The entire cast of Khelein Hum

Adapting a work of literature into a movie is an arduous task. Film-makers have always been fascinated by best-selling books for adaptation into feature films. Even in Hollywood, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Narnia and many more have been successfully adapted from novels by reputed names.

Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is yet another book-to-movie adaptation by Ashutosh Gowariker (based on the book Do And Die: The Chittagong Uprising 1930-34 by Manini Chatterjee); and not the first time Gowariker has revisited the bygone era.

He did it successfully in Lagaan (period film) and Jodhaa Akbar (historical film).

Once the film-maker takes on the task of depicting a chapter from history, it’s imperative that they remain true to the facts, giving an accurate account of what transpired in that period.

But details alone won’t help, it needs to be well dramatised for the big screen.

Gowariker has successfully done that in the past and does it yet again.

Set in 1930s British India, the movie tells the story of a revolution in the peaceful port of Chittagong. One night, five simultaneous attacks take place under a group of unsung heroes, including two determined young women and an idealistic leader (Surjya Sen), a teacher.

The writing (screenplay: Raoul V Randolf and Ashutosh Gowariker) and execution of the film’s material are so credible that you wonder whether the writers and director were part of the revolution.

The Bengali ethos and the behaviour of the characters, recreating the etiquette and body language of people who lived in a different era, along with their attire and styling and also their dwellings, come across as very pragmatic.

Abhishek Bachan as Surjya Sen suit their characters. His character appears fervent, but at the same time truly tranquil, incredibly unperturbed and really unruffled.

Deepika Padukone sheds her glamorous look and appears every bit the character that she illustrates.

Sikander Kher leaves a terrific impression and Vishakha Singh is a complete natural.

Each actor is earnest and sincere to the core. Even the young artists who seem like first-time performers have an unpolluted and uninfluenced approach to acting.

This is one of those rare films that doesn’t compromise on its gracious objectives for the sake of becoming more box-office friendly.

However, although very well made, the film may not appeal to those who relish the customary kitsch and masala. HHHHI - The Mercury