This is a film that we all waited with bated breath. This is also a film that Aamir gave his four years. Therefore this film was very special, not only for Aamir, the makkers of Rising but also for the audience and Aamir fans. But unfortunately, the film does not live up to the expectations and disappoints the audience.
The film is set against the backdrop of the Indian Mutiny of 1857. The movie opens on the British colonial rulers who are living a high standard of life at the expense of the local people. This causes widespread resentment. After a hundred years under the rule of Britishers, India is awakening to the revolutionary prospect of change and self-rule.
During a fierce battle in the Afghan wars of the mid-century, Mangal(Aamir Khan), a heroic sepoy rescues his British commanding officer William Gordon(Toby Stephens). The event creates a strong friendship and binding loyalty between them that transcends consideration of rank and race.
The friendship is soon challenged, first by arrival of a charming and beautiful young aristocrat, Emily Kent, and then by the introduction of controversial new gun cartridges among the troops. The relationship is complicated further when Gordon saves a beautiful young native girl, Jwala, from the funeral pyre of her late husband, and falls in love with her.
The new cartridges require soldiers to bite through their greased casing, made of animal fat, and suspicion spreads that the British are ignoring religious beliefs in favour of cheap weapons, and polluting their Muslim and Hindu soldiers. Gordon assures Mangal that the cartridges are free from pollution and demonstrating his total trust in Gordon, Mangal bites the cartridge. They soon discover that it really is animal fat and the rumour of this imposed pollution is the spark that ignites the powder keg of resentment in the country. Mutiny breaks out with Mangal growing in stature to lead the Indian people to freedom.
The Rising is a period film and like most patriotic film has failed to create an impact on the minds of the audience. Recreating history is difficult and making you glued to your seats for the next 3 hours could be taxing if the content doesn't live up to your expectations. And this is what has happened. Though the content was very good but there were major flaws in the execution of the film. Also the songs were not needed at all and spoil the mood. Too much dialogues in english is another major drawback. The female caracters in the film have no role to play at all and seems like they have been forced into the film. However few scenes do impress you and leave you absolutely spell-bounded. Mangal Pandey talks about the martyr, his heroism, his contribution to India's freedom movement so effectively that you can't help but salute the great freedom fighter.
Performance wise Aamir gives a splendid performance. He has gone into the skin of the character and makes you feel proud to be an Indian. Toby Stephens does a great job and gives a flawless performance. Both Rani and Amisha don't get any scope. Rest of the cast lend able support. Rahman's music is okay. Cinematography [Himman Dhamija] is exceptional, again matching global standards.
Overall, the film might not do so good with the general public but caters only to a certain class of public.