A revolution in his eyes
Ajay Devgan in and as The Legend Of Bhagat Singh
After a hectic shooting schedule in Agra and Manali,
director Raj Kumar Santoshi does not show any sign of fatigue as he works
towards the completion of his latest venture The Legend Of Bhagat Singh at Mumbai's suburban Film
Santoshi, who has the reputation of being one of the slowest filmmakers in
the industry, is determined to finish his project before Dharmendra's home
production 23 March 1931 --
Shaheed on the life of the martyr Shaheed Bhagat Singh
(starring Bobby Deol in the title role).
A confident Santoshi states, "I have made an authentic film. I did not cast
Aishwarya Rai simply because her presence in a miniscule role would leave
the audience asking for more. I want the people to forget for those three
hours that they are living in 2002. I want to transport them completely
into the pre-Independence days. I am making a historical, not a
Interestingly, Santoshi first wanted a newcomer to play Bhagat Singh. "But
Ajay Devgan came closest to my perception of Bhagat Singh. This boy has the
eyes of a revolutionary. His introvert nature conveys loud and clear
signals that there is a volcano inside him ready to burst. As for Sukhdev
and Rajguru [Bhagat Singh's comrades], the selection was done by the
computer -- those who matched best were chosen," says the director.
For now, a college festival dance is being picturised. A group of boys
donning red pagdis
[turbans] do a bhangra
[Punjabi dance] to A R Rahman's catchy number Pagdi sambhal jatta. They split up in opposite
directions and Devgan, wearing a yellow turban, appears between the two
factions. The shot is okayed after three attempts.
"Apart from this song, my film is complete and ready for release in June,"
Santoshi explains. "We have not done anything in a hurry. We started our
film much before the Deols did. There is no need for us to compromise in
terms of quality."
Shrugging off comparisons with the 1965 Shaheed, Santoshi says, "I have not recreated Manoj
Kumar's Shaheed. My
film goes beyond that. Manoj's film was a great source of inspiration on
the lyrics and music front, but he didn't dwell on Bhagat Singh's ideology
and vision, which I have. In my film, you will realise that Gandhiji could have saved Bhagat
He continues, "I have not distorted history. In fact, I have touched even
those aspects of Singh's life which do not find a mention in history. His
younger brother Kultar Singh stayed with us for seven days during our shoot
in Pune and gave deep insights into his brother's life. Besides, I made
Ajay read a lot on Bhagat Singh."
Pack up. Ajay Devgan joins us. "This film is the most challenging
assignment in my career and I hope people appreciate the research and
effort we have put in," says the reel life Bhagat Singh.
Raj Babbar and Farida Jalal play Bhagat Singh's parents. Amrita Rao, who
made her debut in the recent Ab Ke
Baras, plays the girl who loved Bhagat Singh so deeply that she
remained unmarried all her life and was known as Bhagat Singh's widow.
Produced by Tips' Kumar S Taurani and Ramesh S Taurani, The Legend Of Bhagat Singh also stars
Akhilendra Mishra (Arjan of Lagaan) as Chandrashekar Azad, Sushant Singh ( of
Jungle fame) as Sukhdev
and D Santosh as Rajguru.