Sunday, January 01, 2006

Mangal Pandey--A wasted effort?

The year's biggest disappointment was Ketan Mehta's Mangal Pandey--The Rising. Amir had given four years of his life to this film and he famously grew a trademark sepoy moustache for this film. Despite all best intentions, the film lacks a narrative unity. The stoy being told through the ballad of Mangal Pandey does not work and the first few scenes are so disjointed, they are more like 'Episodes in the life of Mangal Pandey'. The problem is with the script. Mangal's character is not well-developed. We have not been given any glimpse into Mangal's personal life which is very important from the pov of character development. Amir and others have acted well. The second half is tauter but at the end of the film, one feels dissatisfied. Rahman's music is very good but has often been wasted in the film.


Manzoor Khan said...

Flop or Hit, The Rising, however, led to a debate of whether MP was an accidental hero, and that was he instrumental for the "Gadar" of 1857, or the other way round.

From the movie, what appers to me was that perhaps MP's reaction towards the Company was primarily due to the fact that by using the pig/cow fat greased cartridge, he commited a sin against the Brahmanical principles, and hence feared being ostracised and outcasted.

And about the movie: Yes, it was a very, very brief story and more dramatic rather being historical. Being somewhat interested in Indian history, I tried to see the movie very closely. The camp area where MP fires some shots looked anachronous to me - perhaps too modern for 1857.

But one good thing about the movies based on history is they - apart from educating you somewhat on history - also tend to make you think and reflect about the those times.

BTW, there are two "a" is Aamir -:).

Zafar Anjum said...

Thanks Manzoor for your interesting comments. Aamir with double a. Mea Culpa!

The trigger for the 1857 revolt was the kartoos affair but if you remember, the Indian dissatisfaction with the British was already established well before the Kartoos affair. Once the revolt was planned, the idea was to overthrow the whole Company Raj.

The directors have acknowledged that they did not have much info about Mangal's life, and hence the ambivalence in establishing the motivations for the character.

Agree. Such films make us think about those times.