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1857 AD. The entire Indian sub continent is ruled by a company. The British East India Company. The most successful business enterprise in history. The company has its own laws, its own administration, its own army. It controls the destiny of one fifth of humanity. Mangal Pandey - The Rising is an epic tale of friendship, betrayal, love and sacrifice set against the backdrop of what the British called the sepoy mutiny but which for the Indians was the First War of Independence. 'Company Raj' as it was known, had been plundering the country, treating the locals unjustly and causing widespread resentment. After a hundred years of subjugation, the Indian consciousness is rising through the revolutionary prospect of change and self-rule. During a fierce battle in one of the Afgan wars that the Company fought in the mid-century, Mangal Pandey, the heroic sepoy, saves the life of his British commanding officer William Gordon. Gordon is indebted to Mangal and a strong friendship develops ... Written by
After Aishwarya Rai Bachchan turned down the part of Jwala, Rani Mukerji was given the script to read and consider taking over for the part of Jwala. However Rani liked the character of Heera so much that she asked if she could play her instead. The part was much smaller at the time, but changes were made to the script to give her character more storyline. See more »
The British forces are using an outdated form of shako. The form of shako used in 1857 had a top that was wider than the bottom. See more »
[Pandey marches in front of a cannon. The soldiers loading it look at him in shock]
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I saw the movie Mangal Pandey yesterday and the images are still quite vivid in my mind. I attribute this to the wonderful cinematography and the colourful canvas that Ketan Mehta uses to unfold the story before his audience.
The madness in Mangal Pandey's, roughly translated as "junoon", can only be portrayed by a great actor. A. R. Rehman's music is so good that it can make your hair stand on end. The four story tellers atop an elephant visiting villages as they tell their story is a great narrative technique.
The reviews of the film in the Indian film media shocked me. I fail to understand the motive or even the thought process behind them unless it is that we are all in the danger of succumbing to cheap cynicism when feelings or ideas of patriotism come up in a creative form.
People have complained about the colour and the song and dance that Ketan has used. I believe this is because of two reasons--one is that Ketan has a theatre background and this is a part of folk theatre -to use music and dance to convey messages. The other reason is that in a movie dealing with the tragic consequences of brave actions it is important to to provide some kind of relief.
Even the presence of the two women which has has been criticised, is important to give the feel of the time. Mangal Pandey had to be shown as a real living human being not some flat lifeless character unearthed from dusty history books. One of the female characters brought to light the repugnant practise of Sati whereas the nautch girl was used to depict the presence of pleasure houses for the company employees. Both are necessary to give us a realistic picture of that era.
A comment was made elsewhere that the younger audiences found it hard to connect with the historical character. Is it easier, then,for the youth of modern India to connect with MTV and reality shows with no content? And if this is so then does it not become even more important for our film makers to produce films with real content that may inspire pride in our culture and history?
Mangal Pandey is a great film. From the first scene to the last you can see the immense amount of hard work that has gone into its making.
The only thing that rankled was the voice over provided by Om Puri. It was unnecessary.
I think the movie deserves great accolades.
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