indian cinema heritage foundation

Mangal Pandey

15 May, 2023 | Archival Reproductions by Cinemaazi
Booklet cover of "Mangal Pandey" (1983) from Cinemaazi archive.

The two hit films of Shatrughan Sinha were "Kalicharan" and "Vishwanath" (the famous cricketers). This time they have tried to cash in on the famous historical hero, Mangal Pandey, a pioneer of the 1857 revolution. But all the expectations vanish a few minutes after the film starts.

The story begins with a duty-bound hawaldar who sacrifices his life for his inspector in a clash with a notorious dacoit (Ajit). The hawaldar's son (Shatrughan Sinha) witnesses this and takes an oath of revenge on the dacoit, the murderer of his father.

After a lapse of twenty years because of certain circumstances, Shatrughan, now of course a young man with miraculous powers and one who talks the language of fights, extracts his revenge.

Praveen Babi, Ajit, Iftekhar, Farida Jalal, Nita Mehta and Kader Khan are all assembled in the cast in a vain attempt to make the film move, and so are all predictable box-office ingredients.

Many scenes seem conveniently borrowed form films already made. A "new" thing the film teaches you is that a murderer or a convict in a case cannot be recognised or identified if he just removes his beard and hat.

Rahi Masoom Reza delivers the kind of dialogue you never expect from a writer of his calibre and with Jagdeep, comedy becomes far from funny. Except for one number, the music is disappointing.

And to see Shatrughan dancing.

This article was published in Filmfare magazine’s March 1-15, 1983 edition.

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