2002 film by Rajkumar Santoshi
The Legend of Bhagat Singh is a 2002 Indian historicalbiographical film directed by Rajkumar Santoshi. The film is about Bhagat Singh, a socialist revolutionary who fought for Indian independence along with fellow members of the Hindustan Republic Association. It features Ajay Devgn as the titular character along with Sushant Singh, D. Santosh and Akhilendra Mishra as the other lead characters. Raj Babbar, Farida Jalal and Amrita Rao play supporting roles. The film chronicles Bhagat's life from his childhood where he witnesses the Jallianwala Bagh massacre until the day he was hanged to death—23 March 1931.
A historical period drama is a work set in a past time period, usually used in the context of film and television. Historical period drama includes historical fiction and romances, adventure films, and swashbucklers. A period piece may be set in a vague or general era such as the Middle Ages or a specific period such as the Roaring Twenties. A religious work can qualify as period drama but not as historical one.
A biographical film, or biopic, is a film that dramatizes the life of a non-fictional or historically-based person or people. Such films show the life of a historical person and the central character's real name is used. They differ from docudrama films and historical drama films in that they attempt to comprehensively tell a single person's life story or at least the most historically important years of their lives.
Rajkumar Santoshi is an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter of Hindi films. Counted as one of the most successful filmmakers in the Hindi film industry, he has received several accolades, including three National Film Awards and six Filmfare Awards.
The film was produced by Kumar and Ramesh Taurani's Tips Industries on a budget of ₹200–250 million (about US$4.2–5.2 million in 2002).[lower-alpha 2] The story and dialogue were written by Santoshi and Piyush Mishra respectively, while Anjum Rajabali drafted the screenplay. K. V. Anand, V. N. Mayekar and Nitin Chandrakant Desai were in charge of the cinematography, editing and production design respectively. Principal photography took place in Agra, Manali, Mumbai and Pune from January to May 2002. The soundtrack, composed by A. R. Rahman, was released on 4 May 2002 to positive reception, with "Mera Rang De Basanti" and "Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna" being well-received in particular.
Tips Industries Limited is one of India's largest corporate houses in the field of music and films. Its main area of interest is music production, promotion and distribution, now also in film production. It has the highest number of gold and platinum discs to their credit in comparison with any other record label in India. Its team of distributors serve more than 1000 wholesalers across the length and breadth of the country who, in turn, serve more than 4,00,000 retailers.
The Indian rupee sign is the currency symbol for the Indian rupee, the official currency of India. Designed by Udaya Kumar, it was presented to the public by the Government of India on 15 July 2010, following its selection through an "open" competition among Indian residents. Before its adoption, the most commonly used symbols for the rupee were Rs, Re or, in texts in Indian languages, an appropriate abbreviation in the language used.
Piyush Mishra is an Indian film and theatre actor, music director, lyricist, singer and scriptwriter. Mishra grew up in Gwalior, and went to graduate from National School of Drama, Delhi in 1986. Thereafter, he started his career in Hindi theatre in Delhi. Over the next decade, he established himself as a theatre director, actor, lyricist and singer. He moved to Mumbai in 2002, receiving acclaim for his acting in Maqbool (2003) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012).
The Legend of Bhagat Singh was released on 7 June 2002 to generally positive reviews, with the direction, story, screenplay, technical aspects and the performances of Devgn and Sushant receiving the most attention. However, the film underperformed at the box office, grossing only ₹129 million (US$2.7 million in 2002).[lower-alpha 2] It went on to win two National Film Awards – Best Feature Film in Hindi and Best Actor for Devgn – and three Filmfare Awards from eight nominations.
In the motion picture industry, a box-office bomb or box-office flop is a film that is considered highly unsuccessful or unprofitable during its theatrical run, often following significant hype regarding its cost, production, or marketing efforts. Generally, any film for which the production and marketing costs exceed the combined revenue recovered after release is considered to have "bombed". The label is generally applied to films that miss earnings projections by a wide margin, particularly when they are very expensive to produce. Although this often occurs in conjunction with middling or poor reviews, critical reception has an imperfect connection to box-office performance.
The National Film Awards is the most prominent film award ceremonies in India. Established in 1954, it has been administered, along with the International Film Festival of India and the Indian Panorama, by the Indian government's Directorate of Film Festivals since 1973.
The National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi is one of the National Film Awards presented annually by the Directorate of Film Festivals, the organisation set up by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, India. It is one of several awards presented for feature films and awarded with Rajat Kamal.
Bhagat Singh was born in British India in 1907. From childhood, he witnesses numerous atrocities committed on fellow Indians by the British, who came to trade under the guise of the East India Company and ended up controlling most of the nation. Bhagat takes a solemn vow to free India from British rule after witnessing the aftermath of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Soon after the massacre, he learns of Mahatma Gandhi's satyagraha policies and supports the non-cooperation movement, which saw thousands of people burning British-made clothing and giving up school, college studies, and government jobs. In 1922, Gandhi calls off the movement after the Chauri Chaura incident. Undaunted, Bhagat decides to be a revolutionary, and, as an adult, joins the Hindustan Republic Association in its struggle for India's independence, ending up in prison for it. Bhagat's father, Kishen, bails him out so that he can get him to run a dairy farm and marry a girl named Mannewali. Bhagat runs away from home, leaving a note saying that his love for the country comes first.
Bhagat Singh was an Indian socialist revolutionary whose two acts of dramatic violence against the British in India and execution at age 23 made him a folk hero of the Indian independence movement.
The British Raj was the rule by the British Crown on the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The rule is also called Crown rule in India, or direct rule in India. The region under British control was commonly called India in contemporaneous usage, and included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, which were collectively called British India, and those princely states ruled by indigenous rulers, but under British tutelage or paramountcy. The whole was also more formally called the Indian Empire. As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, a participating nation in the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936, and a founding member of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.
The East India Company (EIC), also known as the Honourable East India Company (HEIC), East India Trading Company (EITC), or the British East India Company, and informally known as John Company, Company Bahadur, or simply The Company, was an English and later British joint-stock company. It was formed to trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with Mughal India and the East Indies, and later with Qing China. The company ended up seizing control of large parts of the Indian subcontinent, colonised parts of Southeast Asia, and colonised Hong Kong after a war with Qing China.
When Lala Lajpat Rai is beaten to death by the police while protesting against the Simon Commission, Bhagat, along with Shivaram Rajguru, Sukhdev Thapar and Chandra Shekhar Azad, assassinate a police officer named Saunders. Later on in the year 1929, when the British propose the Trade Disputes and Public Safety Bills, Bhagat, along with Batukeshwar Dutt, initiate a bombing at Parliament House. He and Dutt throw the bombs on empty benches thereby not killing anyone. They are subsequently arrested and tried publicly. Bhagat then launches his much-publicised ideas of revolution, stating that he wanted to tell the world about the revolutionaries himself rather than let the British brand them as violent people, citing this as the reason for bombing the assembly. Bhagat soon becomes as popular as Gandhi among the masses, especially the younger generation, labourers and farmers.
Lala Lajpat Rai was an Indian freedom fighter. He played a pivotal role in the Indian Independence movement. He was popularly known as Punjab Kesari. He was one third of the Lal Bal Pal triumvirate. He was also associated with activities of Punjab National Bank and Lakshmi Insurance Company in their early stages in 1894.
The Indian Statutory Commission, commonly referred to as the Simon Commission, was a group of seven British Members of Parliament under the chairmanship of Sir John Simon. The commission arrived in British India in 1928 to study constitutional reform in Britain's largest and most important possession. One of its members was Clement Attlee, of the Labour Party, who became committed to Indian independence by 1934 and achieved that goal as Prime Minister in 1947 in the .granting of independence to India and Pakistan.
Shivaram Hari Rajguru was an Indian revolutionary from Maharashtra, known mainly for his involvement in the assassination of a British Raj police officer. On 23 March 1931 he was hanged by the British government along with Bhagat Singh.
In Central Jail Lahore, Bhagat and all of the other fellow prisoners, including Thapar and Rajguru, undertake a 63-day hunger strike to improve the conditions of Indian political prisoners. Meanwhile, Azad, whom the British had repeatedly failed to capture, is ambushed at the Alfred Park in Allahabad on 27 February 1931. The police surround the entire park leading to a shootout; refusing to be captured by the British, Azad commits suicide with the last remaining bullet in his Colt pistol.
Central Jail Lahore is a prominent jail situated in Lahore, Pakistan at Rakh Chandra. The jail is also known as Kot Lakhpat Jail with reference to its location. The jail houses more than four times the 4000 prisoner capacity it was built for. Prisoners have been murdered in the prison in the past,including Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh
A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance or pressure in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke the feelings of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal, such as a policy change. Most hunger strikers will take liquids but not solid food.
Allahabad, officially known as Prayagraj, and also known as Illahabad and Prayag, is a city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. It is the administrative headquarters of Allahabad district—the most populous district in the state and 13th most populous district in India—and the Allahabad division.
Fearing the growing popularity of the hunger strike amongst the people nationwide, Lord Irwin orders the re-opening of the Saunders' murder case, which leads to death sentences being imposed on Bhagat, Thapar and Rajguru. The Indians hope that Gandhi will use his pact with Irwin as a bargaining chip to save Bhagat, Thapar and Rajguru's lives. Irwin refuses Gandhi's request for their release. Gandhi reluctantly agrees to sign a pact which includes the clause: "Release of political prisoners except for the ones involved in violence". Bhagat, Thapar and Rajguru are hanged in secrecy on 23 March 1931.
In 1998, the film director Rajkumar Santoshi read several books on the socialist revolutionary, Bhagat Singh, and felt that a biopic would help revive interest in him. Although Manoj Kumar made a film about Bhagat in 1965, titled Shaheed, Santoshi felt that despite being "a great source of inspiration on the lyrics and music front", it did not "dwell on Bhagat Singh's ideology and vision". In August 2000, the screenwriter Anjum Rajabali mentioned to Santoshi about his work on Har Dayal, whose revolutionary activities inspired Udham Singh.[lower-alpha 3] Santoshi then persuaded Rajabali to draft a script based on Bhagat's life as he was inspired by Udham Singh.
Santoshi gave Rajabali a copy of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, K. K. Khullar's biography of the revolutionary. Rajabali said that reading the book "created an intense curiosity in me about the mind of this man. I definitely wanted to know more about him." His interest in Bhagat intensified after he read The Martyr: Bhagat Singh Experiments in Revolution (2000) by journalist Kuldip Nayar. The following month, Rajabali formally began his research on Bhagat while admitting to Santoshi that it was "a difficult task". Gurpal Singh, a Film and Television Institute of India graduate, and internet blogger Sagar Pandya assisted him. Santoshi received input from Kultar Singh, Bhagat's younger brother, who told the director he would have his full co-operation if the film accurately depicted Bhagat's ideologies.
Rajabali wanted to "recreate the world that Bhagat Singh lived in", and his research required him to "not only understand the man, but also the influences on him, the politics of that era". In a 2000 interview with Sharmila Taliculam of Rediff.com, Rajabali said that the film would "deal with Bhagat Singh, the man, rather than the freedom fighter". Many aspects of Bhagat's life, including his relationship with fiancée Mannewali, were derived from Piyush Mishra's 1994 play Gagan Damama Bajyo; Mishra was subsequently credited with writing the film's dialogues.
A. G. Noorani's 1996 book, The Trial of Bhagat Singh: Politics of Justice, provided the basis for the trial sequences. Gurpal obtained additional information from 750 newspaper clippings of The Tribune dated from 1928 to 1931, and from Bhagat's prison notebooks. These gave Rajabali "an idea of what had appealed to the man, the literary and intellectual influences that impacted him in that period". By the end of 2000, Santoshi and Rajabali completed work on the script and showed it to Kumar and Ramesh Taurani of Tips Industries; both were impressed by it. The Taurani brothers agreed to produce the film under their banner and commence filming after Santoshi had finished his work on Lajja (2001).
Sunny Deol was initially cast as Bhagat, but he left the project owing to schedule conflicts and differences with Santoshi over his remuneration. Santoshi then preferred to cast new faces instead of established actors but was not pleased with the performers who auditioned.Ajay Devgn (then known as Ajay Devgan) was finally chosen for the lead character because Santoshi felt he had "the eyes of a revolutionary. His introvert nature conveys loud and clear signals that there is a volcano inside him ready to burst." After Devgn performed a screen test dressed as Bhagat, Santoshi was "pleasantly surprised" to see Devgn's face closely resemble Singh's and cast him in the part. The Legend of Bhagat Singh marked Devgn's second collaboration with Santoshi after Lajja. Devgn called the film "the most challenging assignment" in his career. He had not watched Shaheed before signing up for the project. To prepare for the role, Devgn studied all the references Santoshi and Rajabali had procured to develop the film's script. He also lost weight to more closely resemble Bhagat.
Whatever we have read in school and learnt in history is not even 1% of the kind of person he [Bhagat] was. I don't think he got his due ... When Rajkumar Santoshi narrated the script to me, I was taken aback because this man had done so much and his motive was not just independence of India. He had predicted the challenges that we face in our country today. From riots to corruption, he had predicted that and he wanted to fight that.
— Devgn on his perception of Bhagat
Santoshi chose Akhilendra Mishra to play Azad as he also resembled his character. In addition to reading Shiv Verma's Sansmritiyan, Mishra read Bhagwan Das Mahore's and Sadashiv Rao Malkapurkar's accounts of the revolutionary. Because of his astrological beliefs, he even obtained Azad's horoscope to determine his personality. In an interview with Rediff.com's Lata Khubchandani, Mishra mentioned that while informing his father about his role of Azad, he revealed to him that they originally hailed from Kanpur, the same place where Azad's ancestors were from. This piece of information encouraged Mishra to play Azad.
Sushant Singh and D. Santosh (in his cinematic debut) were cast as Bhagat's friends and fellow members of the Hindustan Republican Association, Sukhdev Thapar and Shivaram Rajguru. Santoshi believed their faces resembled those of the two revolutionaries. To learn about their characters, Sushant, like Mishra, read Sansmritiyan while Santosh visited Rajguru's family members. The actors were also chosen according to their characters' backgrounds. This was true in the case of Santosh and also Amitabh Bhattacharjee, who played Jatin Das, the man who devised the bomb for Bhagat and Batukeshwar Dutt. Santosh and Bhattacharjee were from Maharashtra and West Bengal like Rajguru and Das.Raj Babbar and Farida Jalal were cast as Bhagat's parents, Kishen Singh and Vidyawati Singh, while Amrita Rao played Mannewali, Bhagat's fiancée.
Principal photography began in January 2002 and was completed in May. The first schedule of filming took place in Agra and Manali following which the unit moved to the Film City studio in Mumbai. According to the film's cinematographer, K. V. Anand, around 85 sets were constructed at Film City by Nitin Chandrakant Desai who was in charge of the production design, and "99 percent of the background" featured in the film was sets. Desai used sepia tint throughout the film to create a period feel.
Additional scenes depicting the massacre of 1919 were filmed at Jallianwala Bagh; some of them were shot between 9 pm and 6 am. The scenes at Jallianwala Bagh and other surrounding locations in Amritsar at the beginning of the film feature Nakshdeep Singh as the younger Bhagat. Santoshi selected Nakshdeep after receiving photographs of the boy from his father, Komal Singh, who played Mannewali's father.
Kultar stayed with the production unit for seven days during the outdoor location shooting in Pune. Both Santoshi and Devgn appreciated the interactions they had with Kultar, noting that he provided "deep insights into his brother's life". Kultar was pleased with the sincerity of the cast and crew and shared private letters written by Bhagat with them. The song "Pagdi Sambhal Jatta" was the last part to be filmed. A sequence in the song featuring Devgn appearing between two factions of backup Bhangra dancers took three takes to be completed.The Legend of Bhagat Singh was made on a budget of ₹200 – 250 million (about US$4.15 – 5.18 million in 2002).[lower-alpha 1][lower-alpha 2]
A. R. Rahman composed the soundtrack and score for The Legend of Bhagat Singh, marking his first collaboration with Santoshi. Sameer wrote the lyrics for the songs. In an interview with Arthur J. Pais of Rediff.com, Rahman said that Santoshi wanted him to compose songs that would stand apart from his other projects like Lagaan (2001) and Zubeidaa (2001). Rahman took care to compose the tunes for "Mera Rang De Basanti" in a slow-paced manner to avoid comparisons with the songs in Shaheed, which he and Santoshi found to be fast-paced. Rahman followed the same procedure for "Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna". He created a softer tune, saying that the "song is pictured on men who have fasted for over a month. How can I compose a high-sounding tune for that song?" Despite this, Rahman admitted that "Des Mere Des" had "some strains" from Lagaan's music. Rahman took "Santoshi's commitment to the film" as a source of inspiration to make an album that was "flavorsome[sic] and different." Rahman experimented with Punjabi music more than he had done before on his previous soundtracks, receiving assistance from Sukhwinder Singh and Sonu Nigam. The soundtrack was completed within two months, with "Des Mere Des" recorded in an hour.
The soundtrack, marketed by Tips, was released on 4 May 2002 in New Delhi. The songs, especially "Mera Rang De Basanti" and "Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna", received favourable reviews. A review carried by The Hindu said that while "Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna" had a "forceful" impact, "Mera Rang De Basanti" and "Pagdi Sambhal Jatta" were "not the boom-boom types but subtly tuned". The review praised Rahman's ability "to impart the sombre and poignant mood" in all the album's songs "so well that despite being subdued, it retains the patriotic fervour". Seema Pant of Rediff.com said that "Mera Rang De Basanti", "Mahive Mahive" and "Jogiya Jogiya" were "well rendered" by their respective singers and called "Shora So Pahchaniye" an "intense track, both lyrically as well as composition wise". Pant praised Sukhwinder Singh's "exquisite rendition" of "Pagdi Sambhal Jatta" and described the duet version of "Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna" as having "been beautifully composed". She appreciated how the "tabla, santoor and flute gives this slow and soft number a classical touch." A critic from Sify said the music is "good". While Pant and the Sify reviewer concurred with Rahman that "Des Mere Des" was similar to Lagaan's music, the review in The Hindu compared the song to "Bharat Hum Ko Jaan Se Pyaara Hain" ("Thamizha Thamizha") from Roja (1992).
|1.||"Mera Rang De Basanti"||Sonu Nigam, Manmohan Waris||05:07|
|2.||"Pagdi Sambhal Jatta"||Sukhwinder Singh||04:45|
|3.||"Mahive Mahive"||Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan||05:28|
|4.||"Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna"||Sonu Nigam||01:47|
|5.||"Dil Se Niklegi"||Sukhwinder Singh||03:31|
|6.||"Shora So Pahchaniye"||Karthik, Raqueeb Alam, Sukhwinder Singh||01:22|
|7.||"Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna" (Sad)||Sonu Nigam,|
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