Bengali Movie Review: EGARO The Eleven (Bangla, 2011) Delivers Strong Patriotism Via Excellent Performances

By Aditya Chakraborty
WBRi Special Correspondent, Kolkata

Soumitra Chatterjee, Ranadeep Bose and Surajit Sengupta
Soumitra Chatterjee, Ranadeep Bose and Surajit Sengupta

Arun Roy, Director, Tollywood Kolkata Bengali Film EGARO (The Eleven)
Arun Roy - Director, Egaro

Actor Hirak Das
Actor Hirak Das (plays Captain Shibdas Bhaduri in Egaro) - All images © Aditya Chakraborty / WBRi

Calcutta, Jan 18, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) ‘Egaro’ or Eleven is the story of eleven men fighting as a football team and also winning the I.F.A shield for Mohun Bagan barefooted. More over it is an Indian victory, no matter in what form it comes as a football match no longer remains a match , but becomes a war between two countries(as it is needed to be thought here) and only one can become victorious and over here Mohun Bagan or rather India emerges victorious.

Egaro: Theatrical Trailer

1905 was the year when Lord Curzon had divided Bengal into two parts. The people of Bengal had retaliated in a big way and in 1908 Khudiram had been hanged on charges of killing Kingsford.Prafulla Chaki had shot himself when he was about to be arrested. After that the motivation levels of the Bengalis had come down a bit, but this particular incident had again stirred the patriotic feelings and the feeling of Nationalism in millions of people and had united them in one common cause-to drive the British out of India, not only Bengal. Unfortunately the incident does not place in the pages of history. All the footballers barring one were barefooted.

Mohun Bagan Club, the leading football club of India had created history in 1911 on 29th July by defeating East Yorkshire Regiment in the final of the I.F.A Shield after defeating teams like Rangers,St. Xavier’s, Middlesex in previous encounters and they had done so by playing bare footed. This had been more than a game of football as this had been considered something like a war between two countries and all people had united irrespective of their caste, creed and race and had come together to watch Mohun Bagan defeat the Britishers.After Mohun Bagan had won, the crowd had erupted with joy as it was a sense of nationalism and pride flowing in every person at that point of time and it was perhaps one of the first events which specially motivated Bengalis and the entire country to drive the British away from our country.

We become extremely patriotic when we see the national flag being raised and the British flag being lowered and the loudest cheers were kept for that moment in the theatre and also whenever the British footballers were being fouled,Actually the victory is also about an Indian victory rather than the victory of a particular club, Mohun Bagan and it is this patriotic feeling that makes everyone united. You can see the film and understand how this particular game united people devoid of their social status or caste, all they wanted was an Indian victory.At the end of the film you can see when one of the footballers is asking another-When shall we see the Indian flag at the top instead of the British? The answer came-‘Very soon’.

Every character in the film has contributed to this film about the game which later led to an uprising so much so that the capital of India which had been Kolkata so far had to be shifted to Delhi and the partition was also revoked in 1912 and East Bengal again became a part of Bengal.

Egaro The Eleven is produced by Anilabha Chatterjee (WBRi interview) who is also well-known as the producer of the popular Dadagiri TV Program series hosted by Saurav Ganguly.

Every character in the film has played his/her part well. The team of eleven played by all new names, namely Ranadeep Bose (grandson of Soumitra Chatterjee and thus he has been highlighted) plays the part of Abilash Ghosh.To be honest, he is very, very young and he has done a good job. Another name worth mentioning is Hirak Das as Captain Shibdas Bhaduri.He looks the part, plays the part, acts well and more importantly is able to motivate the other members of his team. He inspires. Very well done.

The music is okay though there is one flaw in the beginning. We see a car being burnt in the beginning which belongs to a different era and so does the car which is seen at the ground before the match commences in which one of the Britishers arrive.

Let ‘Egaro’ be marketed well and do well at the box office! That is all we can hope for at this moment.

The premiere of the film was held at Ajanta cinema , three days befor it's release in the presence of the chief guest Saurav Ganguly and other noted personalites including officials of the Mohun Bagan Club.