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Aamir Khan Explains the Exact Difference Between Mangal Pandey and Lagaan's Bhuvan

Aamir Khan's 2005 film helped advance the legend of Mangal Pandey, the Indian soldier who was executed on April 8, 1857 for rebelling against the British.


Updated:April 8, 2019, 12:46 PM IST
Aamir Khan Explains the Exact Difference Between Mangal Pandey and Lagaan's Bhuvan
Mangal Pandey: The Rising: The Aamir Khan starrer film revolved around the life and struggle of Mangal Pandey. Pandey was popular for attacking the British officers in an incident that was the first act of what came to be known as the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 or the First war of Indian Independence.

Lagaan is probably the biggest milestone in Aamir Khan's career. The film not only stirred emotions across the nation, but also made ripples internationally. Aamir played village boy Bhuvan who becomes the torchbearer of hope against the brutal British rule in this fictional film set in pre-Independence era.

Both Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai released in 2001, and there was a four-year gap before Aamir had another release. Coincidentally, the next film he was part of was also from the pre-Independence era, but based on real incidents this time. Aamir starred in Mangal Pandey: The Rising, in the titular role of the solider who’s mutiny led to the First War of Independence for India.

April 8, 1857 is the day Pandey was executed for rebelling against the British. After the trial, Pandey's execution was scheduled for April 18, but was carried out ten days before that date.

In an interview with The Hindu in 2005, Aamir was asked to compare his Lagaan role with that of Mangal Pandey, given that at the core of both characters was the fight for freedom. This is what he had to say, “Bhuvan is cool and level-headed, while Mangal is a hot headed reactionary. Though Mangal's character is historic, there is no record of his personal life. So the scriptwriters Farooq Dhondy and director Ketan Mehta took some liberties.”

Despite being a period film, Aamir says that the story of Pandey is extremely contemporary because it is based on the concept of freedom and one man’s right to live with his head held high.

“It is the tale of friends, lovers and enemies, exploiters and exploited, and the growth and awareness of a man and a nation. The basis of the story is about how one man can change history... This sweeping epic is based on real historical events, seen as a trigger for Indian independence. It is extremely contemporary in topic. Basically it is the concept of freedom... and the right of a man to hold his head as high as the other,” Aamir said.

Interestingly, this interview was taken at a time when Aamir was working on another film that was based on the concept of freedom – Rang De Basanti.

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