Aah! The joy of watching a well-made historical film that tugs you is simply indescribable! From beginning to end, you can’t help but notice the breathtaking cinematography, the scenic locales of Lataguri in North Bengal captured that contribute in gluing you to your seat by all means.
Chittagong begins with Jhunku (Delzad Hiwale’s) friend’sassassination who when angered by the English’s callousness, joins Chittagong’s rising army, led by Surya Sen (Manoj Bajpai). Until this assassination, 14-year-old Jhunku’s father dreamt of sending his son to Oxford to become a barrister but this uncalled forviolent act led Jhunku to join Master Da, aka Surya Sen, his idol (Manoj Bajpai). In order to weaken the British, Sen aims to destroy the railways and telephone networks and to achieve this, he trains a group of undercover teenaged revolutionaries.
One of the film’s biggest strengths is that despite it’s depiction of this lesser-known tale from Indian history, the film yet manages to hold your attention throughout. Chittagong can also laud itself forattempting to change common perceptions, for instance, the film portrays the British with a little more sensitivity, rather than their usual portrayal as the perfect antagonists. Not only are they captured humanly but the audience also sees their vulnerabilities.
Bedabrata’s vision is evident when he tries to depict the prowess of this town (Chittagong) and their dreams of an independent India. The script is well-woven until it drags a little post-interval. It’s hard to critique a film such as this whose only downfall lies in it’s editing. The dialogues have been written well and are quite hilarious at places.
As far as the film’s cast is concerned, one barely suspects that these aren’t seasoned actors and honestly, these fresh faces are a breath of fresh air. The film even has its share of romance and the scenes between Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Nirmal Sen and Vega Tamotia as Pritilata Waddedar especially are heartwrenching. You find yourself giggling when Nirmal tries confessing his love to Pritilata but ends up complimenting her combat skills.
Despite being Vega’s Bollywood debut, she still manages to hold her own and stand out in an emotional scene in the film. Manoj Bajpai’s acting prowess takes the film places. Hiwale as the young Jhunku has depicted the anguish a teenager undergoes remarkably well, especially when he’s torn between his father’s expectations and his loyalty to his country.
Don’t overlook this film for it’s a far better film not only in comparison to this week’s releases but also in comparison to other Bollywood historical films that ooze melodrama.
Verdict: Although the film’s pace is a little slow, the film is still guaranteed to move you!
Director: Dr. Bedabrata Pain
Writer: Dr. Bedabrata Pain, Shonali Bose
Cast: Manoj Bajpai, Vega Tamotia, Jaideep Ahlawat, Alexx ONell
Genre: Drama, History
Length: 1 hr 45 mins