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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.

Director:

Ashutosh Gowariker

Writers:

Ashutosh Gowariker (story), Ashutosh Gowariker (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
4,303 ( 150)
Top Rated Indian Movies #59 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 47 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Aamir Khan ... Bhuvan
Gracy Singh ... Gauri
Rachel Shelley ... Elizabeth Russell
Paul Blackthorne ... Captain Andrew Russell
Suhasini Mulay ... Yashodamai
Kulbhushan Kharbanda ... 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
Raj Zutshi ... Ismail
Akhilendra Mishra ... Arjan
Daya Shankar Pandey ... Goli
Yashpal Sharma ... Lakha
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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

Taglines:

Once upon a time in India


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

India

Language:

Hindi | English | Awadhi | Urdu

Release Date:

8 May 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Taxation: Once Upon a Time in India See more »

Filming Locations:

Bhuj, Gujarat, India

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Box Office

Budget:

$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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While shooting for the film, Gowarikar suffered a slip disc and had to rest for 30 days. During this period, he had his bed next to the monitor and continued with his work. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Maj. Warren: Gentleman, he's on a hat trick!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 74th Annual Academy Awards (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Lagaan - Once Upon a Time in India
Music by A.R. Rahman
Lyrics by Javed Akhtar
Performed by Anuradha Sriram and chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

Perfect First Time Bollywood Treat
3 September 2004 | by gpadilloSee all my reviews

This was my first full-fledged trip into Bollywood and I couldn't have asked for a better entry. While there were some inconsistencies in sound, overall I loved the picture. Some of the songs and dances were breathtaking and emotionally charged. In particular the number where Bhuvan and the young boy are sitting on a hill and they're shrugging their shoulders, soon getting the village into the act. The other number where Bhuvan and Gauri re-enact the love of Krishna and Radha in exquisite dancing. Also there were many moments of stunning, breathtaking images, including the women of the village seated in the temple praying for salvation. Absolutely stunning.

While I feel some judicious pruning could have trimmed the nearly 4 hour long version I watched (the DVD of which included an additional 17 minutes cut from this version) the picture did not seem nearly as long as it really was.

Aamir Khan is such an instantly likable presence and Gracy Singh is simply irresistible as Gauri.

Paul Blackthorne was a hilarious, old-school villain right out of a penny dreadful melodrama – and I mean this as a compliment.

Rachel Shelley's Elizabeth was a perfect blend of Victorian reserved beauty and free spirit and noble in her heartbreak.

So many other performances ran the gamut from old school "b" stereotypical characters to some original ideas.

The blending of melodrama (in its purest sense) true comedic moments (the hen keeper), self and enlightenment culminated in the scene where Bhuvan shocks the village by touching an untouchable; his stirring, heartfelt speech about brotherhood and putting away castes shaming the village into enlightenment.

Some of the criticism leveled at Lagaan is (I believe) unduly harsh. This is a charming movie and a perfect introduction into the joys of Bollywood.


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