Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)
8.1
  • 103219
  • PG
  • Genre: Adventure
  • Release year: 2001 ()
  • Running time: 224 min
  • Original Title: Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India
  • Voted: 103219

This is the story about the resilience shown by the Indians when they were under the British Rule. They are already taxed to the bone by the British and their cronies, but when Jack Russell announces that he will double the Lagaan (tax) from all villagers, they decide to oppose it. Leading the villagers is a handsome young man named Bhuvan, who challenges them to a game of cricket, a game that is to be played by veteran British cricket players, versus villagers, including Bhuvan himself, who have never played this game before, and do not even know a bat from a piece of wood. As the challenge is accepted, the interest grows and attracts Indians from all over the region, as well as the British from all over the country - as everyone gathers to see the 'fair play' that the British will display against their counter-parts, who are aided by none other than the sister, Elizabeth, of Captain Rusell.

#PersonCharacters
1Aamir KhanBhuvan
2Raghuvir YadavBhura
3Gracy SinghGauri
4Rachel ShelleyElizabeth Russell
  • Boy, was I surprised! by 10

    Okay, I am not from India, not even close. I am from Scandinavia. Before Lagaan I had never watched any Hindi movies of any kind. I know about 3 words from the hindi language. And I don't like musicals much. I viewed the movie on a DVD of rather poor quality compared to the state of the art DVDs I am used to. And I was told the movie lasted close to 4(!) hours... I figured this would be a complete waste of time... BOY was I wrong! This movie is completely the opposite! It is just amazing! Mr. Gowariker has selected an incredible cast with Aamir Khan in the lead. He makes an stunning performance as the village rebel, Bhuvan. He tries to unite the village in a struggle for life against the greedy Britons. The Britons exploit the villages by collecting lagaan (tax). This means that most of the harvest surplus is gone and there is just enough left for food for the farmers themselves. It's a classic war between "David", the native villagers of India, and "Goliath", the powerful and greedy Britons. But what makes it really interesting is that this war is fought in a Cricket arena. This is a challenge from the Britons, who are well known with Cricket, against the village, where most people have never laid eyes upon a cricket bat. If the villagers win, there will be no lagaan at all, for three years! And if the Britons win, they will collect triple lagaan, which will mean the end of the village. The stakes could not be higher!!

    I can't remember a movie being this thrilling and having so much life in it. And the music has a huge impact thanks to the great voices of Udit Narayan, Lata Mangeshkar etc. And the dancing is a chapter in itself! Few or none will leave this movie not remembering the song "Mitwa, sun Mitwa". It is a must see for everyone, inside and outside of India. And this movies has been totally righteously nominated for an Oscar too, and I wouldn't be surprised if it goes all the way to the top. It has my vote! It gets 10 out of 10 from me. Excellent!

  • As a sports movie, "Lagaan" is dramatized with great élan and suspense by 8

    The setting is historical? The year is 1893? The British Raj imposes heavy taxes on the poor villagers despite all the problems droughts have caused on their income?

    An arrogant army captain?unknown to him that his sister has fallen in love with a sensitive idealistic?confident in his countrymen's ability, offers the people relief if they can beat the fearsome British team at a game of cricket?

    Despite its closeness to the conventions, "Lagaan" proved to be a break-out film? Besides the graceful and enchanting attractions of the song-and-dance sequences, it has a plot carefully fashioned to a special kind of audience?audience who likes sports movies?

    They are minor characters compared to the captain's pretty sister (Rachel Shelley), who not only upholds the British tradition of fair play but also loses her heart to the handsome Indian hero

  • Only Indian film in Channel 4's 50 Films to See Before you Die. No 55 in Empire magazines 100 Best Films of World Cinema. Time magazine's The All-TIME 25 Best Sports Movies by 10

    I still remember the long queue for the advanve booking of this film. Saw this 3 times in theatre. Then so many times on channel that I lost the count of it. What a lavish n enormous entertainment man. It is more than 3 hours long but doesn't bore u for even a minute. Awesome direction. Awesome screenplay. Awesome editing. Awesome cinematography. Awesome acting by all. Aamir khan was too good man. What an amazing performance of his as teams captain Bhuvan. This movie is more than just a sports movie. This is a great sports movie and even if you don't like sports, it is still a great movie. I highly recommend this movie to everyone. It is a movie that you should definitely see if you're down because it is a movie about hope. It is also about victory. Lovely songs n awesome music.

    In 2010, the film was ranked No. 55 in Empire magazines "The 100 Best Films of World Cinema". In 2011, it was listed in Time magazine's special "The All-TIME 25 Best Sports Movies". Lagaan was listed as number 14 on Channel 4's "50 Films to See Before you Die" and was the only Indian film to be listed.

  • A Magnificent and Overwhelming Fairytale – An Oscar Deserving by 10

    In 1893, India was a colony of England. The starving native farmers had to pay an imposed tax to the British soldiers for the protection of their lands, delivering most of their harvest to the British Queen. In those years, the lands were very dry due to the lack of rain, and the inhabitants of Champaner decide to request to their Rajah Puran Singh (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) to waive the taxes. While waiting for the Rajah, Bhuvan (Aamir Khan), the beloved friend of Gauri (Gracy Singh), comments that the silly game of cricket was a stupid game, comparable to the Indian child game 'gilli-danda'. The nasty and arrogant Captain Andrew Russell (Paul Blackthorne), who had had a previous discussion with Bhuvan, listens to his comment and challenges Bhuvan to play a match against the British team, imposing the following condition: if the natives win the game, they would not need to pay Lagaan for the next three years. Otherwise, they would triplicate their payment in that year. Bhuvan accepts the bet despite of the opinion of his people. The sister of Captain Russell, Elizabeth Russell (Rachel Shelley), finds the competition unfair to the Indians and decides to help Bhuvan and his friends, teaching them how to play cricket.

    This movie is a magnificent and overwhelming fairytale. It really deserved an Oscar nomination! The nice and well-directed story has wonderful songs and interpretations, romance, treason, dispute, drama, beautiful messages, outstanding choreography, being a stunning film indicated as family entertainment. The expensive Brazilian DVD is a shame, showing a total lack of respect of the 'Columbia Tristar Home Video' with the Brazilian costumers: the important songs do not have subtitles in Portuguese. I changed the option in the 'Menu' to 'English', and there were subtitles in English. At least in the opinion of the ridiculous Columbia representatives, Brazilians shall learn English first to understand the wonderful lyrics sang in Hindi. I feel really sorry for those who cannot understand English, since they will miss the meaning of these songs. It is amazing how 225 minutes running time passes so fast when you see such a marvelous movie. My vote is ten.

    Title (Brazil): 'Lagaan – A Coragem de Um Povo' ('Lagaan – The Courage of a People')

  • Just One Word: Wow! by 7

    LAGAAN (4+ outta 5 stars) Years of subjugation and unfair taxation by the British Empire come to a head and the inhabitants of a small Indian farming community face off against their evil oppressors... in a cricket match??? This may seem like a ridiculous idea for a movie (and I won't even mention the fact that it's a musical) but this was the most exciting and wonderful movie I've seen in quite some time. Yes, it all comes down to a cricket match between the upper class British twits and the neophyte Indian farmers... and the movie is almost FOUR HOURS long... but, wow... what a movie this is! The slow building of trust and community among the usually-bickering villagers as they prepare for their ultimate battle is both fascinating and inspiring. It's like watching The Magnificent Seven or The Wild Bunch gathering together for a big showdown... only instead of shooting and killing... there's cricket! A cocky British Captain (Paul Blackthorne) makes a deal with the proud, young Bhuvan (Aamir Khan): he will give the entire region three years of no taxes if they can defeat the British cricket team... but if they lose they have to pay triple tax this year. Since there has been no rain all season and they can't even pay their regular taxes... this becomes a tense, do-or-die situation. Aamir Khan is terrific in the lead (he resembles a cross between Tony Curtis, Peter Sellers and Al Pacino). He is always believable, whether trying to inspire his fellow villagers or facing his English enemies in stony silence or wooing his the lovely Gauri (Gracy Singh) with song and dance. Great story! Great music! Don't miss this one!

#PersonCrew
1Anil Mehtacinematographer
2A.R. Rahmancomposer
3Ashutosh Gowarikerdirector
4Kumar Davewriter
5Sanjay Daymawriter
6K.P. Saxenawriter