Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Mangal Pandey : Movie Review.

Last night we went to watch "Mangal Pandey - The Rising". It was a weekday evening, but still I had expected more crowd than what was present there. The cinema hall was barely half filled. After such a lukewarm sight in the first week, it's tough to digest the tall claims made by Aamir. He actually told them - "Just for the record, can you believe that the entire business done by ‘Lagaan’ in it’s full run has been done by ‘The Rising’ in just one week?!". What record Amir, the most obvious lie? Anyway, if you've already spoke to people who watched the movie, it might be a repetition but I must advice you to skip this one. Or perhaps wait till next 26th Jan - some channel ought to show this one. Or rush to the VCD wallah and rent "chintu candy" wali VCD.

Very few words were written over the saga of the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Moreover, most of the written records were maintained by the East Indian Company. So, basically the character of Mangal Pandey comes more from folklore than from history. The film adds more of bollywood masala and one raunchy "mujra" item song to the folklore and the outcome isn't very entertaining.

The movie got me confused about the orientiation of Pandey ji. He is shown to be very close with sympathetic English officer, Gordon. But what was shown in the movie looked a lot more than just-good-friends. Imagine two burly & bare wrestlers flexing their muscles in the dirty ring and one of them asks other - "Kal kyun nahi aaye? (Why didn't you come yesterday?)". In another scene, when Housten & fellow officers were beating the hell out of Pandey ji, Gordon comes and save him. After this he removes the locks of hair from Pandey ji's face and asks - "Tum kaise ho? (How are you?)". The insinuations were present everywhere. Gordon comes to the Sepoys' barracks and tell Pandey - "Mujhe tumse akele mein kuch baat karni hai. (I want to talk to you alone)". Pandey says talk in front of my people but then some eye-signals are exchanged and Pandey leaves the barracks with Gordon. Perhaps the makers got aware of this and hence, were forced to include Rani Mukherjee & Amisha Patel. Both of them are totally wasted. Rani has one mujra in the movie but if it could've gone to the another "mujra" girl in the movie, it would've added more "value" to the movie. Amisha Patel's role was totally unnecessary. Don't know how did she persuade the makers to include her in the movie.

Didn't you hate the Hindi-then-English narration in the previous paragraph? If that annoyed you, you'll probably tear your hair in the movie. Whenever Englishmen are shown talking in English, they are given the time to finish their dialogues and then Om Puri's voice repeats each and every thing said, translating every single word. No wonder movie got a "bit" lengthy.

Rediff published some very interesting excerpts from the book "Mangal Pandey: Brave Martyr or Accidental Hero?" by Rudrangshu Mukherjee. It states that the main reason behind the rebellion was the fat on the new cartridges and on the day when Mangal Pandey revolted, he was allegedly intoxicated with Bhaang. It was an isolated event but after almost a month of the hanging, mutiny broke out in various barracks in the planes of Ganga. The movies, presumably in the pursuit to color Pandey as first nationalist freedom fighter, moves far from this possibility. It's hard to imagine that Pandey, just a Sepoy, would fight for Azadi. He was from common peasent folks, who were accustomed to be ruled by royals in the past & company during those days. Moreover, concept of a unified India must have been very far fetched at that time. Till about few decades ago, the subcontinent was divided between numerous small states and they all got unified under company-raj. If not for the cartridges, Pandey could have been serving company loyally and got retired with pension.

Even if we overlook the gliches in history part of it and treat the movie as totally fictional, it's simply not entertaining! I don't know what took them four years to complete this movie? They should've given the job to Subhash Ghai. He would've made the movie in half the time on Kisna's sets! "The Rising" was only slightly better than Kisna and Kisna was a big pain in neck!

Final verdict: Hype is phoney, it's not worth your money!

UPDATE: Now that we are at the topic, I want to discuss this posting, here. From the post
Mangal Pandey gave up his life to protect his beliefs for the religion he belonged to. So did other soldiers who mutinied at that time. Viewed in the context of the present, people's religious sensitivities seem to have sadly undergone a sea-change. Even staunch religious organisations which pretend to protect their religion and breathe fire and fume at the slightest provocation, do nothing to stop such actions against their beliefs. And the people themselves - whether staunch Hindu or Jain - out of ignorance or indifference, seem to have little concern.
I am infact very *happy* for this change. I'm not very religious myself, but I don't think religion is all about the icons and rituals. Read the entire post, it's another way to look at it.

1 comment:

Raj said...

The movie was bad and the translations were very annoying.