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The Rising - Mangal Pandey

Mangal Pandey - The Rising

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Album Review
Songs of valor and festivity
By Nitika Desai

It is rare that a music composer whose tunes have an unmistakable flavor of western music churns out a decent album with the music and melodies that carry rustic hues of India of the nineteenth century. A R Rahman does that in the music album of ‘Mangal Pandey – The Rising ’.

The movie, starring Aamir Khan , Rani Mukherjee , Amisha Patel and Toby Stephens in main roles, tells the story of the mutiny of 1857 against the British by the valiant sepoy named Mangal Pandey.

Poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar ’s simple and thought-provoking words capture the very essence of the movie’s theme and subject. His lyrics impassion, incite, and fill you with patriotic fervor. This goes aptly for the three versions of the title song Mangal Mangal.

The three versions – ‘Mangal’, ‘Agni’ and ‘Atma’ – have similar melody but different lyrics as each song is set to a different situation. The first version ‘Mangal’ is about the first spark of revolution – Mangal Pandey himself.

The second version ‘Agni’ is about the spark becoming a fire – the great rising against the British, the rising that eventually turned into a nationwide freedom movement.

The third version (a bit slower one) is about the martyrdom, with allusions to the ancient Indian belief that body is mortal but the soul (Atma) is eternal.

Singer Kailash Kher renders all three versions, capturing the rustic tone with remarkable credibility. Sukhwinder Singh chips in for the third version.

So much for the patriotic rousing, the album then has a mujra song ‘Main Vari Vari’. The song, sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy and Reena Bharadwaj, is a very rhythmic composition rooted in Indian classical music but also containing some beautiful orchestra.

‘Holi Re’ is one disappointment of this album. The song lacks the mischief and playfulness that ought to be apparent in any Holi song. Rather, the number is high on musical arrangement, loud on orchestration and plain in melody.

‘Rasiya Re’ doesn’t compensate much the disappointment of the previous number. It is partly so because a song like this one needs repeated hearings and doesn’t catch a listener’s fancy at once. The song is a teasing, titillating number, sung efficaciously by Richa Sharma and Bonnie Chakraborty.

Javed Akhtar’s command over his quill shows in ‘Takey Takey’, a sarcastic song with the theme that this life is like a bazaar that has a price for everything. The words in the song are scathing but true. A R Rahman does full justice to the words and Sukhwinder Singh sings them with such vigor that he really stirs something inside you. This is an excellent number.

Al Maddath Maula is a devotional sufi number sung by Rahman, Kailash Kher, Murtaza and Kadir. The song gradually rises in tempo and concludes at an ‘ecstatic’ high. Another notable composition of this album.

In short, the music of ‘Mangal Pandey – The Rising’ is very much unlike the scores of other Bollywood films. The songs have rustic flavor and a variety ranging from patriotism and mujra to festivity.
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