembering his young days of a freedom fighter with a divine smile on his old face like "Jhunku".
A great period film technically and it is a rare film to come.
Now, what would yo do when a film that you have waited for, does not release in your city, you will simply download the pirated print in internet or rather wait for the DVD and then watch it. Damn, I downloaded it from the internet and watched it and I am also going to buy DVD for this is worth a buy.
Hmm, it's great in terms of production design, cinematography and sound design. Wow, take a bow you guys, you guys gave us a near authentic picture of the history. The story is what that was happened and thanks for this not being melodramatic and rather stuck to what has happened that forcing the audience into a typically sympathetic expression which is mostly done in these freedom struggle films.
Thankfully, I did not see the other version of the same story made by Ashutosh Gowariker as 'Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se' and I did not see that only for one reason and that is Abhishek Bachhan as the leader.
So here, we have a better actor Manoj Bajpai play Surya Sen, the Masterda, who has devised a plan to capture Chittagong with a guerrilla war against the British Empire. As it happens to most revolutionaries be it Che Guevara or Bhagat Singh, they die and here does too, but he leaves a profound impact on our protagonist Jhunku who comes back to take on the British Empire. Also, the small sub plot between Nirmal and the first woman revolutionary Preetilata Waddedar played by Vega Tamotia is what I liked the most. Also a mention of Ashanullah Khan the CID officer who was ruthless, boy he did his part fabulously.
Wow, so the Master has taught something significant to his student and the student follows it with heart even though despite being imprisoned for acting against the British. The characters did their play their parts well. The young Jhunku played by Delzad Hilwale and Nirmal Da played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui stood out. All other English actors just were fine and am happy for such great cast coming together to make a motion picture such as this. So kudos to producers who have encouraged the vision of Bedrabata Pain, the director and helped him achieve a film as it stands today.
Now, coming to other departments, it is editing that could have been better. Even at just 90 minutes, this film feels a tad longer may be because we are used to such stories and we know the end as well. Yet, it's film that is textured with the freedom struggle and has a flavour for sure like many great period films. The songs are apt and 'Bolo Na' is number that I will keep listening for sure, thanks to lyricist Prasoon Joshi the Shankar Ehsaan Loy trio for this number.
It's a 4/5 just for the effort and pain of the director Bedabrata Pain.
Its Unfortunate for us that a perfectly made revolutionary Indian film like this went underrated n less hyped.This film is definitely way better than most other melodramatic movies based on Indian Freedom Movememt.This very film consists of the last phase of Indian Freedom Struggle.A soulful tribute to our beloved MasterDa i.e. Surya Kumar Sen,1st Female Martyr of Indian National Movement Pritilata Waddedar,Nirmal Sen etc. n their freedom struggle including revolutionary Chittagong Armoury Raid (1930 AD) n Pahartali European Club Attack(1932 AD).but,this Patriotic drama film mainly focused on the life of Subodh Roy,the youngest rebel to send Andaman for imprisonment n later he lead the Tebhaga Uprising (1945 AD) against the British in Bengal.I convey immense respect to all of them.Hats Off to the director Mr.Bedabrata Pain,Producer Anurag Kashyap n all the cast n crew specially including Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Rajkumar Rao n that young boy who played young Subodh Roy n all others for making such an Inspiring,Strong n Remarkable film in every aspects! What a film! Splendid! Loved it to the core.
Watching Chittagong was a wonderful, intense and provoking experience.
Surely, it's one of the rare Indian films which portrays realism in a
very artistic and brilliant way. Bedabrata Pain's outstanding debut
tells the story of rebels of Chittagong- an unseen chapter of Indian
With a brilliant cast including Nawazuddin, Manoj Bajpai, Raj Kumar Yadav and many more, the film shines in every department of cinema. The music throughout the film is well composed and have beautiful lyrics. Cinematography is perfect and the performances are excellent.
This film will remain in my heart for a very long time, i am sure about that.
A Brilliant and satisfying Cinema.
10out of 10!!!
Chittagong is disappointing. It's an honest film but fails to transcend into a good film. The biggest disadvantage that plagues a period film based on real events is the predictability of the plot. So, to make the film more engaging, the director needs to indulge in a sort of retelling of history inculcating a healthy dosage of drama into it. This is precisely where Bedabrata Pain falls short. There's no building up of drama. Watching the film is like glancing through the pages of a history book. The narrative of the film is so simple that it is reduced to a textbook of chronological historical events. Hence, although it adheres to factual fidelity, it doesn't deliver what is expected from a celluloid drama. It will be cruel to say that the film is uninspiring because it does have a lot of heart and characters do evoke a genuine sense of empathy. It's more like a ticking bomb that doesn't explode. I'm not talking about the typical Bollywood exaggerated sentimentality, but Pain's maiden effort doesn't have that soul-stirring zing in it, it's not intense or emotionally compelling enough. I love simplistic minimalism and restrained performances, but the characters somehow are nipped in the bud and deliberately not allowed to grow and evolve, especially when the director had the luxury of a casting coup comprising the likes of Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Jaideep Ahlawat and Dibyendu Bhattacharya. He fails to exploit the brilliance of such wonderful actors at his disposal. Even the background score is so disappointing and underwhelming, completely incompatible with the elegiac undertone of the film. The editing has rough edges with loose disconnected parts. The only rewarding aspect of the film is Eric Zimmerman's breathtaking cinematography.
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