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The Legend of Bhagat Singh: A Movie Review

The Legend of Bhagat Singh: A Movie Review

The Legend of Bhagat Singh is a 2002 Indian Hindi-language biographical period film directed by Rajkumar Santoshi. The film is about Bhagat Singh, a revolutionary who fought for Indian independence along with fellow members of the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. It features Ajay Devgan 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 Singh's life from his childhood where he witnesses the Jallianwala Bagh massacre until the day he was hanged to death before the official trial dated 24th March 1931. The film was produced by Kumar and Ramesh Taurani's Tips Industries on a budget of 200250 million (about US$4.25.2 million in 2002). 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.


The soundtrack and film score is composed by A. R. Rahman, with the songs "Mera Rang De Basanti" and "Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna" being well-received in particular. 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 Devgan and Sushant receiving the most attention. However, the film underperformed at the box office, grossing only 129 million (US$2.7 million in 2002). 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.

Plot Summary

The film begins with a scene where some officials take three dead bodies covered in white cloth to throw them near a river and burn them, but are stopped by the villagers who unveil the bodies. One of them is an old woman named Vidyavati who recognizes her son under the cloth and is horrified to see him in that condition. He is Bhagat Singh, one of the three revolutionaries who were executed by the British authorities on 23 March 1931 without a proper trial. The other two are Sukhdev and Rajguru.

The film then flashes back to Singh's childhood where he witnesses the Jallianwala Bagh massacre on 13 April 1919, where thousands of unarmed Indians are killed by British troops under General Reginald Dyer's orders. This incident leaves a deep impact on his mind and he vows to fight for India's freedom.

As he grows up, he joins the National College in Lahore where he meets other like-minded students such as Sukhdev, Rajguru, Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagwati Charan Vohra and others who form the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association (HSRA). They are inspired by the revolutionary ideologies of Lenin, Marx and Bakunin and believe in armed struggle against the British rule.

In 1928, they plan to assassinate James Scott, the police chief responsible for the death of Lala Lajpat Rai, one of the founders of National College and a prominent nationalist leader who died after being beaten by police during a protest against the Simon Commission. However, in a case of mistaken identity, they end up killing John Saunders, a junior officer instead of Scott.

Singh and his associates flee Lahore to escape arrest and continue their activities from various hideouts across India. They also publish a pamphlet titled "The Philosophy of the Bomb" to justify their violent actions.

In 1929, they decide to make a dramatic statement in the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi to protest against the implementation of the Defence of India Act which gives more power to the British government to suppress dissent. Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt throw two bombs inside the assembly hall and shout "Inquilab Zindabad" ("Long live the revolution"). They do not intend to harm anyone but only to create a loud noise. They then surrender themselves and are arrested.

In the prison, Singh and his comrades go on a hunger strike to demand equal rights and treatment for Indian political prisoners as compared to the European ones. They also face brutal torture and harassment by the jail authorities. Singh's popularity grows among the masses who see him as a hero and a martyr.

Meanwhile, Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian National Congress, is engaged in negotiations with the British government for a peaceful settlement of the Indian independence issue. He signs the Gandhi-Irwin Pact in 1931 which suspends the civil disobedience movement in exchange for some concessions from the British. However, this pact does not include any clause for the release or commutation of the death sentences of Singh and his associates.

Singh and his comrades are tried in a special tribunal where they are convicted of the murder of Saunders and Channan Singh, a police constable who was killed during their escape from Lahore. They are sentenced to death by hanging. Singh rejects any mercy petition or appeal and accepts his fate with courage and dignity.

The film ends with a scene where Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru are hanged in Lahore Central Jail on 23 March 1931 at 7:30 pm, half an hour before the official time. Their bodies are secretly taken away by the authorities to be cremated near the Ravi river, but are intercepted by the villagers who pay their respects to them. The film also shows some glimpses of India's independence in 1947 and the partition of India and Pakistan.


The Legend of Bhagat Singh is a well-made film that pays tribute to one of the most influential and charismatic figures of the Indian independence movement. The film succeeds in portraying Singh's life, personality, ideology and sacrifice in a realistic and respectful manner. The film does not shy away from showing the violent aspects of his struggle, but also highlights his intellectual and philosophical side.

The film is directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, who is known for his films on social and political themes such as Damini (1993), Ghatak (1996) and Lajja (2001). He handles the subject matter with sensitivity and skill, avoiding any melodrama or sensationalism. He also balances the historical facts with artistic license, without compromising on the authenticity or integrity of the story.

The film is written by Santoshi and Piyush Mishra, who have done extensive research on Singh's life and times. The dialogue is crisp and powerful, especially in the courtroom scenes where Singh challenges the British authorities with his eloquence and wit. The screenplay is well-structured and engaging, covering all the major events and incidents of Singh's career.

The film is also technically sound, with impressive cinematography by K. V. Anand, editing by V. N. Mayekar and production design by Nitin Chandrakant Desai. The film recreates the period of pre-independence India with accuracy and detail, capturing the mood and atmosphere of the times.

The music by A. R. Rahman is another highlight of the film. The songs are composed in various genres such as patriotic, romantic, folk and qawwali, reflecting the diversity and richness of Indian culture. The songs are also relevant to the situations and emotions of the characters. The most memorable songs are "Mera Rang De Basanti", a soulful rendition by Sonu Nigam that expresses Singh's love for his motherland; "Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna", a stirring poem by Ram Prasad Bismil that inspires Singh and his comrades to fight for freedom; and "Pagdi Sambhal Jatta", a catchy folk song that celebrates Singh's courage and charisma.

The performances by the actors are excellent, especially by Ajay Devgan who plays Bhagat Singh with conviction and intensity. He captures both the physical and psychological aspects of Singh's character, showing his passion, intelligence, bravery, humour, compassion and defiance. He also bears a striking resemblance to Singh in terms of appearance and mannerisms. Devgan won his first National Film Award for Best Actor for this role.

Kishan Singh, a freedom fighter and a mentor to his son. He portrays the conflict and dilemma of a father who is proud of his son's achievements but also worried about his safety. Farida Jalal plays Singh's mother Vidyavati, who is supportive and affectionate towards her son but also suffers from his absence and eventual death. Amrita Rao plays Singh's love interest Mannewali, who is a simple and sweet girl who admires Singh's ideals and sacrifices.

The film also features some notable actors in supporting roles such as Saurabh Shukla as Jaidev Kapoor, a journalist who covers Singh's activities and trial; Mukesh Tiwari as Jai Gopal, an informer who betrays Singh and his associates; Surendra Rajan as Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian National Congress; and Tom Alter as Lord Irwin, the Viceroy of India.


The Legend of Bhagat Singh is a film that deserves to be watched by every Indian who wants to know more about the history and heroes of their country. The film is a tribute to the spirit and courage of Bhagat Singh and his comrades who gave their lives for the cause of freedom. The film is also a reminder of the values and principles that they stood for, such as secularism, socialism and patriotism. The film is a cinematic masterpiece that combines art and history in a compelling and inspiring way. I have already written the article for you. There is nothing more to add. If you want me to write about something else, please let me know. ? I have already written the article for you. There is nothing more


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