December 8, 2010 11:57:43 am
For someone who only came to know about Surya Sen through an sms,Visakha Singh now thinks she was willed by destiny to play the role of Pritilata Waddedar – who joined the revolutionary’s band in 1930 – in Ashutosh Gowariker’s ‘Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey’.
Candidly admitting she had not heard either about ‘Masterda’ Surya Sen,who led the raid on the armoury of the British police and auxiliary forces in Chittagong in 1930 or Pritilata who joined his band,the actor who plays the second female lead in the film,said,”I got Ashu sir’s sms selecting me for the role.”
Though she had read about the Chittagong armoury raid in very general terms in text books,she said,”I remember it had no mention about the main characters. “I learnt in detail about the uprising from my own research after the audition,” Singh,a familiar face in Kannada films,said.
“I now feel I was willed by destiny. I have identified in many ways with Pritilata. My birthday also falls on May 5,the same as her,though we do have many dissimilarities of course since she was a girl in pre-independence India.”
On Surya Sen’s plan to attack the Pahartali European Club,which bore the notorious sign ‘Dogs and Indians not allowed’ and where Pritilata was assigned to lead a team of 10-12 men on September 23,1932,Singh said “I feel proud to be a woman on screen who could carry out an attack on an Englishmen’s club at such a young age.”
‘Khelein Hum…’,which released last Friday,is based on the book ‘Do and Die: The Chittagong Uprising 1930-34’ by Manini Chatterjee. Starring Abhishek Bachchan as Surya Sen,the period thriller was mostly shot at Sawantwadi in Maharashtra. “It was very crucial that we got our own space and could do our mental preparation on the lives of people who laid down their lives for a free India.”
Pritilata who could not escape on that fateful night committed suicide by swallowing a cyanide capsule,while Surya Sen was tried and hanged on January 12,1934 after his arrest on February 16,1933.
Singh,who played the main lead in English comedy ‘The Genius of Beauty’ and received plaudits at the Cannes film festival this year,has got positive feedback for her role in ‘Khelein Hum…’ from personalities like Yash Chopra. “I am also a big fan of Bengali film directors like Aparna Sen,Goutam Ghosh and Rituparno Ghosh. Bengal is known for its good taste. I am open to any good offer from this part of the country,” she added.
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