Home »  Magazine »  Arts & Entertainment  » Showtime  »  Bhagat Singh Films

Bhagat Singh Films

Devgan-Deol certainly fail in rewriting history, even at the box-office.

Bhagat Singh Films
Bhagat Singh Films
The Legend of Bhagat Singh
Raj Kumar Santoshi
Starring: Ajay Devgan, Sushant Singh, Raj Babbar, Farida Jalal
Rating: **

23rd March 1931—Shaheed 
Director: Guddu Dhanoa
Starring: Bobby Deol, Sunny Deol, Amrita Singh
Rating: *

After watching the two films back to back what you can't get over is the introduction of Chandrashekhar Azad in Shaheed. Some drunks are let loose on revolutionaries by the Britishers. As they harass the women by asking them to be involved in "aalingan" (embrace) not "andolan" (revolution), Azad (Sunny) emerges from the crowd to offer a hug to the villain. It's a clinch tight enough to break the man's bones and sends the audience into a comic rapture. It also reduces a charismatic, heroic figure from our history into a present-day Rambo. So what if Sunny doesn't get to wrench out handpumps from the earth a la Gadar. His Shaeed still manages to equate patriotism with unbridled machismo. As for the historical accuracy or the lack of it, we'll leave that debate for another day.

Such pop parameters operate in TLOBS as well. Sukhdev and Bhagat bond over bhangra, Bhagat and Azad meet over a mini duel. The team of revolutionaries could be a bunch of friends from DCH, playful even at their trial. Rajguru is squarely a comedian while Sukhdev is a loveable rogue who pulls Bhagat's leg when his fiancee visits him. Yes, there's a woman (Amrita Rao) in Bhagat's life who sings Mahi ve mahi, just like Aishwarya Rai does a Jogiya ve jogiya dance for the Deol film. There's more that's same. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre has been conceptualised in an identical manner. Both scenes vaguely inspired by the legendary Odessa Steps montage in Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin, complete with the image of the innocent child caught in the vortex of violence.

Yet there's a difference. Shaheed is all about the nostril-flaring, dialogue-shouting Deol brotherhood and seems to operate in an ideological vacuum. There's an effort to posit the differing philosophies of Gandhi and Bhagat against each other but in too simplistic and flawed a manner. Gandhi and Nehru become wimps, while Bhagat is shown as a churlish and petulant Gandhi-basher. There is an overt attempt to make the film more relevant for the present by alluding to corruption, inequality and communal hatred. But Devgan-Deol certainly fail in rewriting history, even at the box-office.

Subscribe to Outlook’s Newsletter

Next Story : Sunset Boulevard
Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store
Here in Mumbai, when Faezeh Jalali presents Shikhandi: The story of In-Betweens, the story becomes a brisk, pinching satire about punishing times, then and now.
MAGAZINE April 19, 2018
Movie Review
This biopic of V.P. Sathyan, Kerala’s and India’s football team captain in the ’90s, injects a dose of adrenaline into the veins of a resurgent Kerala
MAGAZINE February 22, 2018
The musical moves from one milestone to the other interspersed with songs and commentary by Boman Irani as the voice of the British Raj.
MAGAZINE April 07, 2017
The story touches upon glamour and the cost it extracts. It's about crime, the afterlife and love...
MAGAZINE March 02, 2017
Watching it as just a movie divorced from the reality around us, Raees offers as many moments of entertainment as tedium in the second half...
MAGAZINE January 25, 2017
Online Casino Betway Banner