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Aamir Khan Mangal Pandey The RisingAamir Khan in Mangal Pandey: The Rising: Anti-British propaganda? Mangal Pandey is Khan’s first feature since 2001’s Dil Chahta Hai and Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, the latter a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee.
  • Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan asserts that his latest movie, the political/biographical drama Mangal Pandey: The Rising, is not a cinematic slice of “anti-British” propaganda.

Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan affirms that the historical drama Mangal Pandey: The Rising, in which he plays the titular Indian soldier, is not ‘anti-British’

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

When asked by a Times of India interviewer whether his upcoming film, the historical political/biographical drama Mangal Pandey: The Rising, has an anti-British bias, Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan replied:

“No it’s not. I think that’s taking a very narrow view. [Mangal Pandey: The Rising] is anti-colonization. In The Rising, it’s just that the oppressor happens to be British. It could have been anyone. Look at America’s role when they invaded countries like Vietnam or Iraq. Like all societies, the British had good and bad aspects to their history.”

Directed by veteran Ketan Mehta (Bhavni Bhavai, Holi), Mangal Pandey: The Rising revolves around the titular Indian soldier, whose deeds are supposed to have sparked The First War of Indian Independence in the mid-19th century.

Besides Aamir Khan, the extensive cast includes Rani Mukerji, Toby Stephens, Coral Beed, Ameesha Patel, Kirron Kher, Om Puri, and Ben Nealon. Credit in various writing capacities are Farrukh Dhondy, Ranjit Kapoor, and H. Banerjee.

Lagaan & A Passage to India vs. Union Jack-waving titles of decades past

Aamir Khan also stars in Ashutosh Gowariker’s 2001 period political/romantic musical Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, which, like Mangal Pandey: The Rising, depicts (at least some of) the British colonialists in a negative light. Yet that didn’t prevent Lagaan from receiving a Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award nomination.

While we’re at it, let’s not forget David Lean’s (mostly) British-made 1984 Best Picture Oscar nominee A Passage to India, another notable anti-British-colonialism tale. In the cast: Best Actress nominee Judy Davis as an unbalanced Englishwoman who accuses an Indian man of raping her, Victor Banerjee as the accused, Best Supporting Actress winner Peggy Ashcroft, Nigel Havers, James Fox, and veteran Oscar winner Alec Guinness (for David Lean’s The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957).

The other side of the coin, pro-British colonialism, used to be a frequent topic in both the American and the British film industries, especially up to the end of World War II. Examples include Michael Curtiz’s 1936 hit The Charge of the Light Brigade, starring Errol Flynn as a heroic British soldier helping to protect the Empire no matter the cost; George Stevens’ 1939 adventure classic Gunga Din, with Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Victor McLaglen as a trio of British soldiers fighting evil natives; and Zoltan Korda’s 1939 flag-waiver The Four Feathers, with John Clements as the accused English “coward” who ultimately reveals his true valor.

“Aamir Khan Says Latest Movie Not ‘Anti-British’” notes

See also: A couple of brief Michael Moore and John Sayles quotes against the Iraq War, while Oliver Stone excoriates Hollywood warmongering. Plus Susan Sarandon on the importance of liberal activism and on being screenwriters’ favorite “sexy older woman.”

Aamir Khan Mangal Pandey: The Rising movie image: Kaleidoscope Entertainment.

“Aamir Khan Says Latest Movie Not ‘Anti-British’” last updated in May 2023.

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