Back in 2010 filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker had tried his hands at yet another historic chapter of India, the Chittagong uprising and had roped in Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone for the same. However, his star studded affair couldn't quite capture the essence of those times and ended up falling flat on its face. Two years later, a small time filmmaker Bedabrata Pain fought his own battle to get his film on the same topic released. Whether this one makes an impact or not let's find out.
Chittagong is about that little chapter from a little part of British ruled Bengal that got lost in the history of India. The incident happened in the 1930s where a group of teenagers led by school teacher Suriya Sen (Manoj Bajpayee) takes on the British military. It also shows the transformation and rise of the youngest gangly soldier Jhunku (Delzad Hiwale) to the freedom fighter Subodh Roy.
Much against Gowariker's Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Say where the freedom struggle is shown through the eyes of Suriya Sen, Chittagong follows the battle for freedom through the eyes of the 14 year old Jhunku who with battling the uncertainties of the freedom struggle also overcomes his own nagging self-doubts and uncertainties.
Filmmaker Bedabrata Pain meticulously recreates the lives of those times and makes for a believable watch. He infuses enough emotions within the story that the victory eventually tugs at your heartstrings filling you with a surge of pride.
He also breathes life in characters like Nirmal Sen, Pritilata Waddekar by roping in brilliant actors like Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Vega Tamotia.
The film sets off on a brisk pace never for once boring you. The graph of the film has movement for you to be drawn to their story. Most of the credit belongs to the stellar cast that keeps you glued to your seats. Manoj Bajpayee excels as Suriya Sen while Nawazuddin Siddiqui complements him too well.
Cinematography by Eric Zimmerman is top notch and deserves a special mention here. Samir Chanda's production design and Neelnajana Ghosh's costumes also are commendable. As a team, the trio brings the British India of the 1930s to life. Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is soulful and melodic and goes well with the film.
Chittagong may not make a deafening sound at the box-office as a multi-budget, mega starrer offering but it surely is one rare gem that deserves to be seen and appreciated.
Critic: Mansha Rastogi
(3.5 / 5) : Very Good