Mangal Pandey: The Rising
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|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ketan Mehta|
|Produced by||Bobby Bedi|
|Screenplay by||Farrukh Dhondy|
|Story by||Farrukh Dhondy|
|Narrated by||Om Puri|
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Edited by||A. Sreekar Prasad|
|Distributed by||Kaleidoscope Entertainment|
INOX Leisure Limited
Yash Raj Films
|Box office||₹527.78 million|
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).
In April 1857, a large part of the Indian subcontinent is under the control of the British East India Company. Mangal Pandey (Aamir Khan), a sepoy (soldier of Indian origin) in the 34th Bengal Native Infantry of the company's army, is being led to his execution by hanging for fomenting mutiny against company rule. Witnessing the execution is Pandey's friend, Captain William Gordon (Toby Stephens), who is relieved when the execution is delayed due to the hangman's refusal to hang Pandey.
The film then flashes back to four years earlier. While fighting in Afghanistan, Pandey saves Gordon's life by dragging him to safety when the two were targeted by Afghan snipers. Afterwards, while both recover at a camp, Gordon seeks out Pandey and gives him his pistol as a token of appreciation. Three years later, during a New Year's Eve ball at the governor-general's palace in Calcutta, Pandey angers Captain Hewson (Ben Nealon) when he attempts to stop him from severely beating an Indian servant for inadvertently touching the daughter of Mr. Kent (Kenneth Cranham), an influential British businessman. Gordon witnesses the assault but does not stop it, leading to tension with Pandey. However, Gordon apologizes to Pandey during a wrestling match with him, and a friendship is formed, transcending rank and race.
The company then introduces a new weapon for its troops: the Enfield rifled musket. Rumours spread among the sepoys that the paper cartridges holding 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. A low-caste labourer named Nainsukh teases Pandey, a Brahmin, that he has lost his caste by using such a gun, but Pandey dismisses Nainsukh's taunts. The sepoys, led by Pandey, express their concerns to General Hearsey (Jeremy Clyde), but he reassures them that no such cartridge exists. The sepoys remain concerned when they are asked to test-fire the new rifle at musketry drill, but Gordon, after talking to Hearsey, reiterates that no such cartridge exists and asks a sepoy to test-fire the rifle. Pandey volunteers, and his fellow sepoys chastise him afterward. However, demonstrating his trust in Gordon, he states his belief that the rumours are untrue.
Meanwhile, Gordon stops a sati ceremony from occurring and rescues a widow, Jwala (Ameesha Patel). He arranges for her to be treated, and the two gradually become closer, eventually having an affair. Also, Pandey further earns Captain Hewson's ire by stopping him from trying to rape a tawaif named Heera (Rani Mukerji), who was sold to a brothel run by Lol Bibi (Kirron Kher). He suffers a serious beating from Hewson and two other officers the next day, but Gordon intervenes. Pandey meets Heera at the brothel afterwards, and they begin to fall in love with each other. Some time later, Nainsukh takes Pandey and some other sepoys to see the factory, owned by Mr. Kent, where the cartridge grease is made; indeed, the grease turns out to be pig fat and beef tallow. Pandey, believing Gordon lied to him, returns Gordon's pistol and ends their friendship.
Hearing of the 34th Regiment's refusal to use the rifles, the 19th Regiment at Berhampore also refuses to use them, and mutiny brews among the sepoys. Gordon unsuccessfully attempts to dissuade Pandey and the mutineers from rebelling, and is likewise unsuccessful at convincing Major General George Anson (Christopher Adamson), the Commander-in-Chief, India, to abandon using the cartridges. The mutineers, meanwhile, meet with Tatya Tope (Deepraj Rana) and his messenger Azimullah (Shahbaz Khan) and they all agree to unite under the leadership of the elderly Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar (Habib Tanvir) and rise in rebellion. Anson decides to send the Queen's Regiment from Rangoon to intercept and subdue the rebels; it is scheduled to arrive in Berhampore on 1 April. Heera informs Pandey of this plan, having spent the previous night with Hewson. The rebels revise their timetable to march on 30 March, but the wife of one of the rebels, angry at her husband after an argument in which he tells her of the impending revolt, informs her British employer woman of the plans. As the employer woman is having an affair with Hewson at the time, he overhears the conversation and later tortures the rebel into revealing the date of the march.
On 29 March, the mutineers are informed of the Rangoon Regiment's arrival. Pandey attempts to rally them into fending off the attack, and when the officers, including Gordon, inquire as to what they are doing, the rebels turn on them. With the regiment's arrival, the mutineers want to throw down their weapons; Pandey, however, fires at the opposing forces, killing two and injuring four, then attempts to shoot himself when the regiment surrounds him. Captured alive, he is court-martialed, and Gordon testifies on his behalf, passionately defending his actions and warning of bloody rebellion if he is hanged. Despite Gordon's warning, the court-martial imposes a death sentence on Pandey. The night before Pandey's execution, Heera visits him in his jail cell and has him place sindoor on her forehead, marking their marriage.
The next day, in front of Gordon, the British officers, his fellow sepoys, and the townspeople, Pandey is hanged. Inspired by his execution, the spectators break out in revolt. The film ends with drawings of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and footage of the later Indian independence movement.
|Aamir Khan||Sepoy Mangal Pandey|
|Toby Stephens||Captain William Gordon|
|Coral Beed||Emily Kent|
|Kirron Kher||Lal Bibi|
|Ben Nealon||Captain Hewson|
|Habib Tanveer||Bahadur Shah Zafar|
|Varsha Usgaonkar||Rani Laxmibai|
|Mukesh Tiwari||Bakht Khan|
|Deepraj Rana||Tatya Tope|
|Amin Hajee||Vir Singh|
|Steven Rimkus||Colonel Mitchell|
|Sanjay Swaraj||Ishwari Prasad|
|Christopher Adamson||General Anson|
|Subrat Dutta||Mangal's Friend|
|Amit Waghere||Supporting Actor|
|Sophiya Haque||Special appearance in "Rasiya" song|
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$630,000) at the Indian box office and ₹52.58 million (US$740,000) worldwide.
The film topped the Chennai box office on its opening weekend.
Upon its release, Mangal Pandey received positive reviews. It received a 91% rating from noted critics and was rated "fresh" at Rotten Tomatoes. 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."
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."
Film scholar Omer Mozaffar of RogerEbert.com 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.
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. The Samajwadi Party leader Uday Pratap Singh called in the Rajya Sabha for the movie to be banned for its "inaccurate portrayal" of Pandey. The Uttar Pradesh government criticised the film for "distortion" of historical facts, and considered banning it. 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.
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.
|Mangal Pandey: The Rising|
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||15 July 2005 (India)|
|Studio||Panchathan Record Inn and AM Studios|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|A. R. Rahman chronology|
|1.||"Al Maddath Maula"||A. R. Rahman, Kailash Kher, Murtuza Khan, Kadhir||5:58|
|2.||"Holi Re"||Aamir Khan, Udit Narayan, Madhushree, Srinivas, Chinmayee||4:53|
|3.||"Main Vari Vari"||Kavita Krishnamurthy, Reena Bhardwaj||4:54|
|4.||"Mangal Mangal – Aatma"||Kailash Kher, Sukhwinder Singh||4:19|
|5.||"Mangal Mangal – Agni"||Kailash Kher||2:55|
|6.||"Mangal Mangal"||Kailash Kher||2:31|
|7.||"Rasiya"||Richa Sharma, Bonnie Chakraborty||5:57|
|8.||"Takey Takey"||Sukhwinder Singh, Kailash Kher, Kartick Das Baul||4:35|
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- By, Uploaded. "We are all Untouchables: A Bollywood Ballad:Discussed by Omer Mozaffar". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 16 February 2010.
- "BJP demands ban on Mangal Pandey". Indian Express. 11 August 2005. Retrieved 29 November 2007.
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- 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.