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By Satyajit - Eye TV India Bureau


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Students of history have reasons to smile as Bollywood unveils another undiscovered chapter of Indian history - 'Mangal Pandey'. The legendary hero who triggered the first bombshell of Independence in 1857 is glorified on celluloid under the technical expertise of director Ketan Mehta. Aamir Khan, the main protagonist of Oscar nominated 'Lagaan', essays the character of "Mangal Pandey" with the line-up of Indian and British actors. Toby Stephens, the villain of James Bond's last adventure 'Die Another Day', plays British Commanding Officer "William Gordon". 'Mangal Pandey - The Rising' is an epic saga that has been set in the backdrop of Indian independence struggle of 1857. Like 'Lagaan' the film unravels the atrocities of the British Raj on fellow Indians. The film is the story of love, friendship and betrayal that exudes the awakening of Indians for Independence after years of foreign rule and its suppression. Besides Aamir Khan and Toby Stephens, Rani Mukherjee, Amisha Patel and British actor Coral Beed play pivotal roles in the film. Musical genius A.R Rehman has instrumented the musical soundtracks for this action-oriented period film. Eminent poet and renowned lyricist Javed Akhtar has penned the lyrics for the album that metaphor with the period of the British rule. Unfortunately, this colossal combination has fetched disappointing results for films (Mani Ratnam's 'Dil Se' and Subhash Ghai's 'Kisna'). 'Mangal Pandey' is a great piece of craftsmanship that will be widely appreciated by cinema lovers. Lately, Rehman rendered some soulful melodies for 'Bose - The Forgotten Hero' and was applauded for another period film 'The Legend of Bhagat Singh'. This album provides another feather in his cap with the prized attraction being "Holi" song rendered by Aamir Khan. The album has eight original soundtracks on Yash Raj Music.

Side A has four soundtracks with "Mangal Mangal" and "Holi Re" being the spotlights. The much-awaited album opens with an enthusiastic voice of Kailash Kher in "Mangal Mangal". The soundtrack emanates from the rise of legendary freedom fighter "Mangal Pandey" with some vocals clubbed with orchestration of musical instruments (dholak, tabla and nagadas). The soundtrack works as background score as it has two other versions. Kailash Kher's fervent voice spells the passion that ignited fellow countrymen with the adventures of Mangal Pandey. Javed Akhtar's lyrics depict vivid lifestyles of the countrymen.

Traditional "mujra" is presented in the brisk and effervescent voices of Kavita Krishnamurthy and Reema Bharadwaj in "Main Vari Vari". The track is conventional "mujra" that has been choreographed on Rani Mukherjee. Recently, a similar track "Chillman Utha" was heard in Subhash Ghai's 'Kisna' and this song falls in this cadre. A.R Rehman impresses but this is certainly not the finest of his traditional soundtracks.

Aamir Khan turns vocally boisterous along with conventional singers with the glowing colors of "Holi" in the lively rendered soundtrack "Holi Re". A.R Rehman scores perfect ten as he delivers his finest soundtrack. Udit Narayan, Madhushree, Srinivas, Chinmaye and Aamir Khan sing this fun-frolicking song that describes this colorful festival. Udit Narayan sings brilliantly and deserves all the accolades for delivering free flowing passion with enthusiasm. Madhushree shines bright with Srinivas and Chinmaye supporting well in chorus. Aamir Khan renders the fast pace lyrics with rural touch, and the track encores to the "Holi" song of V Shantaram's 'Navrang'. Aamir Khan impresses with his vocals after "Kya Bolti Tu" ('Ghulam') and this might prove to be a crowd puller. It scores over "Let's play Holi" from 'Waqt' and promises to be chartbuster.

Traditional folk singer Richa Sharma along with new talent Bonnie Chakraborty sings emotionally crafted soundtrack "Rasiya". The slow pace gives the feel of loneliness, anticipating the tinge of seduction. The track passes through series of emotions that are being experienced by the beloved for her lover. It's above average soundtrack that sounds situational and fails to impress.

Side B has four original soundtracks with two versions of "Mangal Mangal". Kailash Kher renders second version of the track "Mangal Mangal" in "Mangal Mangal (Agni)". This is a fiery presentation that shows violent facades of events with some fast pace music. Heavy drumming with fine mixing of vocals and instruments creates an ambience of passion. It's brief yet an enthralling soundtrack.

A fun-loving rural ambience is created with practical realities of life in fast pace soundtrack "Takey Takey". Sukhwinder Singh along with Kailash Kher and Kartick Das Baul, sings this fun-loving soundtrack. The song creates a feeling that everything comes with "takey" (money). Some children's chorus has been added to make it merrier with rustic feel and touch. It will get listeners' attention after the film releases, and will be popular among children.

Sufi music comes out with pious touch that is dedicated to the Almighty "Allah" in "Al Maddath Maula". A.R Rehman and Kailash Kher along with Murtaza and Kadir, sing this religiously enriched soundtrack. The song seeks help from the Almighty during miseries and tribulations of life. Rehman's vocal impresses the most as he has done it before in the soundtracks of 'Bombay'. Devotional soundtrack fails to attract the pop genre's attention, but sounds great and situational.

The album ends on a philosophical note with the third version of "Mangal Mangal" as "Mangal Mangal (Atma)". It awakens the soul and not the body as the soloist vociferously renders the theme of the film with heart-warming lyrics. Sukhwinder Singh joins Kailash Kher this time as they render this patriotic soundtrack by epitomizing the martyrdom of Mangal Pandey. Javed Akhtar's lyrics are class apart as they immortalize the martyr. It works wonders on the film as a background score and Kailash Kher scores once again after "Allah Ke Bande".

'Mangal Pandey - The Rising' comes out with the soundtracks that are mainly situational and cater to the class audiences. It's an offbeat album that will pick up after the release of the film. The pop genre banks on fun- frolicking soundtracks and albums, and it will be hard for them to digest these unconventional soundtracks.


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