March 17, 2006

Mangal Pandey

All that Mangal Pandey earned was bad reviews. There were theatres running a dozen shows a day, all of which have remained completely occupied by movie buffs, who came there to see what Aamir Khan had to offer after such a long break. Some had even compared it to Braveheart, and got disappointed, when they saw the adultrated version of the story.
But I still believe that movie was an uprising. Amongst all the movies which lack a story, this one was undoubtedly the best. I wouldn’t be surprised if it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Movie with a decent story line.
Amongst the things that I liked about the movie, the first definitely was the sparkling array of tities that they showed in the movie. It was an uprising experience in more than one ways, it was interesting as well as inspiring at the same time.
Secondly, this was the first time that we showed our heroes as they really are. The man who laid the first straw for the independence struggle which lasted for another 90 years after he was gone, wasn’t the kind of man your mom would like to see you with. He was impulsive, spend a lot of time having bhaang, fell in love with a prostitute ( sex-worker if you like ), had an affinity for trouble, had a major problem with authority, but like all heroes was clean at heart, had a strong will, though not the best leader possible, but definitely the right kind of a guy to have on your side when you fight, who thought with his heart, and fought with his mind.
Thirdly, the love stories were kept to a bare minimum. There was just as much of a hint of it, as it really exists in life. Nothing more, nothing less, just the exact amount.
Finally, even with the apparent lack of story, the scenes were beautifully shot, and connected. It wasn’t exactly a drag, but due to the missing base line, you felt throughout the movie that nothing really happened. But that maybe because actually he didn’t do much personally, rather his contribution was towards showing people like himself, that there was a way out. A leader who shows how to do it and is ready to burn for it. I doubt if we would have won our independence without people like him.
Even though we say that India won it’s freedom through non-violence and ‘ahimsa’, I believe, that the so called voilent people, had a major influence as well. Maybe for the brits, Mahatma Gandhi was the easier way out. It was easier to give in to his demands, because he was there to talk, to reason, like the Godfather, than to giving in to the terrorists, who used policies much like thier own. ( I call them terrorists, because they did what the word means, terrorize the opposition. Though somehow the word now brings to mind an Afghani standing with an AK-47. )
Amongst the things that I didn’t like, was the inablitity to throw out songs from the movie. Music is an intergral part of any story, be it a movie or a stage show, or a street play, but I think it’s time that we outgrow ourselves to get over the fact that songs are not important in a movie. Throw them out of the script, make the sound tracks, for people love them, but not like it’s now, maybe something in the background, not the colorful dancing around, for to be true, have you ever, ever, seen somebody do that actually. I wouldn’t like to remember Mangal Panday as some handsome guy, dancing around with a hot chick after getting a trashing in the previous scene, but as the martyr, as the romantic, as the man that he really was.

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