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Mangal Pandey
The Rising

Any movie which is accompanied by lots of pre-release fanfare invokes a typical scepticism in me; so was the case with ‘Mangal Pandey – the Rising’. I had almost expected a larger than life character of Mangal Pandey and an overenthusiastic performance by Aamir Khan. But to the credit of the film-makers, Mangal Pandey is a classic yet real-life presentation.

Mangal Pandey was just a cog-wheel in the revolt of 1857, albeit an important one; the first spark but not the fire; a common sepoy in the British Army and a religious one. And so is he depicted in the movie. Neither the storyline nor Aamir’s portrayal of the character project Mangal Pandey as a great soldier – moderately educated, devoutly religious and even non-progressive (as implied by his strong belief in Castiesm). The narrative and storyline are successful in depicting that Mangal Pandey got caught in the winds of controversy merely due to coincidence and not because he had some heroic traits in him. There are some hints to his leadership skills which sprouted only after the assault on his religious self.

Limiting itself to the Barackpore mutiny, the story does not go into intricacies of the revolt of 1857 and is a good factual description. The character of the British Officer – Gordon has been developed well but the characters of Rani Mukherjee and Amisha Patel haven’t got space to develop in the limited time span. In fact both the characters could as well be separated from the movie without losing any pace of the story. While Amisha's character does play a part in development of Gordon's character-sketch the romance involved could have been avoided; Rani's role added litlle to the storyline than some songs and glamour.

On retrospect, I can remember and correlate the historic dates and places much clearly after watching this movie than I could in class 7th after having studied them in history textbooks. Now that we have movies on so many historical figures – from Mangal Pandey to Subhash Chandra Bose, it is high time schools started incorporating these movies (albiet without the romance and music) in their syllabi.

PS: I liked the movie for the non-pompous portrayal. However, those expecting a detailed sketch of the 1857 revolt or a larger than life picture of Mangal may be disappointed.


  1. that was the same thoughts i had when I saw the movie last week...

    but one thing... Amir proves himself still one of the better "actors" in the industry!


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