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The torches are calling
Apr 23, 2005 02:02 PM 4499 Views
(Updated Apr 23, 2005 05:57 PM)





The torches are marching again



in the wee hours of the morning

the faint background of kuruna kuruna

in the distance

The torches remind me

how hard won the freedom

I take for my birthright…..

I hear again

the feet of an army

and the chant of kuruna kuruna

The story

Simple, simple, simple!

Rich, head-in-the-clouds Naren Singh (Anil Kapoor) falls in love with Rajjo (Manisha Koirala) in the small town of Kasauni. Rajjo reciprocates Naren’s love. So, what is to prevent them from meeting ?

Rajjo’s sworn allegiance to her country and her leader, Shubhankar (Jackie Shroff).

Directed by Vidhu Vinod Chpra, this movie was no great shakes at the box office. What, then, makes it so memorable ?

The locale

Kasauni, a small town in the foothills of the Himalayas. The village, its maidans, the winding path between the lush, green fields, the quaint, old houses are beautifully set between the mountains. The setting is also incredibly authentic, making the story seem all the more real and believable.

The screenplay

Since the storyline is quiet simple, what really carries this movie through is the screenplay by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The initial part of the story moves slowly with the budding romance between the two main leads but the story really picks up with the entry of Shubhankar, past intermission. The one word for the writer is gifted.

The story is further enriched by many small but significant characters that flesh out the story and serve as a reminder of the common man’s intense involvement in the freedom struggle.

The Actors

Jackie Shroff is the one who has clearly stolen the thunder even though he only makes an appearance after half the movie is over and hardly says a single word throughout! Intense is the one word for this style of acting.

Anil Kapooras Naren is convincing but looks slightly silly as I think he is supposed to.

Manisha Koirala looks fresh and still beautiful. She could’ve been a more convincing Rajjo, but ended up looking a bit as if she was being swept along for the ride rather than a determined revolutionary.

Danny is perfect in the role of the much hated English General.

The Music

Even detractors of this movie will agree that the music by RD Burman is nothing short of flawless. The lyrics from Javed Akhtar blend seamlessly with the story and the music.

Rooth na jana tumse kahoon to is not so well known but is better than ek ladki ko dekha in my opinion. So is pyar hua chupke se. Lata Mangeshkar does more than justice to the sad Kuch na kaho and the accompanying lyrics are memorable.

Hamne jab dekhe the, sundar komal sapney

Chand, sitare, parvat, badal sab lagte they apney

The most relevant song though is “yeh safar”. Looking back at 1942 from the future, the words taken on a special meaning as Shivaji Chattopadyaya sings in a unique voice –

Yeh safar bahot a kathin magar

Mere saath chal mere humsafar

Yeh sitam ki raat hai dhalne ko

Hai andhera gham ka pighalne ko

Zara der isme lage agar

Zara der isme lage agar

Na udas ho mere humsafar


To me, this movie will always be about the powerful call of the torches, about patience, strength and beleif. About a time in which millions gave up their own personal dreams to fight for a common good. It was a time for ideals and actions and dreams to come true.....

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