Mangal Pandey: The Rising

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Mangal Pandey: The Rising
Mangal Pandey movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKetan Mehta
Screenplay byFarrukh Dhondy
Ranjit Kapoor
(Hindi Dialogues)
Story byFarrukh Dhondy
Produced byBobby Bedi
Ketan Mehta
Deepa Sahi
StarringAamir Khan
Rani Mukerji
Ameesha Patel
Toby Stephens
Kirron Kher
Narrated byOm Puri
CinematographyHimman Dhamija
Edited byA. Sreekar Prasad
Music byA. R. Rahman
Distributed byKaleidoscope Entertainment
Tfk Films
INOX Leisure Limited
Yash Raj Films
Release date
  • 12 August 2005 (2005-08-12)
Running time
151 minutes
Budget34cr [1]
Box office52cr[2]

Mangal Pandey: The Rising (internationally known as The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey) is a 2005 Indian historical biographical 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).It was a box office flop.

It premiered in the Marché du Film section of the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.[3][4] It was the fourth highest-grossing film of 2005.[5]


At the close of the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857, Mangal Pandey is led in chains to his execution for his part in orchestrating the rebellion. The hanging however is delayed, when the hangman doesn't show.

Four years prior to the rebellion, whilst serving as a sepoy in Afghanistan, Pandey saves Captain William Gordon's life from Afghan snipers. Captain Gordon gifts Pandey his service pistol in gratitude, and the two form an unlikely friendship. In January 1857, the Company introduces the Enfield rifled musket to the sepoys, but rumors begin to swell that the paper cartridge is greased with pig fat or beef tallow; both considered abhorrent to the Hindu and Muslim soldiers beliefs as the loading mechanism require the soldier bite down on the cartridge. Captain Gordon gives his word that the rumor is not true (though his own concerns about the rumor are ignored) and asks for a volunteer. Pandey, on Gordon's honor agrees to test fire the rifle, confident that Gordon is telling the truth.

Sometime afterwards, Pandey is brought to a factory where the cartridges are made. Discovering that the initial rumors were actually true, Pandey returns his pistol to Gordon in disgust and ends the friendship. At a parade in Berhampore, the 19th Regiment of sepoys bravely refuse to use the rifles, even whilst under the threat of bombardment by British cannons. Pandey rallies the sepoys by standing in front of a cannon, beginning the Sepoy Mutiny. The sepoys agree to unite under the leadership of the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, before marching to unite the mutiny across India. The British however, catch wind of the planned march, and a British Army Regiment stationed in Rangoon is sent to Behrampore to put down the rebellion.

A day before the march, Pandey is informed of the British Regiment's arrival. In the face of the overwhelming strength of the British forces, the mutineers surrender. Pandey however, valiantly stands alone, killing two and injuring several others. When the regiment surrounds him, Pandey attempts suicide but is captured alive. At Pandey's court-martial, Captain Gordon pleads with the British to spare Pandey's life, at the risk of inciting the mutineers across India. Gordon's pleas however go unheard, and Pandey is sentenced to death.

The next day (on 8 April), in front of Gordon, the British officers, his fellow sepoys, and the townspeople, Pandey is hanged. Inspired by his execution, the spectators break out in revolt. The film ends with drawings of the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and footage of the later Indian independence movement.


The film marked the comeback of actor Aamir Khan who went into a hiatus after Dil Chahta Hai which was released in 2001.
Actor/Actress Role
Aamir Khan Mangal Pandey
Rani Mukerji Heera
Ameesha Patel Jwala
Toby Stephens Captain William Gordon
Coral Beed Emily Kent
Kirron Kher Lal Bibi
Om Puri Narrator
Ben Nealon Captain Hewson
Habib Tanveer Bahadur Shah Zafar
Varsha Usgaonkar Rani Laxmibai
Shrirang Godbole Nana Saheb
Kenneth Cranham Mr. Kent
Tom Alter Watson
Mukesh Tiwari Bakht Khan
Shahbaz Khan Azimullah Khan
Deepraj Rana Tatya Tope
Sanjay Sharma Shivram
Amin Hajee Vir Singh
Sohrab Ardeshir Sohrabjee, Parsi trader
Steven Rimkus Colonel William Mitchell
Sanjay Swaraj Jemadar Ishwari Prasad (hanged 21 April 1857)
Murli Sharma Shiekh Paltu
Lalit Mohan Tiwari Dawar Ali
Anupam Shyam
Simon Chandler Officer Lockwood
Christopher Adamson General Anson
Disha Vakani Yasmin
Subrat Dutta Parmanand Jha
Amit Waghere Supporting Actor
Mona Ambegaonkar Kamla Singh, wife of Vir Singh
Sulabha Arya Old woman, mother of Vir Singh
Ian Jackson Extra
Dibyendu Bhattacharya Kripashankar Singh
Chirag Vohra Bhujavan Shukla
Sophiya Haque Special appearance in "Rasiya" song
Ravi Jhankal Sufi Singer Singing song of Al Madad Maula
Kailash Kher Sufi Singer Singing song of Al Madad Maula
Vivek Mishra cameo


Box office[edit]

Mangal Pandey: The Rising had a great start at the box office but was declared average by Box Office India. It grossed 1,145.0 million (US$15 million) at the Indian box office and 1,852.58 million (US$25 million) worldwide.[6][2]

The film topped the Chennai box office on its opening weekend.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Upon its release, Mangal Pandey received positive reviews. It received a 91% rating from noted critics and was rated "fresh" at Rotten Tomatoes.[8] Film critic Taran Adarsh of IndiaFM gave four stars out of five saying it 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."[9]

Raja Sen of Rediff panned the film as being about "cleavage and cliche".[10]

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 [director] 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."[11]

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.[12]


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.[13] The Samajwadi Party leader Uday Pratap Singh called in the Rajya Sabha for the movie to be banned for its "inaccurate portrayal" of Pandey.[14] The Uttar Pradesh government criticised the film for "distortion" of historical facts, and considered banning it.[15] Protestors in Ballia district, where 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.[15]

A recently (2014) published analysis of the opening stages of the Great Indian Rebellion is critical of the lack of historical evidence supporting the events of 1857, as portrayed in Mangal Pandey: The Rising.[16]


Mangal Pandey: The Rising
Soundtrack album by
Released15 July 2005 (India)
StudioPanchathan Record Inn and AM Studios
GenreFeature film soundtrack
ProducerBobby Bedi
A. R. Rahman chronology
Mangal Pandey: The Rising
Anbe Aaruyire

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

1."Mangal Mangal"Kailash Kher2:31
2."Mangal Mangal – Agni"Kailash Kher2:55
3."Al Madad Maula"A. R. Rahman, Kailash Kher, Murtuza Khan, Kadhir5:58
4."Holi Re"Aamir Khan, Udit Narayan, Madhushree, Srinivas, Chinmayee4:53
5."Takey Takey"Sukhwinder Singh, Kailash Kher, Kartick Das Baul4:35
6."Rasiya"Richa Sharma, Bonnie Chakraborty5:57
7."Main Vari Vari"Kavita Krishnamurthy, Reena Bhardwaj4:54
8."Mangal Mangal – Aatma"Kailash Kher, Sukhwinder Singh4:19

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ "Entertainment / Cinema : Indian films a 'nonentity' at Cannes". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 19 May 2005. Archived from the original on 10 January 2016.
  4. ^ "The Hindu : Entertainment Bangalore / Cinema : Cannes premier for Naina". Archived from the original on 4 February 2010.
  5. ^ "Mangal Pandey - The Rising". Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  6. ^ "Top Lifetime Grossers Worldwide (IND Rs)". boxofficeindia. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013.
  7. ^ Mangal Pandey opens at No.1 in Chennai[dead link]
  8. ^ "Mangal Pandey – The Rising (2005) Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. 12 August 2005. Retrieved 3 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Mangal Pandey – The Rising (2005) | Movie Review, Trailers, Music Videos, Songs, Wallpapers". Bollywood Hungama. 12 August 2005. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  10. ^ Sen, Raja (26 August 2005). "Mangal Pandey: Just cleavage and cliche". Retrieved 14 May 2016.
  11. ^ Elley, Derek (4 August 2005). "The Rising: Ballad Of Mangal Pandey Movie Review". Variety.
  12. ^ By, Uploaded. "We are all Untouchables: A Bollywood Ballad:Discussed by Omer Mozaffar". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 16 February 2010.
  13. ^ "BJP demands ban on Mangal Pandey". Indian Express. 11 August 2005. Retrieved 29 November 2007.
  14. ^ "Rajya Sabha Parliamentary Bulletin, Part I, 205th session, Special Mentions (2-02 p.m.)". Government of India. 18 August 2005. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 29 November 2007.
  15. ^ a b "UP govt to consider ban on 'Mangal Pandey'". Indian Express. 11 August 2005. Retrieved 29 November 2007.
  16. ^ Wagner, Kim A. (2014). The Great Fear of 1857. Rumours, Conspiracies and the Making of the Indian Uprising. p. 245. ISBN 978-93-81406-34-2.

External links[edit]