Sunday, 14 October 2012

The legend of Master-da : Chittagong

Generally my wife is not too demanding and very understanding about my limitations as a good husband but whenever she wants something to be done she makes it sure that it is done in an emphatic manner . And me too, feel glad to carry out her instructions in the tradition of the most obedient husbands. She is not an avid movie goer and likes to watch movies that are different from the run of the mill kind. Last week she had announced of her desire to watch the movie  Chittagong and I happily agreed to take her along as I too wanted to watch the movie. 

Then I discovered that the movie has got a very bad release at the Mumbai distribution circuit with lesser number of shows.I also noticed that other than a 12.15 p.m. show at Max Cinemas Nerul , it was not running at any other cinema at Navi Mumbai. Inwardly, I was relieved that this only daily show at Navi Mumbai was running in my neighbourhood. But online booking is not enabled for this cinema and we generally watch movies here the old fashioned way , by advance booking manually.

To confirm the showtimings, I called the Cinema thrice in the morning but somehow could not get connected. So right at 12 noon we were there , me and wife, before the small ticket counter. Imagine our surprise when we were informed that the  movie Chittagong was not having any show there. Like us there were a few other families too. In fact one of my colleagues and FB  friend @Pinaki Halder too faced the same predicament as I found him in front of the ticket counter along with his daughter. On pointing out that the newspaper advertisements carried the name of the theatre , the semi-literate counter person expressed his helplessness and directed me to speak to some Manager sort of person on mobile. By this time I was exasparated and with the loss of face in front of my wife, I was getting angry too. Before I could blow my top, she led me away from the scene and we returned home.

But I was not satisfied and then after a little research, thanks to internet and Google , I located a theatre at Bhandup (HDIL Broadway, Dreams Mall) for which tickets were available online. The theatre was about 27 kms away from my house. I booked two tickets for the 4.30 p.m. show. While booking the tickets, I noticed that we were the only two persons who have booked the tickets for the show. While it would definitely be a most pleasant and welcome experience for both of us to watch a romantic adult movie together in an otherwise empty hall, for the movie which we were visiting , it was an ominous sign.. With much apprehension and trepidation,we embarked upon our journey to watch a movie. I was reminded of the excitement which we used to have in our good old salad days when we decided to watch a movie. Only this time it was a matter of angry determination  which led me to Bhandup about which I knew very little and there was a distinct possibility of getting dejected with the outcome of the whole exercise.

My son who was at Dadar and returning back home also became excited with this adventurous streak displayed by his otherwise boring progenitor and probably with a fair degree of pity and empathy decided that he too should join the fun. He was directed to reach the theatre directly and have his lunch somewhere on the way. With all these arrangements, we started off at about 3 p.m. from our house. The only silver lining was that I had visited the mall twice before and had a fair idea of its location. 
Saw the movie Chittagong today. The first reaction as the movie unfolded was of surprise. I went with the expectation of watching a documentary like and slow but decent movie but what i got to watch was far more superior fare. The movie touches the heart. Its beauty lies in its simplicity and unpretentious screenplay. Contrary to my prejudice, it is not about Masterda but based on another revolutionary, Mr Subodh Roy (Jhunku) who at 15 years of age was the youngest freedom fighter to be sent to the Cellular jail , Andamans. Also other characters of Ganesh Ghosh, Anant Singh, Loknath Bal, Nirmal Sen and above all Pritilata Waddedar, the first female freedom fighter to die in an encounter with the British are brought out very well along with the towering figure of Surya Sen.
The beautiful camerawork blends very well with the simple narrative structure of the story and brings out the essence of Chittagong. The period is recreated very well and art direction ,set designing and costumes depict the place, time and the characters wonderfully. The music by Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy is probably the best contributor to this movie . It literally creates the scenes from the pictures . I have not seen Ashutosh Gowarikar's Khelenge Hum Jee Jaan se . So will neither comment nor compare the two movies.
The director has done a tremondous job and should be really applauded for this movie. I always maintain that we cannot match hollywood with action, stunt or massively mounted sets . Indian movies should dwell more on the emotional quotient. This is what has been done in this movie. The cast of actors are mostly drawn from the team of Gangs of Wasseypur, probably because Anurag Kashyap is connected with this movie. Manoj Vajpayee in the role of Masterda brings life to the role but all other supporting cast including Nawajuddin Siddiqui have displayed a brilliant teamwork where everybody has coplemented the other's acting more like that seen on stage. Probably Barry John must have some hand in this. He himself is excellent in the role of the conscious District Magistrate feeling the pangs of conscience but with a typically stoic British stiff upper lip.
 Only 27 persons were in the hall to watch the movie. I watched them closely during interval and the end. None of them seemed to have disliked the movie. Everybody waited for the title to roll out at the end. So what is wrong with the movie ? Why are the distributors and cinemahalls not encouraging such movies? Why do people take their children to watch Chhamak Chhallo and mindless violence of Agneepath but not the simplicity and the piece of history. I will probably never get the answer. But request everyone to see the movie. If any of you my friends, after watching the movie,claim that you did not like it then I will refund the price of the ticket. But the best thing for me was that both my son and wife liked the movie very much.
As a child we were often given his example as the epitome of a revolutionary and a freedom fighter just a notch below Netaji.. Much before I learnt about Che Guevara, Surya Sen aka Masterda along with Bhagat Singh had  fired my imagination as the ultimate in patriotism. I still remember a bestseller book in Bengali named "Aami Subhash Bolchhi" which I read when I was just about 12-13 years old where the exploits of Masterda and the Chittagong armoury raid was described at length. 

Actually Surya Sen is not from a distant past in our history . On calculation I find that he died just about 28 years before I was born and was born after my grandfather. But the collective amnesia which have covered us , maybe because of our efforts to discover our national identity just after independence and then to become an economic power, have probably made us forget and discard everything connected with the freedom struggle and the period under British rule . Except for the mandatory and inescapable reference to the Mahatma, everything else has been relegated as sentimental and useless stuff which has no relevance in our quest to live in a better world, materialistically.

From my interactions with people everyday,more so in Mumbai, sometimes I wonder how we Indians are living our lives without any sense of history, geography or society at large. People are so much disinterested about knowing anything that doesn't help them in getting admission in a good school, buy a new flat,make gains in the share market,earn more salary and bonus or take them or their children to a foreign country that they are happily erasing all references to their connection with the society and its fundamentals.Maybe what I am saying will offend many but I think it is necessary. I don't claim to be a messiah or someone different from others. I share the blame too by having the same traits.

Coming back to what I had mentioned. A revolutionary freedom fighter who waged an armed struggle with the might of the British empire, someone who led  a kind of guerilla outfit  long before guerilla strategy became fashionable after being used by the Latin American groups is forgotten. And to think of it he was a  person from the generation of my grandfather. Someday our children will also forget and  care less about their grandfathers and will not bother about the times which we have lived.

But have the things really changed ? Is there nothing to be learnt from history ? Are Engineering MBA combinations with fat salaries the pinnacle of achievement in life ?  These are some useless questions which bothers me nowadays, I am afraid.

But the silver lining is that the director of the movie Chittagong was a NASA engineer .And the current heartthrob of the nation  AK is also an IIT graduate. Some good things still happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment