Synopsis by Mark Deming
One of the earliest salvos of Indian militancy before the nation won its freedom from the British Empire is recounted in grand scale in this historical drama. In the 1850s, Great Britain held both political and economic sway over India, and the East India Company was one of the most powerful English firms trading there -- so powerful that they had their own private army to help enforce the laws as they saw fit. Mangal Pandey (Aamir Khan) was a "sepoy" (local slang for an Indian soldier) in the East India Co. militia who became friendly with British officer William Gordon (Toby Stephens). Gordon had a great deal of respect for Padney, unlike many of his fellow British soldiers, who regarded their Indian colleagues with little more than contempt. While Padney's commitment to his duty was genuine, he became increasingly aware of the disrespect shown to Indians by the British, and when word began to spread that the powder cartouches being given to sepoy gunmen were greased with animal fat, making them taboo for Muslim and Hindu soldiers, long-simmering anger in the ranks began to boil over into open rebellion, and in time Padney was charged with mutiny for defending himself and other sepoys against their British superiors. Adapted from a true story, The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Padney features dialogue in both Hindi and English, unusual for most Bollywood films.
British, colonialism, contempt, India (subcontinent), militia, mutiny, troops, uprising