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Mangal Pandey: The Rising (internationally known as The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey) is a 2005 Indian historical biographical drama film based on the life of Mangal Pandey, an Indian soldier known for helping to spark the Indian rebellion of 1857 (also known as "The First War of Indian Independence").

Mangal pandey – The Rising..
Mangal Pandey movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ketan Mehta
Produced by Bobby Bedi
Ketan Mehta
Deepa Sahi
Screenplay by Farrukh Dhondy
Story by Farrukh Dhondy
Starring Aamir Khan
Rani Mukerji
Toby Stephens
Ameesha Patel
Kirron Kher
Narrated by Om Puri
Music by A. R. Rahman
Cinematography Himman Dhamija
Edited by A. Sreekar Prasad
Distributed by Kaleidoscope Entertainment
Tfk Films
INOX Leisure Limited
Yash Raj Films
Release date
  • 12 August 2005 (2005-08-12)
Running time
151 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 340 million[1]
Box office 525.78 million[2]

It is directed by Ketan Mehta, produced by Bobby Bedi and with a screenplay by Farrukh Dhondy. The lead role is played by Aamir Khan, marking his comeback after he had gone into hiatus after Dil Chahta Hai (2001).

It premiered in the Marché du Film section of the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.[3][4] It was the fourth highest-grossing film of 2005.[5]



The story begins in 1857, when a large part of India was under the control of the British East India Company. Mangal Pandey (Aamir Khan) is a sepoy, a soldier of Indian origin, in the army of the East India Company. While fighting in the Anglo-Afghan Wars, he saves the life of his regiment’s officer, Captain Gordon (Toby Stephens). Gordon is indebted to Pandey and a strong friendship develops between them, transcending rank and race.

Gordon rescues a young widow, Jwala (Ameesha Patel), from committing sati (the act of following her deceased husband on to the funeral pyre); and afterwards, he falls in love with her. Meanwhile, Heera (Rani Mukerji) has been sold into prostitution, to work for Lol Bibi (Kirron Kher). There is a spark of attraction between her and Pandey and a liaison follows.

Gordon and Pandey's friendship is challenged following the introduction of a new rifle: the Enfield rifled musket. Rumours spread among the sepoys that the paper cartridges, which hold the powder and ball for the rifle, are greased with either pig fat or beef tallow. The process of loading the rifle requires the soldier to bite down on the cartridge, and the soldiers believe that this would cause them to consume pork or beef — acts abhorrent to Muslim and Hindu soldiers for religious reasons.[6]

Gordon investigates this claim, and is deceitfully told by his superiors to assure Pandey and his men that the cartridges are free from animal contamination. Demonstrating his trust in Gordon, Pandey bites the cartridge, but soon afterwards discovers the truth. This seemingly trivial matter becomes the spark that lights the fire of rebellion among the sepoys. Mutiny breaks out, led by Pandey, and the situation escalates, fueled by the frustration of years of colonialism and subjugation. At one point, Pandey and Gordon engage in hand-to-hand combat as the latter tries to dissuade his friend from what he believes to be a futile exercise that will only lead to certain death.

The Company moves to quickly stop the uprising by bringing in army units from Myanmar (Burma). Pandey is captured and set to be executed, despite the protestations of Gordon, who reasons that Pandey will be revered as a martyr and that his legacy will cause more protests. This turns out to be correct, and Pandey marries Heera in his jail cell before his execution as scenes of nationwide revolt against British rule are shown. In the aftermath, Gordon is listed as having joined the rebellion against the British Raj.

The film ends with a montage of drawings of the historical rebellion and the narrator describes the progress of the Indian independence movement over the next century. The montage ends with documentary footage of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi leading the Indian National Congress during peaceful protests against British rule in the 1940s, eventually forcing an end to colonialism in the subcontinent.


The film marked the comeback of actor Aamir Khan who went into a hiatus after Dil Chahta Hai which was released in 2001.
Actor/Actress Role
Aamir Khan Sepoy Mangal Pandey
Rani Mukerji Heera
Toby Stephens Captain William Gordon
Coral Beed Emily Kent
Ameesha Patel Jwala
Kirron Kher Lol Bibi
Om Puri Narrator
Ben Nealon Captain Hewson
Habib Tanveer Bahadur Shah Zafar
Varsha Usgaonkar Rani Laxmibai
Kenneth Cranham Kent
Tom Alter Watson
Mukesh Tiwari Bakht Khan
Shahbaz Khan Azimullah
Deepraj Rana Tatya Tope
Amin Hajee Vir Singh
Steven Rimkus Colonel Mitchell
Sanjay Swaraj Ishwari Prasad
Simon Chandler Lockwood
Christopher Adamson General Anson
Disha Vakani Yasmin
Amit Waghere Supporting Actor
Mona Ambegaonkar Kamla
Ian Jackson Extra
Sophiya Haque Special appearance in "Rasiya" song


Box officeEdit

Mangal Pandey: The Rising had a great start at the box office but was declared average by Box Office India. It grossed 45.0 million (US$670,000) at the Indian box office and 52.58 million (US$780,000) worldwide.[7][2]

The film topped the Chennai box office on its opening weekend.[8]

Critical receptionEdit

Upon its release, Mangal Pandey received positive reviews. It received a 91% rating from noted critics and was rated "fresh" at Rotten Tomatoes.[9] Film critic Taran Adarsh of IndiaFM gave four stars out of five saying it is "A genuine attempt at bringing alive a great hero on celluloid, the film will only bring pride and prestige in the domestic market as well as on the international platform."[10]

Raja Sen of Rediff panned the film as being about "cleavage and cliche".[11]

Derek Elley of Variety commented, "This is the classic structure of all the best historical epics, and though the film employs recognizable Bollywood trademarks, helmer Mehta's approach is more "Western" in its rhythms, pacing and avoidance of Asian melodrama. Musical set pieces are more integrated into the action, and the focus is kept tightly on the Gordon-Pandey relationship."[12]

Film scholar Omer Mozaffar of commented that this film is a study in imperialism and sensitivity, comparing the issue of the rifle grease to the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy. The inciting event that leads to the Rising could have been avoided or quickly rectified. However, in the context of the situation, it was a larger issue of unrest due to negligent power brokers.[13]


In India, the Bhartiya Janata Party demanded a ban on the film, accusing it of showing falsehood and indulging in character assassination of Mangal Pandey. As an example, the BJP spokesman stated that the film shows Mangal Pandey visiting the house of a prostitute.[14] The Samajwadi Party leader Uday Pratap Singh called in the Rajya Sabha for the movie to be banned for its "inaccurate portrayal" of Pandey.[15] The Uttar Pradesh government criticised the film for "distortion" of historical facts, and considered banning it.[16] Protestors in Ballia district, where Pandey had been a native, damaged a shop selling cassettes and CDs of the film, stalled a goods train on its way to Chapra (Bihar), and staged a sit-in on the Ballia-Barriya highway.[16]

A recently (2014) published analysis of the opening stages of the Great Indian Rebellion is critical of the lack of historical evidence supporting the events of 1857, as portrayed in Mangal Pandey: The Rising.[17]


Mangal Pandey: The Rising
Soundtrack album by A. R. Rahman
Released 15 July 2005 (India)
Studio Panchathan Record Inn and AM Studios
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Producer Bobby Bedi
A. R. Rahman chronology
Mangal Pandey: The Rising
Anbe Aaruyire

The music was scored by A. R. Rahman with lyrics penned by Javed Akhtar.

No. Title Singers Length
1. "Al Maddath Maula" A. R. Rahman, Kailash Kher, Murtuza Khan, Kadir 05:55
2. "Holi Re" Aamir Khan, Udit Narayan, Madhushree, Srinivas, Chinmayee 04:51
3. "Main Vari Vari" Kavita Krishnamurthy, Reena Bhardwaj 04:51
4. "Mangal Mangal" Kailash Kher 02:29
5. "Mangal Mangal – Aatma" Kailash Kher, Sukhwinder Singh 04:19
6. "Mangal Mangal – Agni" Kailash Kher 02:25
7. "Rasiya" Richa Sharma, Bonnie Chakraborty 05:55
8. "Takey Takey" Sukhwinder Singh, Kailash Kher, Kartick Das Baul 04:31


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ "The Hindu : Entertainment / Cinema : Indian films a `nonentity' at Cannes". Chennai, India. 19 May 2005. 
  4. ^ "The Hindu : Entertainment Bangalore / Cinema : Cannes premier for Naina". Archived from the original on 4 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "Mangal Pandey - The Rising". Retrieved 2016-08-17. 
  6. ^ W. and R. Chambers (1891). Chambers's Encyclopaedia: A Dictionary of Universal Knowledge for the People. 8. p. 719. 
  7. ^ "Top Lifetime Grossers Worldwide (IND Rs)". boxofficeindia. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. 
  8. ^ Mangal Pandey opens at No.1 in Chennai
  9. ^ "Mangal Pandey – The Rising (2005) Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. 12 August 2005. Retrieved 2012-01-03. 
  10. ^ "Mangal Pandey – The Rising (2005) | Movie Review, Trailers, Music Videos, Songs, Wallpapers". Bollywood Hungama. 12 August 2005. Retrieved 2012-03-01. 
  11. ^ Sen, Raja (26 August 2005). "Mangal Pandey: Just cleavage and cliche". Retrieved 2016-05-14. 
  12. ^ Elley, Derek (4 August 2005). "The Rising: Ballad Of Mangal Pandey Movie Review". Variety. 
  13. ^ By, Uploaded. "We are all Untouchables: A Bollywood Ballad:Discussed by Omer Mozaffar". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 16 February 2010. 
  14. ^ "BJP demands ban on Mangal Pandey". Indian Express. 11 August 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-29. 
  15. ^ "Rajya Sabha Parliamentary Bulletin, Part I, 205th session, Special Mentions (2-02 p.m.)". Government of India. 18 August 2005. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2007-11-29. 
  16. ^ a b "UP govt to consider ban on 'Mangal Pandey'". Indian Express. 11 August 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-29. 
  17. ^ Wagner, Kim A. The Great Fear of 1857. Rumours, Conspiracies and the Making of the Indian Uprising. p. 245. ISBN 978-93-81406-34-2. 

External linksEdit