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Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)

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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 »
3,890 ( 103)
Top Rated Indian Movies #52 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 44 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bhura (as Raghuveer Yadav)
Ishwar (as Sri Vallabh Vyas)


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:





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Release Date:

8 May 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lagaan  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$285,368, 17 June 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$70,147, 16 June 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The lead role of Gauri was offered to Rani Mukerji but she couldnt do the film because dates were not available. See more »


When Gauri is singing alone at the end of "Radha Kaise Na Jale", she inhales while singing. See more »


Narrator: And so, not just Champaner, but all the villages in the province did not have to pay Lagaan for three years. Captain Russell had to pay for his capricious behavior. Besides having to pay triple Lagaan, he was transferred to the Central African Desert. Elizabeth returned to England, holding Bhuvan in her heart. She did not marry and remained Bhuvan's Radha all her life. Bhuvan and Gauri had a splendid wedding. Raja Puran Singh himself came to bless the newly-weds, enhancing Champener's status ...
See more »


Referenced in Bhoothnath Returns (2014) See more »


O Rey Chhori
Music by A.R. Rahman
Lyrics by Javed Akhtar
Performed by Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik and Vasundhara Das
See more »

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User Reviews

As a sports movie, "Lagaan" is dramatized with great élan and suspense…
22 May 2008 | by See all my reviews

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…

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