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Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Musical  |  8 May 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 61,958 users   Metascore: 84/100
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The people of a small village in Victorian India stake their future on a game of cricket against their ruthless British rulers...



(story), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 44 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


Once upon a time in India

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:





| | |

Release Date:

8 May 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lagaan  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Aamir Khan got his ears pierced so that he could actually wear earrings. See more »


SPOILER. Every time British soldiers go past on horseback, the Union flag carried by one of them is always upside down. As an internationally recognized distress signal, it's an unconscious revealing of the result of the cricket match. See more »


Ishwar: Bhuvan, shame cannot enter eyes that are already open.
See more »


Referenced in Namastey London (2007) See more »


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

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User Reviews

Boy, was I surprised!
1 March 2002 | by See all my reviews

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!

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