Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Rising or The Downfall ??

Watching "Mangal Pandey: The Rising" was a disappointing experience, to put it mildly. If allowed, my actual reaction would be to hold the producer by the scruff of his neck and demand my money back. Dont have any intention of writing a review (as I did for "Sarkar" & "Bunty Aur Babli") - simply because its just not worth the effort. However some ideas crossed my mind while I was watching the movie and immediately thereafter, I would like to put them forward.

  • A period movie need not and should not contain item numbers. Two ravishing babes in skimpy clothes, swinging provocatively to the tunes is not the way street performances happen in India. And surely it did not happen that way back in 1856.
  • In a historical and patriotic movie,, the patriotism & historical moments should take the centre stage - not two half baked love stories running parallel to each other. If the director has any talent, he can successfully direct a period movie, without having to resort to the masala movie formula. On the other hand if a director seriously belives that movies can't be made without a love story as the central angle, he should refrain from attempting period movies.
  • In a historic movie, characters, time & place are of the paramount importance. If you mess them up, the movie is screwed beyond repair. So it challenges the tolerance of serious movie goers when you show a small town (Barrackpore) in Bengal in 1856 and the sign board on a shop is written in Hindi in Devanagari script.
  • If someone gets shot in the chest on 29th April, he can't be healed up enough to attend the military court in person (and walk into it on his own feet) on 5th of May. Definitely not a century and half ago, when the medical facilities were still in a primitive stage.
  • Rani Mukherjee should rechristen herself as Roni (crying) Mukherjee. In the scenes where she is not actually crying, it seems as if she is going to. So big is her propensity for tears that she spent most of her on-screen time crying, even when in her previous movie, the character was called Babli (Bubbly). I wonder if she gives some kind of discount, when the movie-makers cast her in crying roles.
  • A movie set in 1850s need not have all the female characters showing off thier cleavages. At least while making period movies, the director should have restrained his urge to be an exhibitionist.
  • Mangal Pandey might have raised his voice against the British officers. But how feasible it sounds for him to have a good knowledge of the parliamentay democracy system in Britain, and preach Gordon about it?
Mangal Pandey, in my opinion was more of a "thought process" (what we call "ek soch"), than an actual hero of the freedom struggle. Let me explain. In real life, the man might have been a hero or an accident, it hardly matters. What matters is, whether through his sacrifice or otherwise, he did inspire the great Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. Mangal Pandey, as a person might not have achieved much. But when he became a thought, as the talk and inspiration of mutineers, he did show us that an armed struggle could be mounted against a marauding & occuppying foreign power.

I salute the great inspiring thought called "Mangal Pandey" and condemn the pathetic movie that could hardly be described as a tribute to the hero of India's first freedom struggle. The movie has its very few moments of glory. But as we know, we can't make a bouquet with some fresh and a lot of dried-up flowers !!


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