Masterda, a.k.a. Surya Sen is a Bengali true legend. Like the fictional Feluda and Ghanada, one is challenged to think of actors who would do justice to the stature of these real life superheroes. This weekend sees the release of the much awaited Abhishek starrer.
The Times of India review said,
"Based on the book Do and Die: The Chittagong Uprising 1930-1934 by ManiniChatterjee, Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey documents a chapter from Indian history and showcases the exploits of real-life heroes. Led by Surjya Sen ( Abhishek Bachchan), an ordinary school teacher, the gang of revolutionaries, comprised mainly by teenagers, unleashes a subterranean raid against the British occupation in distant Chittagong.
On April 18, 1930, they simultaneously attack several British outposts -- the armoury, the cantonment,the telegraph office, the European club -- with their indigenous bombs, weapons and raw valour. This leads to four years of hide and seek, where the patriots try to escape the wrath of the Raj that strikes back ruthlessly. Was this the brave, albeit relatively unknown beginning of India's freedom struggle?"
It goes on to say
"The high point of Gowariker's film is the fact that it combines high-octane drama with a high degree of restraint. The film unfolds like a relentless thriller with loads of action involving the band of revolutionaries as they go about their bloody business. Yet no one hollers the national anthem at youor grows hysterical with patriotic pulp. Instead, the director gently salutes the spirit of nationalism in a seminal scene where the bunch of teenage revolutionaries discover the hypnotic allure of a hymn like `vande mataram' while resting under the shade of the trees in their village. And the fact that it all begins with a bid to get back their football field makes the teenage uprising even more endearing.
The film has an interesting ensemble cast of young boys who enlist in their local school teacher's (Abhishek Bachchan) desi army. Abishek's Bachchan's Surjya Sen is simple, uncluttered and played straight from the heart as are Deepika Padukone's Kalpana Dutta, Vishakha Singh's Pritilata Waddedar and Sikandar Kher's Nirmal Sen. Like the revolution, the romance too is underplayed and both Deepika and Vishakha create a smouldering, yet silent ardour on screen for their respective heroes. For there isn't much time -- and opportunity -- for love under the shadow of the bullet and the bomb, is there? The film maker has tried to recreate the 1930s Chittagong in Goa, but the authenticity of the period piece doesn't suffer. Both the styling and the cinematography of the film exhibit an eye for detail. But it is the director's narrative style and his attempt to re-tell history through a racy-pacy tenor that gives the film its movement and manages to drive the message home."