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23rd March 1931: Shaheed Review

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Biopic of famous Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh, who took on the British in 1931 and proved an inspiration figure, even when he was captured and executed.

★★★★

The story of Bhagat Singh has been told numerous times before on the Bollywood screen, but Dhanoa's depiction of the great Indian revolutionary, who fought the British Empire almost single-handedly until he was cut down aged just 23, emphasises Singh's place in history as a warrior whose courage brought hope to millions.

Sutanu Gupta's screenplay really hones in on the hardships Singh had to endure, although viewers unfamiliar with the politics might struggle to fill the gaps.

The film's strength lies in its simplicity, and an emotionally-driven soundtrack that conveys sentiment as successfully as the dialogue. As for performances, Bobby Deol's rendition of a frustrated Bhagat Singh is masterful, as is Amitra Singh's unflinching portrayal of a loving mother.

Superbly acted and shot, if a little strident in the emotional stakes, this is nevertheless an intriguing insight into the life of a little-known revolutionary.

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