Subhadeep Banerjee reviews the Bengali movie ‘8/12 Binoy Badol Dinesh’ and describes how it is important to know the history of our country for better formation of India. He also feels this movie will help the future generations to be aware and feel proud of our freedom fighters.
BBD – THE CAPTAINS OF REVOLUTION
How important is it to correctly chronicle the history of a country’s freedom struggle? Does the accurate representation of a country’s past struggle for freedom against an oppressive foreign power, hold any value in the context of its present and future? In my humble opinion, unless the present and future is shaped based on the lessons of success and failures of the past, we cannot achieve glory as a country. What is it from the past that our future generations should be aware and proud of? What deeds and acts of brave-heart patriots are worthy of commemorating and immortalizing in the history of a nation state? These are important questions which need to be understood and answered in order to define our national objectives. And thus, appropriate use of Indian cinema to chronicle outstanding historical anti-colonial acts is most commendable.
In this context, one movie titled 8/12 BINOY BADAL DINESH(BBD) launched on Republic day this year in Kolkata, enjoys a special position in my heart. It is a fine cinematic example of celebrating a poignant historical moment from our freedom struggle against the British Raj. On 8th December 1930, three young men – Binoy Basu, Badal Gupta and Dinesh Gupta achieved an extraordinary feat of courage and glory that struck terror in the hearts of the British Raj in the then Dalhousie Square, right in the nerve center of British Calcutta. Dressed in European suits they walked into Writers Building, the government secretariat and shot dead Colonel N. S. Simpson, the notorious inspector general of prisons – hated for his inhuman treatment of political prisoners. The men then engaged in a gunfight with the British forces until their ammunition lasted after which they shot themselves or took cyanide. One of them was captured alive, put to trial and executed by the Raj. While the broad outlines of the incident are part of common Bengali folklore, the movie depicts it in great lengths and highlights many unknown details about the matter and the people behind it.
One aspect which the present generation may or may not be familiar with was the tortuous brutalization of women freedom fighters in police custody during the British Raj. They resisted barbaric interrogation techniques to shield their revolutionary comrades planning the downfall of the Raj. This has been shown in its gory details in the movie and while the scenes are gut-wrenching, they add value to the realism of the events and spotlight exactly how evil the British Empire really was!The black and white print of the movie is very apt in terms of the grim circumstances it depicts. The leadership of freedom fighter Hemchandra Ghosh portrayed by Saswata Chatterjee is simply outstanding. Chatterjee excels in his role with a commanding voice and truly represents the quintessential deep thinking Bengali bhadralok revolutionary, which Ghosh was in real life. His full screen shot with two loaded revolvers held in both hands and a face full of grit while planning the execution of Simpson, is very inspirational indeed.
The role of revolutionary Suputi Roy in planning Binoy’s escape from Dhaka after the murder of police officer Lowman, is depicted beautifully. It shows the extent to which the revolutionaries went to execute their plans. There are many more interesting aspects to this movie especially about the role of ‘insiders’ of the Raj who secretly helped the revolutionaries in executing their plans. The fact that a Bengali magistrate of Dhaka helped in Binoy’s escape, or that a police constable deliberately misfired while chasing Binoy, or that information from top British officer’s files was being secretly passed on to the freedom fighters by ordinary peons, all highlight that many a Hidden Patriots were at work in howsoever way they could to overthrow the Raj. The portrayal of Major Satya Gupta of the Bengal Volunteers and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, the complex manner of shipping arms for the planned outrages and use of safe houses to host Binoy, Badal and Dinesh, were all depicted in details with good cinematic effect.The movie has wonderful performances by Kinjal Nanda as the mature leader of the BBD trio – Binoy Basu, while Arna and Remo as Badal and Dinesh respectively, correctly exhibit the energy and selflessness of the youth of that bygone era, which made supreme sacrifices for our present generation.
One noteworthy aspect of this movie is the musical score by music director Soumya Rit. While some may consider rock music as more of a contemporary thing not in sync with a nearly hundred-year-old event, Rit has utilized the rolling energy of heavy metal rock towards beautifully depicting the pulsating adrenaline rush associated with the different situations in the movie. The title song is the best example of the same. Heavy distortion guitar riffs over a ‘dark’ minor scale and strong drumming patterns along with excellent vocals by the legendary Rupam Islam, nicely portray the occurrence of a grand revolutionary outrage at the very heart of imperial British Raj – the Writers Building.The audience well and truly gets involved with the three men on a final mission to teach the ‘Brutish’ Raj a lesson; a lesson in courage, confidence and sacrifice. The ‘anthem-like’ song very appropriately salutes the trio of BBD as ‘BIPLOBER ADHINAYAK’ or CAPTAINS OF REVOLUTION.
Overall, this is a well-made and a must watch movie for all patriotic Indians. The quality of subtitles ensures that this will pass through language barriers easily and hence should be released nationally for an all-India audience.
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Subhadeep is a scientist by profession, who also has a flair for creative writing. He is an associate professor of chemistry at BITS PILANI Goa. His debut historical fiction novel THE HIDDEN PATRIOT is available on amazon and has been well-received and reviewed positively by readers.