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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo Aamir Khan, Toby Stephens, & Indian Cinema Today!
This is an deeply engaging, colourful, entertaining, informative, and insightful film about an event in Indian history that we should all know more about: The First Indian War of Independence (1857) -- known to many of us as the Sepoy Mutiny. The acting is superb, with Aamir Khan a feast for the eye and soul, and Toby Stephens brilliant in a role where he speaks mostly...
Published on 25 Feb 2006

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bollywood's black and white movie
Well, of course, being a Bollywood this film is splashing with colour. It looks fantastic - no wonder why one of its episodes was used in Michael Wood's Story of India. Equally it could be used in one of numerous TV ads for "Incredible India".

Yet, in fact, this is a black and white film, made in best traditions of Chinese or Soviet propaganda movies. To put it...
Published on 14 Feb 2012 by G. Account


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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bravo Aamir Khan, Toby Stephens, & Indian Cinema Today!, 25 Feb 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Mangal Pandey: The Rising [DVD] [2005] [NTSC] (DVD)
This is an deeply engaging, colourful, entertaining, informative, and insightful film about an event in Indian history that we should all know more about: The First Indian War of Independence (1857) -- known to many of us as the Sepoy Mutiny. The acting is superb, with Aamir Khan a feast for the eye and soul, and Toby Stephens brilliant in a role where he speaks mostly Hindi -- and speaks it very well, too! He is quite extraordinary in the role of an officer of the East India Company with divided loyalties.
As well as entertaining us in great style, the film whets our appetites to find out more about the rich and complex history of India and of the Raj. As entertainment, there is music, colour, dancing, movie stars of enchanting beauty and grace on display -- let's face it, this is an entertainment! -- and some exemplary acting as well.
People who take a dim view of Bollywood movies will be quite surprised and astounded by this film for its depth of feeling, its scintillating acting, and the challenges it poses to the mind and heart. For those who saw Aamir Khan's earlier outing, Lagaan, and were hooked, this latest film will be a treat. For those who found Lagaan too black-and-white, too simply laid out with the moral high ground too easily won, be assured that there is are new-found depths and complexities to be experienced in Mangal Pandey...and yet the film never fails to entertain.
It seems to me that Aamir Khan is the man to watch where Indian cinema is concerned -- he has the 'common touch' and mass appeal, and his films are richly entertaining, but he is introducing a mass audience to the public and engaged examination of difficult issues arising from a colonial legacy. He also invites western audiences to a fresh look at the history of the Raj, to try to really get to some balanced understanding of the colonial legacy. Khan is getting a lot of people -- in India, the UK, the US, and anywhere there are cinemas or DVDs -- interested and engaged in colonial discourse. It's great! His next outing is, I believe, a new film of The Mahabharata. I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to that one! Please do see Mangal Pandey: the Rising. After that, I hope you will look forward to seeing The Mahabharata, too!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Triumph, 20 May 2007
By 
AG Stephenson "andrewjoychris" (Newhaven England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mangal Pandey: The Rising [DVD] [2005] [NTSC] (DVD)
Every History, Politics and Economics student should be shown this movie. It has important lessons for everyone. Aamir Khan confirms his position as probably the most important actor of his generation with an understated performance full of power and integrity. Rani Mukerji has never looked more beautiful and is growing as an actress in each one of her movies. I'm looking forward to seeing her in 'London Dreams'. Toby Stephens also puts in a fine performance as the British Officer. One piece of advice, however. Make sure you also watch the deleted scenes as they tie up several of the loose ends left dangling at the end of the movie. This film is a triumph for the Yash Raj studio which has succeeded in stretching the limits of what makes a Bollywood movie once again. It's also a triumph for Bollywood in general which continues to increase its audience worldwide with movies that matter like this one.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A patriotic masterpiece, 14 Nov 2006
This review is from: Mangal Pandey: The Rising [DVD] [2005] [NTSC] (DVD)
Before I begin my dissection of this epic, let me just remind you the image Bollywood has in the west is 3 hour plus long movies with more songs & dance sequences then actual narrative or action and little storyline, if this is your image of Bollywood I strongly advise you to watch this film. A Historical epic based on true evens and real people, this really does break the mould of your typical Hindi movie.

The story centres on events in 1857, during British Rule of India. Many historians believe the Indian Independence movement began here, almost 90 years before India actually received its independence from British rule. We begin the story be being introduced to the central character, Mangal Pandey (played brilliantly by Aamir Khan, a native sepoy (frontline British army soldier) working for the East India Company on behalf of the British Raj.

He begins a strong friendship with his commanding British officer, William Gordon (played by Toby Stephans), by saving him an a war with Afghanistan. The story accelerates from here introducing us to the way of life the Sepoy lives, totally loyal to the companies regime, loosing their tradition and culture. When the Sepoy's are asked to use a new gun cartridge greased with the fat of cows & pigs (against the religions of both Hindu's & Muslims) they all face conflict within, do they go against their faith & heritage or carry on to follow the "companies" rules?

When Gordon promise his friend Mangal that the cartridges will not damage his faith and are not greased with animal fat, Mangal believes him and trusts his friend but also warning if the facts are false and the rumour is true he will burn the entire company down to the ground ! You have to realise when your watching this spectacle these events really happened, and India was under the rule of the British who used over 300,000 native Indians in their armed regiments to control the Indian sub continent under an iron fist, and they promised to always have their best interests at heart. When the truth emerges about these controversial gun cartridges, Magal Pandey explodes and a mutiny begins within the ranks of the sepoys, the news spread fast. The movie has some romance too with Magal falling in love with a local prostitute hired to pleasure the British soldiers, and his friend Gordon even falls for an Indian girl.

The movie is well shot and has good narrative, it may not be to everyone's cup of tea as this is not your standard bollywood or even hollywood type film, and the music is definitely a plus point to me especially the title song "Mangal,a, Mangal, a, Mangal". Again this won't be to everyone's taste especially when the viewer is trying to sympathise with the plight of the Indian people only to see the characters burst into song and vibrant colours thrown everywhere, but this is Indian cinema so you have to get used to I, and I loved this aspect.

Overall I don't think its the cross Atlantic film that bridges the gap between American & Indian films it wants to be, trying to please Indian & western audiences is difficult especially in a historical context, but it does a good job of being a serious entertainer and definitely gave me goosebumps and made me proud of my heritage.

Bollywood movies are an acquired taste, and though this isn't technically a bollywood movie with 70% of the dialogue in English, and less resonance to the viewer with no Indian roots it still is a good entertaining film with watching as an alternative
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MANGAL PANDEY, 1 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Mangal Pandey: The Rising [DVD] [2005] [NTSC] (DVD)
I RECEIVED THE DVD (MANGAL PANDY) IN GOOD ORDER. I REALLY ENJOYED WATCHING THE FILM AND WOULD RECOMMEND IT TO OTHER PEOPLE.THANKS A LOT
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful film, 25 April 2013
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This review is from: Mangal Pandey: The Rising [DVD] [2005] [NTSC] (DVD)
A beautifully filmed version of the first Indian revolt (or Sepoy mutiny depending on your view). The music is breathtakingly good. Acting is excellent. Loved it.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bollywood's black and white movie, 14 Feb 2012
By 
G. Account (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mangal Pandey: The Rising [DVD] [2005] [NTSC] (DVD)
Well, of course, being a Bollywood this film is splashing with colour. It looks fantastic - no wonder why one of its episodes was used in Michael Wood's Story of India. Equally it could be used in one of numerous TV ads for "Incredible India".

Yet, in fact, this is a black and white film, made in best traditions of Chinese or Soviet propaganda movies. To put it simple, all Brits are greedy, lying, cruel, drunk, whore-loving baddies (apart from Toby Stephens, of course, who reminds me Jane Fonda in Vietnam), while all Indians are proud, honest and humane - even when they are burning churches - or being "forced" to grow opium - or even when performing sati.

BTW, I am not a Brit.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb historically inspired story with heart & great depiction of the bond between 2 men of different cultures, 17 Jun 2009
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This review is from: Mangal Pandey: The Rising [DVD] [2005] [NTSC] (DVD)
This movie is 2 things at once. It is a historical document that succinctly goes to the core of a period that has importance both to Indians and British. It also beautifully portrays the bond between a sepoy Mangal Pandey (an Indian soldier fighting for the British)- Aamir Khan- and his British officer- Toby Stephens.
The events are about what is referred to as India's first war of independence. In fact it isn't a fight against the British army and government but against the East India company who had their own armies, corruption and big business exploitation of the day. In my ignorance this wasn't something I knew about and without laboring any point they sketched the dilemmas this posed for the Indians. It is about the ending of the stranglehold the company had on India, when they were replaced by British government rule. Obviously the British government weren't exactly the good guys by contrast as we all know and this ended too 90 years later.
There are many things that impressed me about this movie. The script is tight and excellent. The cinematography is superb. The soundtrack by A.R. Rahman is at his high level of excellence.
It is a particularly good mix of British and Indian. Often these sacrifice one culture or the other and stereotype. Not this one. The British actors are from their finest and they talk like British (instead of a strange stilted English with odd phrases you often get in hindi movies). It is also very much a hindi movie. It has top hindi actors throughout (including minor romantic threads with Rani Mukurgee and Amisha Patel, with Kiron Kher as a brothel head) and narrated by Om Puri. It also has singing and a little dancing in context. When the British speak to the Indians they speak in hindi (and don't seem to be dubbed either).
Now both Aamir and Toby are absolutely superb. Aamir has all the charisma required for the role and Toby is not only an attractive match for him but can do the compassion and warmth required too.
It isn't just a 'let's get the British' either. There are sympathetic caring British officers and and officer's daughters. It also footnotes briefly as part of the plot how the British did bring some compassion with them in ending the burning of widows on their husband's funeral pyres.
This isn't melodrama but beautifully rich textured portrayal of complexity, heart, dilemmas and a great understanding of a period in history as well as Indian culture.
This naturally has violence in it but it isn't unrelenting bloodbath as I had wondered about when getting it. It is mostly about the human interactions and dynamics of the situation, times and the friendship.
I usually prefer my movies lighter but I was so impressed by this one it is a 5 star even though it is hardly a happy little piece!
Elsewhere on the Net it tends to score above average (eg 8 out of 10). There have been challenges to its exact historical accuracy - even questioning how much a of a hero Mangal was - especially as he may have been under the influence of opium which intensifies emotion when he incited rebellion). They do say at the beginning that they have fleshed it in a bit and taken some liberties here and there. For me though it still reveals the times, the reach of the East India company and the texture of what took place. As a story it is worth watching in its own right- even if its just for the bond between the 2 men.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Misinformed, 23 Mar 2012
This review is from: Mangal Pandey: The Rising [DVD] [2005] [NTSC] (DVD)
As a point of information and matter of fact: the cartridges were not greased with pork or beef fat. The British were well aware of religious requirements and had been careful to use other greases. False rumours about the cartridges, with suggestions that the British were deliberately trying to destroy religions and make the sepoys lose caste, were spread by agitators.
Even so, the mutiny would have been avoided if one commander on the spot had not been stupidly insensitive and ordered the men, on parade, to bite the cartridges, imprisoning those who did not.
The mutiny became a rebellion, taken up by feudal rulers who saw a chance to regain their power. There were foul atrocities perpetrated by mutineers and by at least one of those feudal rulers.
This mutiny, rebellion or war of independence was confined to a minority of the subcontinent.
Yes, after it was suppressed there were savage reprisals at first (but only upon rebels and NOT exacted upon women and children) but these were quickly ordered to cease by the Government.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny movie, 30 Mar 2010
By 
Bastien Sabine (Orléans, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mangal Pandey: The Rising [DVD] [2005] [NTSC] (DVD)
Lyrical, historical, musical. Colors are great, Toby Stephens good as usual. Not a great movie but I love it.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Ballad short of rhythmic compositions in totality, 12 Jan 2006
This review is from: Mangal Pandey: The Rising [DVD] [2005] [NTSC] (DVD)
After being delayed few times, the timing of the release of this film couldn't have been more perfect, just two days before the Indian I-Day. Any Aamir Khan film is always looked fwd to and it becomes more vivid if he is appearing on celluloid after a gap of four years. Add to this, another name Ketan Mehta who is India's most critically acclaimed director. And to top all this, a historical subject of Mangal Pandey-the first crusader of the first war of Indian Independence.
Indian history has witnessed innumerable martyrs, whose names are easily forgotten or never mentioned. Such people's sacrifices needs more than just a mention in school's history books. Amongst many such names is the name of Mangal Pandey.
This is a film where fiction meets real story set in 1857 AD when 'Company Raj' dictated the fate of people in Indian subcontinent. In such times, a brave sepoy Mangal Pandey in british army decides to go against those who invaded the land first and then slowly everything upto the souls of individuals.This is when the first ever mutiny arises and a new page is added in the history of freedom struggle for both Indians & British.
Aamir Khan plays Mangal Pandey passionately with a complete conviction. His eyes, his skills, his overall persona go further to complement his onus as the most brilliant actor we've around. Toby Stephens excels as William Gordon who traverses the most difficult path where he finds himself constantly in tatters amid things like duty, friendship, loyalty and love, but he finds comfort in the company of Mangal Pandey who is a friend for life. Mangal and Gordon's love interests are pleasantly etched by Rani Mukherjee(Heera) and Ameesha Patel(Jwala), inspite of being there only for 'attracting-audience/commerical-success' method. But such cinematic liberties are excusable if it helps to boost the film in anyway.
The film's attention to detail is immense and emerges visually very strong. A.R.Rahman's music doesn't seem to be his best or probably the oddity of songs' situation fails to create that musical impact, but 'Mangal Mangal' song is a spot-on to the theme and the central character. All the scenes between Aamir and Toby are a delight to watch. Toby doesn't fail to impress with his acting or his hindi-speaking lines. Aamir's performance rises with every frame uptil he reaches the peak in the final courtroom scene where he surpasses all the perimeters of just being the finest actor around, but puts him clearly in a class of his own.
After Lagaan(very strong film) & Mangal Pandey, the Indian filmmakers should think of a more substantial subject to hold the global audience instead of only trying to capitalise on India before independence. This is not to take away anything from the independence movement, but we've come a long way from that phase and its time to show that, without having to cater only to very ‘Bollywood’ (song&dance, colorful & heavily designed clothing, overflowing emotions, huge sets) style loving audience. These factors can make or mar a film depending on how naturally they get absorbed in a film script.
While watching this film I deterred myself from any hype or expectations surrounding it, but still this rising only raises upto a likeable and only-for-Aamir film mark, when it could and should've been much more.
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