Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey

Adapting a work of literature into a movie is an arduous task. Satyajit Ray's 'Apu Trilogy' (Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar) was based on two Bengali novels written by Bibhuthibhushan Bandopadhyay. Ray's Shatranj Ke Khiladi was based on Munshi Premchand's short story of the same name. In fact, film-makers have always been fascinated by best-selling books/novels for adapting into feature films. Mira Nair's The Nameshake, P.C. Barua, Bimal Roy and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas, Pradeep Sarkar's Parineeta, Rajkumar Hirani's 3 Idiots, Atul Agnihotri's Hello and the recent Aisha have been adapted from literary works. Even in Hollywood, Lord Of The Rings, Harry Potter, Narnia and many more have been successfully adapted from novels by reputed names.

However, if you analyze the past, you will realize that not all movies adapted from novels/short stories have set the cash registers jingling at the box-office. Films like Pinjar, Paheli, Raincoat and international experiments like Bride And Prejudice and The Mistress Of Spices have found very few takers in the past.

This is not the first time Ashutosh Gowariker has adapted a book into a film. Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is yet another book-to-movie adaptation by this talented storyteller [this one is based on the book 'Do And Die: The Chittagong Uprising 1930-34' by Manini Chatterjee]. Again, this is not the first time Ashutosh Gowariker has revisited the bygone era. He did it successfully in Lagaan [period], then Jodhaa Akbar [historical] and now Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey [period].

Recreating the bygone era is indeed demanding, laborious and strenuous. It's a challenge to present the era convincingly. Besides extensive detailing to lend authenticity, the director carries the responsibility of making the characters come alive to the present-day generation. Gowariker has successfully done that in the past and does it successfully yet again in Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey.

Once the film-maker takes on the task of depicting a chapter from history, it's imperative that he/she remains factual to the depiction of the revolution, giving an accurate account of what actually transpired in that period. But details alone won't help, it needs to be well dramatized for the big screen. There's a vast difference in the style novels are written, but one needs to take extra care to make it film friendly. While I may not be able to comment on whether Gowariker has been faithful to the book or tampered with it or implemented some changes, which may be necessary to suit the tastes of the present-day spectators and make it more palatable, I would definitely like to say that what comes across on screen is very absorbing, truly informative and exceptionally inspiring.

Final word? The expectations from Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey are minimal, but you can't overlook the fact that it's a genuinely honest effort that needs to be encouraged and appreciated. I would like to add here that the promotional posters/billboards/promos don't create any impact whatsoever. Wish the makers would've looked into this very important aspect as well!

1930, British India: In the province of undivided Bengal lies the sleepy, peaceful port of Chittagong. In this unassuming little town, a revolution is about to begin; a revolution which will forever wake all of Chittagong and inspire the entire nation.

On the whole, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, based on the Chittagong rebellion, is an enlightening experience of a poignant, but little-known chapter in history. It's a film of immense significance which evokes a colossal patriotic fervor. A motion picture like Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey isn't created targeting the box-office solely. It's also made for the gratification of the senses. And that it does in sufficient measure. In an industry obsessed by opening weekend business and box-office records, this is one of those rare films that doesn't compromise on its gracious objectives for the sake of becoming more box-office friendly. At the same time, a film like Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, although very well made, may not appeal to those who relish the customary kitsch and masala. Therefore, the film will have to rely on a very strong word of mouth to create any kind of an impression or impact at the box-office.

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