MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 559 this week

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)

 -  Adventure | Drama | Musical  -  8 May 2002 (USA)
8.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.3/10 from 39,493 users   Metascore: 84/100
Reviews: 230 user | 70 critic | 21 from Metacritic.com

The people of a small village in Victorian India stake their future on a game of cricket against their ruthless British rulers...

Director:

Writers:

(story), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 21 titles
created 13 Mar 2011
 
a list of 44 titles
created 16 Aug 2011
 
a list of 21 titles
created 04 Nov 2011
 
a list of 31 titles
created 15 Oct 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 28 Mar 2013
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) on IMDb 8.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India.

User Polls

Top 250 #220 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 44 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A young woman from England comes to India to make a documentary about her grandfather's diary which was written in the 1920s about the Indian Independence with five young men.

Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Stars: Aamir Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Siddharth
Swades (2004)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A successful Indian scientist returns to an Indian village to take his nanny to America with him and in the process rediscovers his roots.

Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Gayatri Joshi, Kishori Balal
3 Idiots (2009)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

Two friends are searching for their long lost companion. They revisit their college days and recall the memories of their friend who inspired them to think differently, even as the rest of the world called them "idiots".

Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Stars: Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Mona Singh
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Three individual's relationships and the effect that these relationships have on them.

Director: Farhan Akhtar
Stars: Aamir Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna
Fanaa (2006)
Drama | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Set in Delhi and the Kashmir Valley, a blind woman falls in love with a rakish tour guide who hides a terrible secret...

Director: Kunal Kohli
Stars: Aamir Khan, Kajol, Rishi Kapoor
Ghajini (2008)
Action | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A short-term memory loss patient sets on his journey to avenge the death of his beloved girl.

Director: A.R. Murugadoss
Stars: Aamir Khan, Asin, Jiah Khan
Talaash (2012)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A cop, investigating the mysterious death of a filmstar, meets a sex-worker, while he faces some personal problems psychologically. The mystery connects these people in a way, that ultimately changes their lives.

Director: Reema Kagti
Stars: Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Rani Mukerji
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A gangster sets out to fulfill his father's dream of becoming a doctor.

Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Stars: Sunil Dutt, Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Munnabhai meets Mahatma Gandhi.

Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Stars: Sanjay Dutt, Arshad Warsi, Vidya Balan
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Two conmen competing for the hand of a heiress get drawn into love - and into trying to save her from an evil criminal.

Director: Rajkumar Santoshi
Stars: Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, Raveena Tandon
Barfi! (2012)
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Three young people learn that love can neither be defined nor contained by society's norms of normal and abnormal.

Director: Anurag Basu
Stars: Ranbir Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Roopali Ganguly
Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Life of a very serious girl Naina, changes on the arrival of her new neighbour, Aman, who teaches her a new way to live.

Directors: Nikhil Advani, Ron Reid Jr.
Stars: Preity Zinta, Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Gracy Singh ...
...
Elizabeth Russell
...
Suhasini Mulay ...
Yashodamai
...
Rajah Puran Singh
Raghuvir Yadav ...
Bhura (as Raghuveer Yadav)
Rajendra Gupta ...
Mukhiya
Rajesh Vivek ...
Guran
Shri Vallabh Vyas ...
Ishwar (as Sri Vallabh Vyas)
Javed Khan ...
Ram Singh
...
Ismail (as Raj Zutshi)
Akhilendra Mishra ...
Arjan
Daya Shankar Pandey ...
Goli
Yashpal Sharma ...
Lakha
Edit

Storyline

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. Written by Sumitra (corrected by Sonia)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

british | villager | village | land tax | rain | See more »

Taglines:

Once upon a time in India


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

8 May 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lagaan  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

During the final cricket match, one of the British players, Smith, gets run out. As the actor ran back to the crease he fell, landing on his cricket bat and dislocating his left shoulder. See more »

Goofs

The game of cricket is a test match. Bhuvan's team can't lose the match if the stipulated time is over. The match should end in a draw. See more »

Quotes

[Gauri is walking away in tears, Bhuvan shouts after her]
Bhuvan: Hey Gauri! There's only one house in the village with a neem tree in the yard. There's also a big field beside it. There's some chickens, two cows, and three goats. And I know whose house that is! It's mine, you silly girl! One thing before you go. Mother likes you, too!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz for a Romance
Music by A.R. Rahman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A cinematic masterpiece that will take your breath away...
16 June 2001 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Sony Entertainment's Lagaan is more an experience than a movie.

Indian actor Aamir Khan's home production is a cinematic experience which highlights Indian cinema to the hilt, while weaving a tale set in Champaner during the time of the British Empire's presence which deals with Lagaan (the tax of the land) and a village's upheaval against its oppressors.

The film revolves mainly around three characters namely Bhuvan (Aamir Khan), Gauri (debutante Gracey Singh) and Elizabeth (British actress Rachel Shelley), and deals with Bhuvan's spirited fight to defend what is his birthright, as he embroils the entire village into a magnitude of problems which inadvertently ends up being their only escape from the tyranny under which they reside. Gauri is the simple village girl who loyally stands behind the man she loves yet cannot profess her love to, while Elizabeth is the beautiful sister of the British Lieutenant and the complication who aids the village in their fight against injustice.

The first half sets the scene beautifully, explaining what Lagaan is, introducing the characters and gradually pulling the audience into this period and place, literally taking the viewer into Champaner through cinematography which highlights the locales and sets which establish the standard of living. It makes you feel for the characters, believe in the villagers and draws you into the celluloid created world, while the second presents to you their turmoil, dawns on you what is at stake and whisks you away in a tornado of emotions and rising spirits.

The opening scenes are more congruent to joining a conversation midway, as from the moment you are thrust into 1893's India, you gain footing and a sense of atmosphere, feeling at ease as the camera pans across its setting for the movie, drifting into the journey that will hold your attention for the duration of the film. Apart from familiarising the viewer with its characters, the first half also takes you back with its breathtakingly beautiful cinematography and fitting background score. The characters are established, the situation presented and relationships etched, with each scene rhythmically flowing from one to the other in a continuos motion.

The second half is less involved in justifying its characters and aims more towards culminating the scene which has been set in the first. By this time you are already a part of this world and your emotions have already been stirred, now they are put to the test as the events which will determine the entire crux of the film begin and get the viewer involved.

The romantic triangle between Bhuvan, Gauri and Elizabeth is expertly handled. The beauty of its predicament is that no one feels a loss by the end of the film, and director Ashutosh Gowariker beautifully justifies eternal love (but not necessarily requitted love) through drawing a comparison with the spiritual romance of the Hindu god Krishna and Radha. A delightfully delicately handled scene and situation gives birth to the foundation which will resolve the triangle in a manner leaving warmth in the viewer's heart.

Aamir Khan is a revelation. His acting is superb and be it the conviction and fire in his eyes, the way he draws breaths from the air of the abode he calls home or even gulps at the atrocities he witnesses, he has become Bhuvan completely. His portrayal is such that it puts you inside Bhuvan's psyche and enables the viewer to understand the character from his demeanour alone. His piercing eyes stare sharply like razor blades, cutting through the camera and leave a haunting impression on an unsuspecting audience, drawing them more and more deeper into his world.

Gracey Singh performs ably and is also an extremely graceful dancer, as particularly evident in the Radha Kaise Na Jale song. She acts with her eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth, all of her and gives to the role of Gauri completely, giving a debut performance of high calibre.

Rachel Shelley makes her presence felt like an ethereal spirit. Apart from looking stunning she adds to whichever frame she is in with panache and style. Her crossover to Indian cinema, or indeed to this film, is delicately handled and a feat to be applauded. To light a face like Shelley's in the same frame as the villagers without making one or the other look considerably darker or awkwardly paler, is a difficult task in itself. But the cinematography, the lighting and make up is such that the characters come alive as physical presences which complement each other, as do Aamir Khan and Rachel Shelley. Her interactions with Bhuvan and the villagers are intricately handled and executed wonderfully, and her inclusion in the O Rey Chori song is poetry on screen. To make a Western character dance in Indian cinema without causing a giggle from the audience or without it appearing unnatural is also something which needs to be handled with careful thought and the result is such that this song picturisation alone will invoke discussion on how beautifully it has been shot.

Andrew Russell's boisterous character is brought to life by Paul Blackthorne, as he slides perfectly under the skin of a character that should reflect British pride and be menacing and hostile. He performs well and bounces off the supporting cast with utmost ease. The entire ensemble of supporting cast are deserved of mention, and particularly Raghuveer Yadav, who dynamically brings the character of Bhura across effectively and convincingly with edge.

A R Rahman is the composer who has scored for many Indian and South Indian films, and this time too he does not betray his reputation of being a modern day Mozart. He literally teases then grabs you with his music, first resonating your veins, then breaths and finally allowing it to explode and burst through your body like an energy force, flowing in sync with your heartbeat. It's lilting melody, fresh sound and courageous allegros mesmerise and reflect the movie's emotions and spirit of hope. The songs are very well picturised and choreography is excellent, particularly Ghanan Ghanan, O Mitwa and O Rey Chori. The bhajan O Paalanhaare is bewitchingly lit and shot, injecting a spiritual vibe as candles' flickering flames hypnotise every viewer whose eyes dance to its command.

The film belongs to Aamir and Ashutosh Gowariker all the way. Direction is superb and results in what is a true mark on Indian cinema, held together by Aamir's awe-inspiring performance.

Lagaan is about hope, courage, fighting against injustice, the human spirit and about Indians. You enter the cinema to be entertained, and leave with a piece of cinematic history being firmly etched in your heart.

Fuad Omar.


80 of 106 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
IMDB Top 250 in sight ??? kothawade-amol
Top 5 Bollywood movies count_sriram
why oh why did they make her sing?! lejrulez
did it even deserve to go to the oscars saatvik
Is Lagaan a musical? avir27
Somebody help me with some cricket questions.. BTaylor04
Discuss Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?