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As The Legend Of Bhagat Singh Clocks 20 Years, A Look At How Ajay Devgn Starrer Came Into Being


Ajay Devgn-starrer The Legend of Bhagat Singh completed 20 years this week. The Rajkumar Santoshi directorial was released on June 7, 2002. Even though the film didn’t perform that well at the box office, it was well-received by critics across the world, including a nod from The New York Times. Within a span of three months, there were three films that featured Bhagat Singh as the central character — The Legend of Bhagat Singh, Bobby Deol’s 23rd March 1931 Shaheed, and Sonu Sood’s Shaheed Azam. However, Santoshi’s film was the one that stood out.

Rajkumar Santoshi gathered a mix of talents such as Farida Jalal, Raj Babbar, Sushant Singh, D Santosh, and Akhilendra Mishra for the supporting cast. The Legend of Bhagat Singh was Santoshi’s labour of love for which he went to length and breadth of the country to find the actors suitable for the smallest roles. He auditioned actors from Lucknow to Delhi and other cities in India.

AR Rahman’s music lifted the mood of the film with chartbusters like Mera Rang De Basanti Chola, to the Des Mere Des Mere and a very refreshing Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna. The film got Ajay Devgn a National Award and the actor considers this role of the young revolutionary as the one closest to his heart and one that continues to inspire him. He expressed his gratitude towards the film on its 20th anniversary on Twitter:

He wrote: “Even after 20 years, #TheLegendOfBhagatSingh remains a film I’m proud to have associated with. The sentiment in it is forever, for me & for every Indian. Grateful to be a small part of this monumental film. Jai Hind.”

With our cinema evolving, the depiction of our freedom fighters is also evolving. For example, recently, in Sardar Udham, director Shoohit Sircar gave us a different perspective of Bhagat Singh who talks about equality and change through the eyes of Vicky Kaushal’s Udham Singh.

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