When we spoke to Ashutosh Gorwariker he said one of the reasons he cast Deepika Padukone in the role of Kalpana Dutta in Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey, was that she looked just like her. However, it was not only that, he really felt she would do justice to the role and that it needed her modern sensibilities combined with the character from the 1930s to make the role come to life. As for Deepika she says it was working with Ashutosh was one of the draws to taking the role in the film, “I said yes to the project as only Ashu had the sensibility to make such a project with the freedom struggle as the backdrop.”
About her role Deepika revealed a bit about the character, “Ashu had just one picture of Kalpana Dutta as a reference point. She was an educated woman who had studied physics that’s what helped her make the bombs.” Adding that because the research was done so well for the film, “It was more of an actor’s process of getting into the character.”
She admits that she like most people did not know about the Chittagong Uprising, Surjya Sen, Kalpana Dutta at all until she heard the narration from Gowariker, “Yes, it has made me aware about these incidents. If I was living in those times, I’m sure I’d have been a part of the freedom struggle in some way! Now after doing the film, I am surprised that so many people are still unaware of the Chittagong Uprising, about Surjya and his several associates. History textbooks have just a mention of it, but I feel there has to be an entire chapter on it. It is such an important part of the Independence struggle. People are aware of other revolutionaries but not Surjya Sen. It is shocking how he is overlooked.”
The movie is based on the book Do and Die by Manini Chatterjee, who is actually Kalpana Dutta’s daughter-in-law. Both Manini and her son Akash were all praise for Deepika’s performance, “I had met her [Manini Chatterjee] at a music launch and she said that no one could have done justice to Kalpana, who was her mother-in-law, the way I have. For me, that was the main stamp. Also, Manini’s son, Akash, was the AD on the film and I constantly had this thought at the back of my mind that I was playing his grandmother. That wasn’t an easy task.”
Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is in theaters now!