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Movie Review Assignment

“MANGAL PANDEY: THE RISING”


(2005)

Image Source-Yash Raj Films


BY-
ANUSHKA SAHU
ROLL NO: UL18BA002
XAVIER LAW SCHOOL
INTRODUCTION-
I have just seen the movie “Mangal Pandey: The Rising”. This movie was released in the year
2005. It is an Indian historical biographical drama.

It is based on the life of Mangal Pandey, the leader of the Mutiny of 1857. He was an Indian
soldier who is known for helping to start the Indian rebellion of 1857. His fight against British
rule made a mark in the world. This Indian Rebellion of 1857 is also known as the First War of
Independence. Internationally the film is also known as The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey.

He was the man who rose against the empire.

In my opinion “Mangal Pandey: The Rising” is one of the best movies that I have ever watched.
Through this movie we get to know that Mangal Pandey was the soldier who inspired India’s
independence struggle. It was Pandey’s rebellion which motivated and influenced the Indians to
raise their voice against the oppression of British rule and maltreatment by them. This later
became a major revolution.

This film was directed by Ketan Mehta and narrated by Om Puri.


ABOUT THE MOVIE-

The story is about how Mangal Pandey, an ordinary soldier instigated the First War of
Independence. This movie is the story of friendship, love, betrayal and loss behind the Indian
Mutiny of 1857. This movie also features the friendship between Mangal Pandey, an Indian
soldier and William Gordon, the British commander.

The main characters are as follows:

-Mangal Pandey

-Captain William Gordon

-Nainsukh

-Captain Hewson

-Heera

PLOT-

In the year April 1857 a greater part of Indian subcontinent is ruled by the East India Company.
Mangal Pandey is a sepoy in the Company’s army. He is in the 34th Bengal Native Infantry of the
army.

When a fight is going on with the Afghan snipers, Pandey saves Gordon’s life by dragging him
to safety when the duo is targeted by the Afghans. Both of them are rescued by other fellow
soldiers and are taken to a camp where they both recover. While both were regaining their
strength, Gordon seeks out Mangal and as a token of appreciation hands over his pistol to him.
Three years later when the New Year’s Eve is going on at the Governor General’s palace at
Calcutta, while serving the drinks to the guests an Indian servant spills the drink on Mr. Kent’s
daughter. The servant is beaten up by captain Hewson as he tried to clean the mess and is
mistaken to inadvertently touch the daughter of Mr. Kent. When Mangal sees the Englishman
beating the Indian, he attempts to stop him from severely beating the man which in turn angers
Captain Hewson. Gordon observes the assault but does not terminate it and this leads to tension
with Pandey. However, a friendship is formed between Mangal Pandey and Gordon when the
latter apologizes to the former during a wrestling match between them transcending rank and
race.

Then a new weapon the Enfield rifled musket is introduced by the company. Rumors spread
among the Indian soldiers that the paper cartridges of the rifle holding the powder and ball for
the Enfield rifle are greased with pig fat and beef tallow. The sepoys believe that the process of
loading the rifle would cause them to consume beef and pork because the process of loading the
rifle required the soldiers to bite down on the cartridge. This process is abhorrent to Muslim and
Hindu soldiers for religious reason as pork is Haram food for Muslims and the Quran forbids
eating pork and similarly cow is a sacred and holy animal according to Hinduism. Nainsukh who
is a low caste laborer teases Mangal Pandey who is a brahmin that he has lost his caste by
consuming meat by using such a gun, but Pandey puts away Nainsukh’s taunts. The soldiers led
by Pandey convey their concerns to General Hearsey but he reassures them that the company has
always taken care of them and no such cartridges exist and states that the rumors are false. Then
a cart carrying boxes loaded with greased cartridges is passing through the market, the cart
breakdowns and the boxes fall as a result of which the cartridges are scattered everywhere. To
everyone’s surprise dogs start licking the same giving people hint about the greased cartridges.
At the musketry drill when the sepoys are asked to test fire the new rifle, they are hesitant and
concerned to do the same. But William Gordon after talking to Hearsey, the Captain restates that
no such cartridges exists and asks a soldier to test fire the new weapon. Trusting the words
spoken by Gordon whom Pandey considers as his friend, Pandey himself volunteers and test fires
the rifle and afterwards Pandey’s friend chastise him for using the cartridge as they still believed
that the rumors were true.

Meanwhile when Gordon and Pandey are together they see some men proceeding to perform Sati
ceremony. Gordon immediately stops the ceremony from occurring and is helped by Pandey.
They rescue a widow named Jwala. Gordon takes Jwala to his house and there he arranges for
her to be treated. Many a times Gordon was attacked by the relatives of jwala and was threatened
to hand over Jwala to the villagers. The duo gradually ends up having an affair. We later see a
girl named Heera is being sold to a brothel run by a lady named Lol Bibi. Further Pandey sees
Captain Hewson trying to rape Heera, he stops him and the two are involved in a fight. This
earns Pandey Captain Hewson’s ire and wrath. Hewson not withstanding the insult plans with
other two officers to torment and beat Pandey the next day. Pandey’s fellow sepoys inform
Gordon the same and while the English were beating and torturing Pandey, Gordon saves
Pandey, his friend on time by intervening. Eventually Pandey and Heera fall in love. Later we
see that Nainsukh takes Pandey and some other Indian soldiers to see the factory held by Mr.
Kent where the rifles cartridges grease was being made. To everyone’s surprise the grease turns
out to be the fats of pig and beef tallow. Dejected Pandey returns Gordon’s pistol and ends their
friendship believing that Gordon lied to him.

After knowing the truth behind the making of the cartridges, the 19th Regiment of Berhampore
refuses to use the weapon when the 34th regiment refuses to use the same. As a result of which
mutiny brews among the sepoys and they start rebelling. Gordon attempts to dissuade Pandey
and the other mutineers from rebelling and also attempts to convince Major General George
Anson, the Commander in Chief to abandon the use of cartridges but all his attempts go in vain
and he becomes unsuccessful.

Meanwhile the mutineers meet Tantiya Tope and Azimullah, his messenger and they all agree to
unite under the dominion of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the Mughal emperor and rise in rebellion.
General Anson decides to send the Queen’s regiment from Rangoon to obstruct and subdue the
rebels. The Regiment’s arrival in Behrampore is scheduled on 1st April. As heera had spent the
last night with Hewson, she knew about this plan and informs the same to Pandey. The mutineers
revise their timetable to march on 30th March, but the wife of one of the rebels vexed at her
husband after a heated argument, informs her British employer about the impending revolt. As
Hewson was present in the employer’s room, he overhears the conversation and they later torture
the rebel forcing him to reveal the date of the march.

On 29th March, the mutineers are informed about the arrival of the Rangoon Regiment. Pandey
attempts/tries to rally them to defend the attack and when Gordon along with other officers
inquire as to what they were up to, the rebels turn on them. When the mutineers see the Rangoon
regiment coming, they wanted to throw down their weapons. Pandey, however not giving up
fires at the opponent killing two and injuring other four, attempts to shoot himself when he sees
himself surrounded by the regiment. Gordon saves Pandey and takes him to the hospital. There
Gordon requests Pandey to accept his mistake as a result of which Pandey will be spared by the
Englishmen. But Mangal Pandey refused to do the same. Pandey was court martialed and
William Gordon testifies on his behalf defending his actions and warning the Englishmen about
the bloody rebellion if Pandey is hanged. In spite of Gordon warning them, the court martial
imposes death sentence on Mangal Pandey. The night before the execution of Pandey, Heera
visits him in jail and marries Pandey. The next day in front of Gordon, the officers, his fellow
sepoys and the people of the town, Pandey is hanged. The spectators inspired by Pandey’s
execution break out in revolt.

ABOUT THE ACTORS IN THE MOVIE-

The following actors/actresses played the different roles-

Aamir Khan- sepoy Mangal Pandey

Toby Stephens- Captain William Gordon

Rani Mukherjee- Heera

Ameesha Patel- Jwala

Om Puri- Narrator

I really appreciate the work of all the actor and actresses. Every actor and actress working in the
movie did a magnificent and outstanding job. Through their acting they brought out to us the real
message the film tried to convey us. The actors whose acting I liked the most are Aamir Khan
and Toby Stephens.

Aamir Khan is one of the most popular and influential actors of Indian cinema. Because of his
acting he has established himself as a leading actor of Hindi cinema. In 2005 Khan played the
title role of real life sepoy (Indian soldier) and martyr who helped to spark/ignite the Indian
Rebellion of 1857. Portraying the character of Mangal Pandey, Aamir Khan brings out to us a
vivid and realistic picture of the life of Mangal Pandey. By doing so he did an exceptional job.
Aamir Khan and others by their acting made the film a success and this brought pride and
prestige in domestic platform as well as international platform.

Toby Stephens is an English television and film actor who appears in “Mangal Pandey- the
Rising” portraying the role of Captain William Gordon. He is playing the role of a British army
captain. He has done marvelous and wonderful job. Through his acting we got to know about
friendship of Mangal Pandey and William Gordon and also got to know about the character of
Captain Gordon how sympathetic, soft hearted and understanding he was. His effort in working
in the film is really valued and respected.

JUDGEMENTS ON MOVIE-

THE SCENES WHICH I LIKED-

1- Four years back when a war was going on, Pandey saves Captain Gordon when he
himself got shot by the Afghani shooter. This shows Pandey’s warm hearted and selfless
attitude.
2- Captain Gordon rescues a widow named Jwala from sati ceremony. It was a great move
by him as practice of sati in my view is inhumane and revolting to the feelings of human
nature.
3- Sepoy Mangal Pandey saves a girl Heera from Captain Hewson who was trying to rape
her. It gives a positive impact because were people in the past like Pandey who stood
against wrong committed against women.
4- The scene where Captain Gordon states the problem of cartridges to higher officers
stating the sepoy issue to be sensitive and requests the company to take the cartridges
back respecting custom and traditions of Indians.
5- The sepoys refuse to use the cartridges knowing that their refusal would kill them. They
protected their religion and were ready to die for it.
6- The scene where all Indians including Tantiya tope and Azimullah gather together and
join hands to fight against the company rule. This showed their patriotism.
7- When Gordon and Pandey fight, the latter defeats the former and as a token of friendship
that Pandey had with Gordon in the past, Pandey does not kill him.
8- When Rangoon regiment arrived all the rebels were unwilling to attack fearing to lose
their lives but mangal Pandey stands fearlessly and sacrifices his blood and life for his
nation.
9- In hospital Gordon requests Pandey to accept his mistake so that the English would spare
the latter but he refuses stating that his Hindustan is rising and no one can stop it and he
is ready to sacrifice his life.
10- Gordon as an eye witness in court claims Pandey to be a loyal, brave soldier and one of
the finest sepoys to serve under his command and makes all efforts to serve Pandey; this
shows his loyalty towards Mangal Pandey.
11- The last scene where Pandey selflessly sacrifices his life for his country’s independence
and is hanged to death.

THE SCENES WHICH I DISLIKED-

1- When in a party Hewson calls an Indian servant black dog and beats him ruthlessly as he
spilled over a drink on Mr. Kent’s daughter. This shows that Indians were maltreated and
misbehaved by the British.
2- When village sarpanch requests Gordon to hand over the victim of sati whom the latter
saves so that they would complete the sati ceremony. This shows that instead of sati
being abolished some people encouraged the evil practice.
3- East India Company had a monopoly of opium trade so a man names Sorabji is caught
illegally trading the same. He tries to bribe Officer Lockwood stating that it is the
tradition of Indians to give small gifts (bribe). This shows that corruption was prevailing
in India that time.
4- The scene where several houses of innocent Indians are set ablaze by the company for
cultivating opium without its permission.
5- When Hewson and his friends beat Pandey mercilessly for saving a girl on whom
Hewson was forcing himself and call Pandey to be a tamed dog, discriminating Indians.
6- Pandey discriminates Nainsukh, a sweeper as the former was a Brahmin. This depicts
caste system in India at that time.
7- The scene where General Anson receives a letter about the Rangoon regiment’s arrival
and decides to hang the sardars and snatch away the weapons from sepoy. His idea was to
rule India a next 100 years and no one could raise their voice suppressing India and ruling
over it.
8- On 4th April when Pandey is court martialed and sentenced to death for instigating
rebellion. In my view Pandey tried to fight for his nation which was not at all wrong.
LESSON LEARNT FROM THE MOVIE-

The lesson which we learnt from the story “Mangal Pandey- the Rising” is that we have to fight
ourselves for our own rights. We have to awake a new hope among others to fight for a right
cause just as Mangal Pandey did. At the time of trouble, he awoke a hope among Indians and a
vision to see India independent. He was the one who ushered the spark of nationalism among
Indians. We also learn about his genuine efforts to stop the atrocities of the Company (British).

We get to know about his selfless attitude how he sacrificed his life for his nation’s
independence. As a true nationalist hero, he kept quiet in the court room which cost him his own
life.

Others can also learn about his selfless attitude, his confidence and his love for his nation. They
will also learn to raise voice against the oppression of the enemy.

In future this will help us in the long run. It will give us bravery and valour to stand against all
wrong and combat it. And for students studying law it teaches them a great lesson to raise voice
against and oppress all the wrong and malpractices in the society.

By watching this movie we can inculcate the following values in us-

1- Stand against evil in society


2- Love our nation selflessly.
3- Courage to face all difficulties by overcoming all obstacles and barriers.
4- Respect women
5- Fight against social evil and corruption.

By infusing such values in us we can build for ourselves a strong and successful nation to live in.

RELATING THE MOVIE WITH LEGAL HISTORY-

When we relate the movie “Mangal Pandey- the Rising to legal history we get to know about the
East India Company rule in India and also learn about what lead to the First War of
Independence 1857 and also about the justice system at that time.

The East India Company’s rule in India -It refers to the rule and dominion of the British East
India Company over Indian subcontinent. This commenced in 1757, after the Battle of Plassey,
when Mir Jafar, the new Nawab of Bengal installed on a throne by Robert Clive, became a finger
puppet in the Company's hands in 1765, when the Company was granted the right to collect
revenue(diwani) in Bengal and Bihar; and in 1773, when the Company established a capital
in Calcutta, appointed Warren Hastings as its first Governor General, and became directly
involved in governance. By 1818, with the defeat of the Marathas, followed by the dismissing
the Peshwa and the seizure of his territories, British supremacy in India were complete and
absolute.

What led to the First War of Independence?

The initial widespread uprising against the British East India Company rule was The First War of
Independence 1857. Some social reforms like the Doctrine of Lapse, the issue of cartridges
greased with pig fat and beef tallow to Indian sepoys and the introduction of a British education
system had enraged various sections of Indians. These Indians rose in revolt at many places all
over India. And therefore, because of this uprising, the East India Company was brought under
the direct rule of the British Crown.

Among the freedom fighters who led the struggle, Mangal Pandey had a remarkable role in
India's Freedom Struggle. He fired the first bullet in the First War of Independence 1857. Also
the Company’s negligence towards the religion, the customs and traditions of the Hindus and the
Muslim led to the mutiny.
Justice System Existing Then-
India was then ruled by the East India Company. The Court comprised of judges who were
Englishmen so it was obvious for them to support their Company and give judgment in
Company’s favor. The court tried Pandey as he instigated the rebellion and had injured four
officers and shot the other two officers. As Mangal Pandey was the sepoy in the Company’s
army, he was court martialed in an English court. Captain Gordon stated in the court that just
knowing what happened was not enough and the court had to understand why it happened but the
court ignored his statement. The court also ignored the circumstances that led to Pandey’s
behavior. Finally the court sentenced death by hanging to Pandey.
OPINION AND OBSERVATION ON MOVIE-
Comparing the movie with present context- In this movie it is observed that the revolt of 1857 by
Mangal Pandey did not go in vain and instead bore the fruits of independence. It was Mangal
Pandey who took a stand against the oppression of the British and ignited the First War of
Independence 1857. He was the one who raised voice for a right cause and in the process of
revolting he did not harm an innocent life and did not cause any kind of destruction.
But in today’s society people rally their fellow friends and strike in various parts of the country
when their demands are not fulfilled by the government. Some strike gives positive results
whereas some don’t. In the process of strike many innocent people are harmed and their life is at
stake and also it leads to destruction of property.
In this movie we see a scene in which Mangal Pandey saves a girl from being raped but in our
present society there are some people who don’t even bother to save a girl and ignore the crime
and instead criticize the victim of such a heinous crime.
SUGGESTIONS AFTER WATCHING THE MOVIE-
In my opinion the movie is ideal and perfect. It has all the required and desirable elements and
qualities an Indian historical biographical drama should have. But it would have been a bit better
in my view if the movie contained the scenes of Mangal Pandey’s early life (incidents which
happened in his life before he joined the Company’s Army). Otherwise this movie creates a
vivid, realistic and authentic picture in our mind about the later life of Mangal Pandey and his
efforts in igniting the First War of Independence 1857.
CONCLUSION-
This movie creates a realistic picture of Hindustan during the East India Company’s rule and
gives us idea as to how the Mutiny of 1857 started.
This movie teaches us to take a stand and raise voice against all the wrongdoings.

A Paleophile (a person who loves history) will really enjoy and appreciate this movie because
this movie gives everyone a basic idea and knowledge about how the First War of Independence
1857 started and also gives specific information and facts about the person who ignited the
Mutiny of 1857 (First War of Independence 1857).
I would recommend this movie to every Indian especially to all the students studying Political
Science and even to Law students as this movie gives a lot of details and information about the
administrative system, political system and the judiciary system existing then.

I really appreciate the wonderful cinematography and the vivid and rich canvas Ketan Mehta, the
director uses to unfold the tale/history before his audience.

Bibliography-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangal_Pandey

https://www.indiatoday.in

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0346457/