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Bhagat was born in British India during the year 1908. As a child he witnessed numerous atrocities committed on fellow Indians by their British rulers, who came to trade under the guise of the East India Company, but ended up controlling most of the nation, and permitting tyrants such as General Dyer to massacre thousands of innocent men, women and children in Jallianwala Baug. As a child he was impressed by Mohandas K. Gandhi, especially his call to launch the non-cooperation movement, which led to thousands of people burning British-made clothing, giving up schools, & college studies, and government jobs - only to be let down by Gandhi himself when he called off the movement. Undaunted, Bhagat decided to be a revolutionary, starting with getting into petty fights, then as a grown-up joining the Hindustan Republic Association. When Lala Lajpat Rai was beaten to death by the police, Bhagat, along with Shivram Rajguru, Sukhdev, and others daringly carried out the assassination of a ...Written by
A Fantastic Bio-pic on an Intriguing Figure, but Not Without Flaws
The Legend of Bhagat Singh is one of Indian cinema's most ambitious projects to date. After three years of painstaking research and set construction, veteran film maker Raj Kumar Santoshi and actor Ajay Devgan shot the film in a short stretch of six months. The film released early due to competition from other films dealing with roughly the same subject. Overall it's a pretty solid film but one can't help shake the feeling that it could have been a far superior product if it had been worked on for a short while longer.
The film tells the entire life story of Indian freedom fighter and martyr Bhagat Singh who, in a nut shell, grew disillusioned with Gandhi's passive movement and lead an independent violent struggle against the British.
Colonial India is recreated magnificently in the film and the British atrocities committed are portrayed with aplomb by the director. One can truly get a sense of how such frustrating conditions could drive youngsters to violence and revolt. Some of the film's strengths are its hard hitting portrayal of British atrocities, its court scenes and its action scenes.
The film's biggest highlight is its lead performer, Indian actor Ajay Devgan. The actor single handedly manages to uplift even the most dull and unconvincing scenes in the film to a high quality level. His every expression and mannerism is carefully calculated to maximize his impact on the viewer. This man can move audiences to tears or wide smiles with just a few short lines and quick glances from his intense eyes. His work here is par excellence and can easily rival any work done by any grade-A actors the world over.
The supporting cast is good as well, with fellow revolutionary Sukhdev (Indian stage actor Sushant Singh) Bhagat Singh's mother (Indian diva Farida Jalal) leaving lasting impressions as well.
The last excellent thing about the movie is the music by renowned composer A.R. Rahman. The music is not as festive as Bollywood movies usually boast, but that's to be expected considering the subject of the film. The well crafted, soothing ethnic tunes manage to evoke the right emotions without seeming rash and distasteful.
The film isn't without its weaknesses, however. For one, it's obviously a rushed effort. Segments of the script seem under developed and the impact of certain national tragedies on Bhagat Singh's mindset is never fleshed out as one would want them to be.
Also, Bhagat Singh's political ideology (he was a communist, by the way) is never really spelled out for viewers. Instead, they are left to put together pieces for themselves connecting the dots from dialogs and incidents in the film to really figure out the main character's mindset and view points.
The second half of the film moves at an awkward pace, sometimes lingering on minute details and other times racing ahead and skipping crucial events (which are referenced in later dialog). Finally, for a film that remains very objective in presenting most events, viewers will be surprised by a very negative portrayal of Mahatma Gandhi and India's first Prime Minister Nehru. This angle of the film stuck out like a sore thumb to say the least.
For all its faults however, Legend of Bhagat Singh has plenty of strengths to make it a superb film. It tells a great story with style and conviction. It has wonderful performances including one of finest performances ever in Indian cinema by Devgan. It has great action, moving drama, soothing music, and is (overall) a thoroughly rewarding and entertaining experience. It comes highly recommended by me.
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