Mangal Pandey (2005): There’s always a weather pattern to fit your mood

On the way out from church this morning, an impending storm was whipping so many leaves around in a fairytale whirlwind. Was transported to that magical, light-heavy moment when you can smell rain and feel the moisture-laden wind whisk all about. When light and darkness blend together in a visual poem. Then of course I had to hum the theme from Mohabbatein to do justice to the glorious scene.

28. Mangal Pandey (2005) — I think this movie was necessarily played out by the numbers because it is in essence a historical document (or rather, a historical statement). I don’t think the movie is meant to rouse as Lagaan did, but to remind instead. Remind us of history’s lessons, to save us from stubborn repetition (but repetition or replication is unfortunately built into our genes, from which we derive our meanings). The individual scale of things is presented subtly (craftily done, Mr Aamir Khan) though all are swept away by whatever history is in the end, and the sins of fathers and mothers are continued by sons and daughters. Whether I’m speaking charitably or not, the incoherence in the movie becomes part of its meaning too. Altogether worth a watch, but don’t expect to be caught in a thrall later.

29. Ek Hasina Thi (2004) — “There once was a beautiful girl …” Hell hath no fury a gullible and remarkably confused woman betrayed by a violent and remarkably skilled sleazebag. I don’t like excessive violence, so this one didn’t particularly endear itself to me. What I admired was the well-paced storytelling, though it seems like the scriptwriter’s mind drew a blank when it came to the final act of vengeance. And it’s a little glib to make the protagonist’s Achilles’ heel her (allegedly) limpid beauty.


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