Saturday, April 12, 2008

Film: "Mangal Pandey: The Uprising"

This is a film about Mangal Pandey, this soldier guy in the British East India Company's army. He becomes more and more annoyed by his bosses, and eventually revolts against them, lighting the spark that will bring the Company's rule to an end. This is a Bollywood film, the first I have ever seen. And it is total genius. Never having seen any of these before and, I suppose, being a closet racist, I had the idea that they would be hokey and lacking in decent production values. Not a bit of it, this film looks great, is well-acted, and deals with its subject with a level of nuance that compares well with equivalent Hollywood films. And it has loads of songs. What more do you want?

It is of course interesting to compare this film to what you get in other nation's cinemas. Male bonding seems to be a really big thing in Bollywood, with the relationship between Pandey and the Scottish officer he initially befriends but then turns against being far more significant than Pandey's courting of a woman imprisoned in a brothel for white Company officers.

I would love to have seen this in India… I bet there isn't a dry eye in the place at the end, when you see news reel footage of the Indian flag going up as the British finally leave.

Does anyone have any other Bollywood recommendations?


Anonymous said...

Hi Mister Bikini,
A great Bollywood recent-ish classic is Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, it has it's own wikipedia entry so you can read all about it there. Lagaan is also excellent, there's even slight elements of The Magnificant Seven and Escape to Victory.

ian said...

That's Mr Panda to you. Lagaan is the one about the cricket match, yeah?

Anonymous said...

Cricket, love, singing, danceing, unfair taxes and the British. There is also an excellently evil moustache.