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The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey (2005)

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Based on the life and times of Mangal Pandey, 1857: The Rising is a film about the leader of the 1857 mutiny and his fight against the British rule.



(screenplay), (Hindi dialogue)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Captain William Gordon
Coral Beed ...
Ameesha Patel ...
Kiron Kher ...
Lol Bibi (as Kirron Kher)
Ben Nealon ...
Habib Tanvir ...
Bahadur Shah Zafar (as Tanveer Habib)
Varsha Usgaonkar ...
Rani Laxmibai (as Rani Lakshmibai)
Tom Alter ...
Bakht Khan
Shahbaaz Khan ...
Amin Hajee ...
Vir Singh


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 Hariharan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sepoy | rifle | friendship | epic | bullet | See All (61) »


This August discover the birth of India's independence See more »


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Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

12 August 2005 (India)  »

Also Known As:

1857: The Rising  »

Box Office


INR 340,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£220,259 (UK) (12 August 2005)


$874,380 (USA) (26 August 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


It took director Ketan Mehta two years to complete this film because of the thorough research that went into the production. See more »


At the beginning of the movie, Mangal has the vermillion mark on his forehead. Later on, while they wait for a new executioner, Mangal sits in the jail cell with no markings on his forehead. Then Heera comes and places the vermillion on him. Since this happens after the initial scene, Mangal's forehead should have been clear in the beginning. See more »


Mangal Pandey: What is "company"?
Captain William Gordon: In your Ramayana there was one villain "Ravana" who had ten heads, company has a hundred heads and they're all joined by the glue of greed.
See more »


Takey Takey
Sung by Sukwinder Singh, Kailash Kher, Kartik Das Baul and Chorus
Composed by A.R. Rahman
Lyrics by Javed Akhtar
See more »

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User Reviews

Bollywood comes of age!
19 August 2005 | by (United Arab Emirates) – See all my reviews

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.

46 of 64 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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