Though historical cinema does "not necessarily" allow
directors to work on a larger canvas, Gowariker says in his
case "the themes have been such which lend themselves to
having a scale."
"Be it 'Lagaan' - though it's completely my imagination
- about a small village standing up against British rule or
'Jodhaa Akbar' about a Mughal emperor, it automatically lends
itself to grandeur."
Similarly, "Khelein Hum..." about 64 people and five
centres of British power naturally lends itself to scale. However,
his third period film after "Lagaan" and "Jodhaa
Akbar" can't be categorised as coincidence, Gowariker said.
"Because when I look back it's the themes which have interested
me. I think each theme required some kind of different era to
tell that story. That's why each of these had these settings."
"Khelein Hum..." takes its name from a revolutionary
song featured prominently in Amitabh Bachchan's film "Main
Azaad Hoon" because 56 of the 64 revolutionaries were teenagers,
"I was quite fascinated to know that at such a young age
a kid was thinking about revolution and about the country. I
wanted to reflect the spirit of these teenagers playing with
their lives. And that aspect would be justified by the title."
Gowariker said he "discovered the revolution" through
Manini Chatterjee's book "Do And Die" and based the
entire film on it as this is the only source about it.
"In fact she is the daughter-in-law of Kalpana Datta,
who was one of the key revolutionaries in Surjya Sen's group
and so Manini has kind of first hand information about it through
"Khelein Hum..." is both a commercial and an artistic
film "as both go hand in hand," he says. "I would
say both. If I have to make a revolution known to the world,
it should be seen by more people."
But unlike his previous films, this film does not have music
by A.R. Rehman simply because "Rahman has been very busy
since his Oscar march with international projects."
"So I think it's completely unfair to expect him to continue
doing Hindi films when he can actually explore a much wider
horizon," Gowariker said.
He picked Abhishek Bachchan and Deepika Padukone for these
decidedly non-glamorous roles because "when I read the
book, the image that kept forming in my mind was Abhishek and
discovered that the quality of Surjya Sen's character aligned
"I had a feel for Deepika. And an uncanny part is she
resembles the photographic evidence about Kalpana Datta."
Gowariker says he did not actually shoot the film in Chittagong
in neighbouring Bangladesh because the location that was there
in the 1930s no longer exists in that shape.