The Deols bring to the screen the life and tale of Bhagat Singh, in an epic large screen fprmat with sweeping scenes, one of the pioneers of the armed struggle in pre-independent India. Director Guddu Dhanoa takes on the mammoth task of directing the Sunny-Bobby Deol Goliath. Going back into History, they bring to life the tale of the young martyr and revolutionary leader who caught the nation`s imagination with his fight for freedom against the mighty British Empire. The film starts at Lahore, where a young Bhagat Singh (Bobby Deol) resides in a household which is committed to the freedom movement for a free and independent India. As a young kid, his first tryst with the freedom movement comes when he sees his uncle (who has just broken out of prison) who comes home in the middle of the night, only to bid farewell and leave the country to collect funds for the freedom movement. So taken in is he by the freedom movement, that he even buries sticks in the ground, because he thinks they will grow into more rifles to fight the British rulers.
Then comes the Jalianwala Baug massacre, which leaves a deep impact on young Bhagat Singh`s mind. He goes to the massacre site and fills his lunch box with the blood stained soil in remembrance of the carnage committed by the British. While in college, he makes a decision to commit his life to the freedom movement. He takes leave of his parents after rejecting the idea of marriage and joins the ranks of another legendary revolutionary, Chandrashekhar Azad (played by Sunny Deol). Their common goal -- releasing India from the clutches of the British Rule - soon make them fast friends. With the help of like-minded men such as Rajguru, Sukhdev and Gopal, they form the Hindustan Socialist Republican Party.
John Simon (known for the Simon commission) comes to India to determine how much freedom be given to the Indians. All political parties decide to boycott the commission when it plans to visit the major cities of India. In Lahore, Lala Lajpatrai leads a peaceful march in protest against the commission. Though it is a non-violent protest, the police chief, Scott, orders a lathi charge on the crowd. In the ensuing chaos, Lala Lajpatrai is severely injured and succumbs to his injuries later. Bhagat Singh, who was an eye-witness to the entire event, vows to take revenge and with the help of his friends -- Azad, Rajguru and Sukhdev plots to kill Scott. Unfortunately they kill Mr. Sanders, a junior officer, in a case of mistaken identity.
After that, he along with B K Dutta carry out another daring act. Bhagat Singh throws bombs in the Legislative Assembly. His intention is not to kill anyone but to bring awareness among the people and get the world`s attention. Both Bhagat Singh and Dutta court arrest. After being tortured in prison for months, he is finally sentenced and hanged to death on 23rd March 1931; a day earlier than the sentenced date, and his body quickly disposed off and cremated.
The first thing that strikes you in this star-studded extravaganza is a constant knocking at the door, almost in every other scene, bringing with it a sense of deja vu. As also liberally interspersed songs in the film. The latter is added at the drop of a hat. This actually slows down the pace and tends to drag the narrative a bit and do not seem to prop up the film at all. Almost all the stars break into song and dance, with no heed to smooth continuity of the film. Action director Guddu Dhanoa is a past master at action and explosions, but for that special feel of a `historical touch`, a far more `into it` director was required. One with a feel for slow narrative buildng into a tempo gradually. Bobby Deol, though hampered by an obviously rushed direction, raises quite an applause with a poised and matured performance. He surprises all with a subdued and underplayed, rather emotional show of talent, showing that he has come of age as an actor.
And given more roles with depth, will go far. However, the performance with the `punch` (`pun`ch intended) comes from big brother Sunny Deol who muscles his way into the limelight in his brief appearance as Chandrashekhar Azad. He delivers a power-packed performance once again, proving that when it comes to pulling the rug from under his fans` feet and wowing them with sheer power, he is king. Rahul Dev as Sukhdev makes his presence felt, while Amrita Singh (who makes her comeback) as Bobby`s mother seems out of sorts and a wee bit miscast. The role demands a far more mature looking actress than the still young Amrita appears. The music by Anand Raj - the exception being the terrific `Mera Rang De Basanti Chola` - is not inspiring. Overall, it could have been much better, given time over the making, but still a must if you are a die-hard Deol fan. Then you have to go take a look.