When you watch a Hindi film you can usually be guaranteed an epic. You
only need to read some Indian scriptures to see that India has a long
history of epics, so it makes sense that their films should retain that
tradition. Most people are familiar with the often garish Bollywood
masala movies, with improbable story lines that manage to include drama,
unrequited love stories, action, comedy, and the all important song and dance numbers,
all in the same film. Of course, India does have a healthy film
industry outside of Bollywood that produces modern indie films and
quality dramas, usually of a historical nature. Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey
falls into the latter category.
It is the story of a relatively unknown chapter of India’s fight for
independence from the British that took place in Chittagong, Bengal in
1930. Contrary to Gandhi’s peaceful civil disobedience movement, this
was an armed uprising that cost lives on both sides. Led by an
idealistic teacher, Surjya Sen (Abhishek Bachchan), the small
band of revolutionaries were joined by a group of teenagers after the
British army set up camp on their football ‘pitch’. This infraction was
enough to motivate them to oppose the mighty force of the British, and
even fight against their own countrymen who were part of the British
army. A comparatively small group of 64, their advantage was a cleverly
devised plan and the element of surprise, which would have worked
perfectly if they had just checked their calendars a little closer.
Covering a period of four years, the film, which runs for three
hours, packs in a lot of detail and action, not to mention drama and a
couple of musical numbers (minus dancing). It also has a strong
emotional impact, as the audience sides with rebels against the
heartless British. One of the films biggest let downs is British actors, although calling them actors is a bit of a stretch.
Thankfully they don’t have a lot of dialogue, but when they do it is
cringeworthy, and their lack of screen presence is more than compensated
for by the rest of the cast.
If you like historical dramas like Lagaan, then this will satisfy.