Mangal Pandey: The Rising

Mangal pandey – The Rising..

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ketan Mehta
Produced by Bobby Bedi
Ketan Mehta
Deepa Sahi
Screenplay by Farrukh Dhondy
Story by Farrukh Dhondy
Starring Aamir Khan
Rani Mukerji
Toby Stephens
Coral Beed
Ameesha Patel
Kirron Kher
Narrated by Om Puri
Music by A. R. Rahman
Cinematography Himman Dhamija
Edited by A. Sreekar Prasad
Distributed by Kaleidoscope Entertainment
Tfk Films
INOX Leisure Limited
Yash Raj Films
Release dates
  • 12 August 2005 (2005-08-12)
Running time
151 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 38 crore (equivalent to 90 crore or US$13 million in 2016)
Box office 85 crore (equivalent to 202 crore or US$30 million in 2016)[1]

Mangal Pandey: The Rising (Indian title) or The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey (international title) is a 2005 Indian 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").

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).

The film was premiered in the Marché du Film section of the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.[2][3] It was declared a flop by[4]


The film begins in 1857, when a large part of India was under the control of the British East India Company. Mangal Pandey (Aamir Khan) is a sepoy, a soldier of Indian origin, in the army of the East India Company. Pandey is fighting in the Anglo-Afghan Wars and saves the life of his British commanding officer, William Gordon (Toby Stephens). Gordon is indebted to Pandey and a strong friendship develops between them, transcending both rank and race.

Gordon rescues a young widow, Jwala (Ameesha Patel), from committing Sati (the act of following her deceased husband on to the funeral pyre). Afterwards, he falls in love with her. Meanwhile, Heera (Rani Mukerji) has been sold into prostitution, to work for Lol Bibi (Kirron Kher). There is a spark of attraction between her and Pandey and a liaison follows.

Gordon and Pandey's friendship is challenged following the introduction of a new rifle, the Enfield rifled musket. In reality as in the film, rumours began to spread among the sepoys that the paper cartridges that held the powder and ball for the rifle were greased with either pig fat or beef tallow. Since the process of loading the cartridge required the soldier to bite the cartridge open to pour in the loose powder, the soldiers believed that the process would require them to consume pork or beef – an act abhorrent to Muslim and Hindu soldiers, respectively, for religious reasons.[5]

In the film, Gordon investigates, and is told to assure Pandey that the cartridges are free from pollution. Demonstrating his total trust in Gordon, Mangal bites the cartridge. But Pandey soon discovers that the cartridges really are greased by animal fat. The rumour of this imposed pollution is the spark that ignites the powder keg of resentment in the country. Mutiny breaks out, led by Pandey. At one point Pandey and Gordon become involved in direct hand-to-hand combat as the latter tries to dissuade the sepoy from what he believes to be a futile exercise that will lead to only death. However, the Company was prepared and brought in British army units from Rangoon and Pandey was captured and executed, despite the protestations of Gordon, who reasons that Pandey will be revered as a martyr and that his legacy will cause more uprising. This turns out to be correct; Mangal marries Heera in his jail cell before his execution as the film closes to scenes of nationwide revolt against British rule. Gordon is listed as having joined the rebellion against the Company Raj.

The film ends with a montage of drawings of the historical rebellion and the narrator describes the progress of the Indian independence movement over the next century. The montage ends with documentary footage of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi leading the Indian National Congress during peaceful protests against British rule in the 1940s, eventually forcing an end to colonialism in the subcontinent.


The film marked the comeback of Aamir Khan who went into a hiatus after Dil Chahta Hai released in 2001.
Actor/Actress Role
Aamir Khan Mangal Pandey
Rani Mukerji Heera
Toby Stephens Captain William Gordon
Coral Beed Emily Kent
Ameesha Patel Jwala
Kirron Kher Lol Bibi
Om Puri Narrator
Ben Nealon Hewson
Habib Tanveer Bahadur Shah Zafar
Varsha Usgaonkar Rani Laxmibai
Kenneth Cranham Kent
Tom Alter Watson
Mukesh Tiwari Bakht Khan
Shahbaz Khan Azimullah
Deepraj Rana Tatya Tope
Amin Hajee Vir Singh
Sanjay Swaraj Ishwariprasad
Simon Chandler Lockwood
Christopher Adamson Anson
Disha Vakani Yasmin
Amit Waghere Supporting Actor
Mona Ambegaonkar Kamla
Ian Jackson Extra


Box office

The film had a bumper start at the box office, but was declared average by Box Office India. It netted 45.0 million (US$670,000) in Indian box office and grossed worldwide.[6]

Critical reception

Upon its release, the film received positive reviews. It received a 91% rating from noted critics rated "fresh" at Rotten Tomatoes.[7] Film critic Taran Adarsh of IndiaFM gave the film a rating of four stars of five saying that the film 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."[8]

Raja Sen of Rediff panned the film as being only about "cleavage and cliche".[9]

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."[10]

Film Scholar Omer Mozaffar of 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.[11]


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.[12] The Samajwadi Party leader Uday Pratap Singh called in the Rajya Sabha for the movie to be banned for its "inaccurate portrayal" of Pandey.[13] The Uttar Pradesh government criticised the film for "distortion" of historical facts, and considered banning it.[14] Protestors in Ballia district, of which the historical 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.[14]


Mangal Pandey: The Rising
Soundtrack album by A. R. Rahman
15 July 2005 (India)
Recorded Panchathan Record Inn and AM Studios
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Producer Bobby Bedi
A. R. Rahman chronology
Mangal Pandey: The Rising
Anbe Aaruyire

The music of the movie was scored by A. R. Rahman with lyrics penned by Javed Akhtar.

No. TitleSingers Length
1. "Al Maddath Maula"  A. R. Rahman, Kailash Kher, Murtuza Khan, Kadir 05:55
2. "Holi Re"  Aamir Khan, Udit Narayan, Madhushree, Srinivas, Chinmayee 04:51
3. "Main Vari Vari"  Kavita Krishnamurthy, Reena Bhardwaj 04:51
4. "Mangal Mangal"  Kailash Kher 02:29
5. "Mangal Mangal – Aatma"  Kailash Kher, Sukhwinder Singh 04:19
6. "Mangal Mangal – Agni"  Kailash Kher 02:25
7. "Rasiya"  Richa Sharma, Bonnie Chakraborty 05:55
8. "Takey Takey"  Sukhwinder Singh, Kailash Kher, Kartick Das Baul 04:31


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