Shah Rukh Khan
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Born on September 28, 1907, Bhagat Singh is one of the most revered heroic figures from the Indian Independence struggle. Not surprisingly, his story inspired a whole lot of filmmakers, resulting in multiple movies around his sacrifice.
We look back at the films that actually got made. Ironically, unlike the real story of Singh, the films made on his life actually barely managed to interest the audience resulting in massive blows to producers at the box office.
Starring Ajay Devgn as the hero and directed by Rajkumar Santoshi, The Legend Of Bhagat Singh is the best-known film on the freedom fighter. Though the film, which released on June 7, 2002, sank at the box office it went on to win the National Award For Best Film in Hindi, apart from other awards.
Dharmendra produced this movie which featured his son Bobby Deol as Bhagat Singh. The film was directed by Guddu Dhanoa, who had earlier made films like Ziddi and Bichhoo. It clashed at the box office with The Legend Of Bhagat Singh and sunk without a trace. Apart from Bobby the film also featured Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is a special appearance and Sunny Deol as Chandra Shekhar Azad.
Starring a then newbie Sonu Sood as Bhagat Singh, Shaheed E Azam was the third film that was to release on June 7, 2002. However, director Sukumaran Nair decided against it. The film released on a later date but it still went unnoticed. The film’s claim to fame is that it was the first ever Hindi film launched in Pakistan. And it was based on research done by Professor Jagmohan Singh, the nephew of Bhagat Singh. Also noteworthy is the fact that this film actually boasted of tradition lyrics by Baba Bulle Shah and Khwaja Parvez apart from Inquilab Zindabad written by Bhagat Singh himself.
Directed by Anand Sagar and produced by Ramanand Sagar, this was another film that was scheduled to clash with The Legend Of Bhagat Singh and 23rd March 1931: Shaheed at the box office. However, the producer opted out and decided to go for a direct to television release as a finite series. Among notable names, the film’s music was composed by Ravindra Jain
Released in 1954 and starring P Jairaj in lead, Shaheed-e-Azad Bhagat Singh was the first film that was made on the hero. The film also starred Johnny Walker in a smaller role and was the directed by Jagdish.
Shammi Kapoor was probably one of the most exciting new stars of Hindi cinema when he was chosen to play Bhagat Singh by director KN Bansal. The film, released in 1963, also featured well-known faces like Shakeela, Premnath, Ulhas and Achla Sachdev yet failed to generate much business at the box office.
Released in 1965, Shaheed starred Manoj Kumar and was directed by S Ram Sharma. The film too won the National Award For Best Film in Hindi. The film’s claim to fame includes getting Manoj Kumar the tag of a ‘patriotic actor’.
Other films that were made on Bhagat Singh are Shaheed Bhagat Singh by Tarun Wadhwa and Amar Shaheed Bhagat Singh (2005) directed by Omi Bedi. The later starred Dara Singh. Apart from these, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti starring Aamir Khan as lead also showcased Bhagat Singh’s heroics, juxtaposing it with a contemporary story. Rang De Basanti happens to be the only box office success that the Bhagat Singh story has seen on the silver screen.
By Noyon Jyoti Parasara
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