As an avid movie buff, I am bored of the regular and the mundane. So, when a film like Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey comes along, one reinforces the belief in the power of cinema. Yes, there's a lot of chaff out there but when one does come across the Real thing, you take back home the experience of watching a good story told wonderfully well. What you like most about KHJJS is the total disregard for bowing before the conventional Box Office demands. There are no cinematic 'items' that ensures ticket sales in cine halls. Still, there's a restrained Thrill element that permeates the fabric of the entire film and keeps you interested as a viewer.
There have been so many films on Indian Freedom Movement. So many heroes. And now, everyone will come to know of Surjya Sen and his batallion of young soldiers. The Chittagong Uprising will echo in the country. For, its a Country of youth and this movement was spearheaded by youngsters (mostly teenagers). To touch upon a subject which can be construed as a lesser known chapter in Indian Freedom struggle is a risk in itself. But the risk pays off because many people are unaware of this movement and would be enriched by watching the film and valuing their independence even more.
The story unfolds at many levels. How elders in the group guide the youngsters, there's brewing love between Surjya (Abhishek) and Kolpana (Deepika) but it never takes center stage to hijack the basic premise, the preparation for the revolt seems like a documentary of sorts but then it has its light and thrilling moments too. The struggle is documented at several layers, yes the nationalistic fervour is very pronounced but it never gets loud or jingoistic. Also, the bond the entire gang of Surjya Sen shares amongst themselves has been brought forth in a subtle, moving fashion and at the level of Human Story, that's a victory for the film.
KHJJS isn't a film that celebrates a Hero in the conventional filmi sense of the word. Yes, Abhishek Bachchan plays Surjya who was the vision behind the Chittagong Uprising. But there are such fantastic performances from every single actor playing a pivotal role in the film. Especially the kids. What a casting coup. The kid who plays Jhunku is such a natural. It's a film that needs to be looked in 'Community'. The entire team of actors are fantastic. Abhishek, Deepika, Vishakha, Sikandar are the known names and they have delivered extremely realistic polished performances. But many more names will become sought after actors from KHJJS team (the way it happened with Lagaan).
Technically a very superior film, but still, there's nothing in-the-face to distract attention from the story telling. Art Design by Nitin Desai transports you to the era. Detailing seems very well researched. Neeta Lulla's clothes retain the sombre feel of the context of the film. Background score by Sohail Sen plays an important character in the film and also adds up to the tempo at crucial junctures. Kiran Deohans' camera makes this film a delightful visual experience. Dilip Deo's editing is defined by simple editing chops. Pace of the film is slow and maybe it could have been edited more sharply.
Ashutosh Gowariker is back with a bang. While we've seen other directors in the recent past who believe in shock-n-awe with too much of ornamentation, the subtle simplicity in the story telling of Gowariker is an endearing quality. Gowariker's endeavour to tell a story that doesn't follow the norm also gives more respectability to Bollywood which is mostly looked upon with disdain for its crass song-n-dance and gullible jokes.
Finally, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is an important film that leaves you with goose pimples, a lot of food for thought and gratitude for people who didn't think twice before laying the foundation for free India. Lots of respect to them and the team that has made the film.