Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India
After a lot of hype and anticipation, Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, released in 2001. The movie, directed and written by Ashutosh Gowariker was his first commercial and critically acclaimed success.
Lagaan was the best and the highest grossing movie of 2001 winning 44 awards in various film award functions including awards for ‘Best Director’, ‘Best Actor’, ‘Best Movie’, ‘Best Music Director’, ‘Best Actress in a New Comers Role’ and ‘Best Choreographer.’ Lagaan was also nominated for the Oscars for ‘Best Foreign Language Film.’
The movie has a runtime for 224 minutes. The movie’s plot is about a small village in North India which is facing problems in farming due to the drought conditions. The villagers have to pay land taxes (lagaan) to Andrew Russell (Paul Blackthorne) who is a British Captain. The villagers thought they would be excused from the taxes this time because of no rains, but instead the Captain challenges them to a game of cricket which they must win if they want to be freed from taxes. If they lose then they must pay twice the normal tax.
The villagers are unaware of what cricket is and are petrified. Bhuvan (Amir Khan), a young villager accepts this challenge and assembles a team to play against the British after three months. Andrew’s sister Elizabeth (Rachel Shelley) helps Bhuvan and his team understand the rules of cricket and how it must be played. At the time of the match, they face quite a few challenges but eventually win the game, which frees them off taxes.
The movie also shows a love triangle between Bhuvan, Elizabeth and his girlfriend Gauri (Gracy Singh.) Lagaan sends a message to viewers to never lose hope even in testing times, to stand up for one self and to fight against injustice.