When one thinks about good patriotic films, films like BORDER, RANG DE BASANTI, THE LEGEND OF BHAGAT SINGH, SWADES, and LAGAAN instantly come to mind. The reason they clicked was because they connected with the people and aroused the feeling of patriotism. Remember the number of social movements that were triggered off by RANG DE BASANTI?
After the failure of WHAT'S YOUR RASHEE?, director Ashutosh Gowariker is back to his forte, which is period films. LAGAAN and JODHAA AKBAR clicked with the audience. Now he's back with KHELEIN HUM JEE JAAN SEY. It stars Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padaukone, seen in a period film for the first time.
Based on Manini Chatterjee's book, 'Do and Die', the film is set in 1930, British India. Surjya Sen (Abhisek Bachchan) is a school teacher in Chittagong. He forms a team comprising of 56 young boys, 5 defiant revolutionaries and 2 determined young women to shake the British Empire in Chittagong. On April 18, 1930, he executed a series of calculated attacks which caught the Britishers unaware. Naturally, the Britishers now are in hot pursuit of Surjya Sen and his team members.
This is perhaps Ashutosh's shortest film, but it still seems very long. He takes his own sweet time to arrive at the film's central plot. The entire first half is spent in forming the team and planning the attacks. Although it was necessary to do so, he goes very deep into it. There is hardly any movement in the story. It's only post interval that the narrative gains momentum. The riveting fight scenes keep you engrossed.
KHELEIN HUM JEE JAAN SEY has its moments. You feel for Surjya Sen and his team members. Almost the entire second half has poignant moments that keep you hooked. The scene in which the four revolutionaries kill themselves is tear-jerker.
Sohail Sen's music is passable but he makes up with an engaging background score. Seetha Sandhiri's cinematography captures the 30s era with aplomb. Ravi Dewan's stunts are admirable.
Abhishek Bachchan delivers a good performance and suits the part well. Deepika Padukone as Kalpana Datta is decent but she doesn't get enough scope as it's basically Surjya Sen's story. Vishakha Singh is excellent. Sikandar Kher is impressive. Samrat Mukherjee is good and so is Shreyas Pandit. All the other actors add value to the film.
KHELEIN HUM JEE JAAN SEY isn't a bad film but its slack pace refrains it from being a memorable film. Not worth 'playing jee jaan sey'.