Rising: The Ballad Of Mangal Pandey Review(Not Mine)

Don't mistake me. I haven't seen the movie yet. I found this review in arrrahmanfans group. As i can't find out the weblink of this review, i am posting the entire review here.

The Rising: The Ballad Of Mangal Pandey Jonathan Romney in London 04 August 2005 00:01

Dir: Ketan Mehta. India. 2005. 150mins

The story of the Indian Mutiny gets a swashbuckling spin, completewith musical numbers, in The Rising, a film that director Ketan Mehtaoriginally planned to make in 1988.

The presence of Aamir Khan – star of Lagaan, one of the few Bollywoodfilms to achieve a healthy degree of non-niche prominence – suggeststhat The Rising might follow suit, though much will depend on itsreception in Locarno where it premiered on Wednesday (Lagaan waslaunched in similar style).

Crossover potential could be hampered, however, by what mainstreamaudiences may perceive as a jarring incongruity between taut,realistic historical drama and the extravagant dance sequences scoredby star composer AR Rahman.

Slightly less than a full-blown epic, the film is handsomely mounted rather than truly spectacular, but at time of viewing, some CGI work,notably in the battle scenes, was yet to be completed. Whether or not it can break out of the specialised market, The Rising's seriousness and political sense of purpose should give it an edge both theatrically and on DVD. The film is released in the UK and Us onAugust 12.

The film begins after the 1857 court martial of the historical figureMangal Pandey (Khan), a sepoy – an Indian soldier enlisted in theBritish army under the all-powerful East India Company. A voice-overtells us we will learn what brought Pandey to this point, and how hisactions led to the downfall of the East India Company, and sowed theseeds for the eventual dismantling of the British Raj.

The action flashes back to a skirmish between the British army andAfghans, in which Pandey saves the life of a young Scottish officer,Captain William Gordon (Stephens). The two men's friendship is latercemented in a wrestling match but is tested when the sepoys come intoconflict with their British commanders, as a result of theintroduction of a bullet cartridge lubricated with beef and pork fat,and therefore offensive to the Indian soldiers.

Meanwhile, both men embark on romances with Indian women - Pandey withRani (Mukerji), a young woman sold as a prostitute in a brothel forBritish officers, and Gordon with Jwala (Patel), a young widow whom hesaves from death by suttee.

The Rising strikes an uneasy balance between factually-basedhistorical drama and very broad melodrama, especially where some ofthe British characters are concerned, although Kenneth Cranham excelsas a boorishly corrupt trader.

Writer Farrukh Dondey manages to impart a great deal of historicalinformation about both the economic voracity and the culturalignorance underlying British dominion, giving the film a distinctMarxist spin. But that requires an awkward amount of exposition, andit stretches plausibility that Gordon should deliver an angry lectureon the oppressive function of the opium trade, anachronisticallysigning off, "And we call it the free market."

The talk, however, is offset by some taut dramatic sequences,especially in the climactic stand-offs between the sepoys and theBritish, with Khan excelling as an intense, charismatic leader whofinally achieves a quasi-messianic status. He's well matched byStephens as a thinking gentleman-of-action.Several song-and-dance sequences provide vibrant interludes,especially when Mukerji lets rip with jubilant, flirty brio.

Waiting to watch it on Aug 12.

Here is another review

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