So What’s your Rashee? is passé! It will have been futile to write off a director of Ashutosh Gowariker’s stature after this dud. After Lagaan and Jodhaa Akbar, Ashutosh Gowariker gives us another epic story this time based on the Chittagong Uprising of the 1930s against the British rule. What starts as a bio-pic of the leader of the uprising Surjya Sen, an ordinary Maths teacher somewhere looses out on the story of the life of the man and focuses on the dramatics and thrills and frills and in the process looses hold on the plot albeit briefly. What with the first half brainstorming and executing the grand uprising and the second half, the aftermath of it.
Surjya Sen, an ordinary Maths teacher becomes a source of inspiration for a bunch of youngsters when their playground is taken over by the British. Under his leadership and guidance, these youngsters awaken the sense of patriotism within themselves and to fight for what they believe in. In planned attacks on the British establishments, they create the furor they wanted to create but in the bargain also inherit the wraths of the mighty pissed off gora sahebs who retaliate with equal force and brutality, leaving scores of dead bodies behind over the next couple of years.
Somehow Abhishek Bachchan fails to do justice to Surjya Sen’s character given his trademark scowl most of the time and a deadpan expression on his face. Romance in the film whether its between Surjya and Kalpana Dutta or between Pritilata or Nirmal Sen are well subdued given the theme of the film more prominence. There are other shortcomings like the character of Kalpana missing in the second half without a proper explanation given. Also the fact that the betrayal by Surjya’s team member Netra Sen was not explored properly was a bit disappointing. However, there are some intense and stirring moments in the film. But they are few and far between.
The young freedom fighters that comprises of Surjya’s team stand out for their sheer intensity in their respective roles. Kalpana’s character too stands out in certain sections though her entry in the beginning leaves a lot to be desired. If it’s history and a sense of patriotism that motivates you, then this is the film for you to evoke a sense of déjà vu, in the process helping you remember the forgotten heroes who went all the way to free their motherland of the foreign invaders.