Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India

( 31 )

Overview

One of the most expensive films ever to come out of Bollywood, Lagaan tells the tale of the Indian village Champaner, beset by drought and British colonialism in the year 1893. Without a drop of rain in months, the worried villagers of Champaner decide to ask the local authorities for a temporary repeal of their taxes -- the hated lagaan. Led by the heroic Bhuvan Indian superstar Aamir Khan they bring their plight to the military governor, Captain Russell Paul Blackthorne. But the sadistic Russell threatens to ...
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Overview

One of the most expensive films ever to come out of Bollywood, Lagaan tells the tale of the Indian village Champaner, beset by drought and British colonialism in the year 1893. Without a drop of rain in months, the worried villagers of Champaner decide to ask the local authorities for a temporary repeal of their taxes -- the hated lagaan. Led by the heroic Bhuvan Indian superstar Aamir Khan they bring their plight to the military governor, Captain Russell Paul Blackthorne. But the sadistic Russell threatens to raise the lagaan threefold, unless the villagers can beat his men at a game of cricket, in which case he'll lift taxes on the entire province for a period of three years. Bhuvan accepts the challenge, but there's a problem -- no one in Champaner knows how to play cricket. A band of misfits come to the rescue, coached by Russell's soft-hearted sister Elizabeth Rachel Shelley, and the race is on to be ready in three months' time. An epic reworking of Victory with eye-popping song-and-dance routines, Lagaan was a major cinematic event in India upon its release. ~ Connor McMadden
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Seth Kaufman
The wait for a crossover Bollywood hit -- one that gives Western audiences a largely English-language story as compelling as the genre's fabulously kitschy musical numbers -- is over. Clocking in at just under four hours, Lagaan is a rousing and accessible underdog tale set in 1893 that brims with the Bollywood staples, including passionate romance and spectacular Busby Berkley-styled production numbers. A ruthless wager sets the story in motion when Captain Russell Paul Blackthorne, the racist head of the local English garrison, challenges an impoverished village to a game of cricket. If the villagers win, they will pay no tax for three years; if they lose, the levy lagaan will be tripled. Led by Bollywood heartthrob Aamir Khan, the villagers assemble a ragtag team that doesn't know an over from a googly. But with Kahn's drive and dignity, and some instruction by Captain Russell's Kahn-crazed sister, these humble, bad-news bowlers put up a fight that would have Rocky cheering. This simple, engaging tale is spiced with a love story between Kahn and the coquettish Gracy Singh, a subplot involving a double-dealing villager, and lots of broadly drawn characters. Straddling the line between Bollywood and the elegant period flavorings of the Ismail Merchant-James Ivory India movies, this exotic treat with a frequently thumping beat is -- as of 2002 -- the most entertaining musical this side of Moulin Rouge.
All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
In this musical-drama set in central India in 1893, farmers led by a man named Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) rise up against an unjust British land tax called the lagaan. However, rather than resorting to violence, the farmers agree to settle the issue in a cricket match. If the Indians defeat the British, they pay no tax for three years. If they lose, they pay triple the tax under a condition imposed by a haughty British officer, Captain Andrew Russell (Paul Blackthorne). Critics in the U.S. and abroad acclaimed Lagaan for the appeal of its story, characters, cinematography, and six rousing musical interludes. In America, it received an Oscar nomination for best foreign film. To be sure, the story is promising -- a kind of Gandhi-cum-cricket bat -- but the acting is generally melodramatic and even amateurish at times. Moreover, the script is too obvious in its appeal for audience sympathy for the underdog farmers. Although the cinematography bursts with color (as in a Kurosawa film, one critic observed), the oranges of the sunsets and the reds and yellows of the costumes capture only the moment, not the meaning of the moment. On the other hand, the music of A.R. Rahman and Javed Akhtar -- featuring classical and native rhythms, as well as a touch of jazz -- are enjoyable and no doubt a major reason for the popularity of the film. Unfortunately, whenever the music begins, the decibel level increases significantly, and the songs take on a lip-sync quality that impairs the film's immediacy and believability. Another problem is the length of the film: three hours and 45 minutes. The cricket practice goes on and on, ad nauseam. When the day of the big match finally arrives, there are no surprises. The viewer knows that this movie can end only one way. But at least it does end.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
1/2 An enormously entertaining movie, like nothing we've ever seen before, and yet completely familiar.
San Francisco Chronicle
A rippingly good, old-fashioned movie epic that takes the best of Bollywood cinema ... and elevates it for an international audience.

1/2 An enormously entertaining movie, like nothing we've ever seen before, and yet completely familiar.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/25/2002
  • UPC: 043396079298
  • Original Release: 2001
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Aamir Khan Bhuvan
Gracy Singh Gauri
Rachel Shelley Elizabeth
Paul Blackthorne Captain Andrew Russell
Suhasini Mulay Yashodamai
Kulbhushan Kharbanda Rajah Puran Singh
Raghubir Yadav Bhura
Rajendra Gupta Mukhiya
Rajesh Vivek Guran
Sri Vallabh Vyas Ishwar
Javed Khan Ramsingh
Raj Zutshi Ismail
Akhilendra Mishra Arjan
Pradeep Sing Rawat Deva
Daya Shankar Pandey Goli
Yashpal Sharma Lakha
Amin Hajee Bagha
Aditya Lakhia Kachra
A.K. Hangal Shambukaka
John Rowe Col. Boyer
David Gant Major Warren
Jeremy Child Major Cotton
Ben Nealon Lt. Smith
Anupam Shyam Namdeo
Raja Awasthi Ramprasad
Pramatesh Mehta Harikaka
Bhim Vakani Kazi
Amin Gazi Tipu
Anu Ansari Jigni
Parveen Bano Kesarya
Chris England Yardley
Howard Lee Burton
Simon Holmes Brooks
Ray Eves Willis
Jon House North
Neil Patrick Harrison
Jamie Whitby Coles Wesson
Barry Hart Benson
Alex Shirtcliff Flynn
Technical Credits
Ashutosh Gowariker Director, Casting, Original Story, Screenwriter
Javed Akhtar Songwriter
Bhanu Athaiya Costumes/Costume Designer
Uma Da Cunha Casting
Reena Datta Executive Producer
Kumar Dave Screenwriter
Sanjay Dayma Screenwriter
Nicole Demers Makeup
Nitin Chandrakant Desai Production Designer
Ganesh Hegde Choreography
Nakul Kamte Sound/Sound Designer
Raju Khan Choreography
Saroj Khan Choreography
Aamir Khan Producer
Apoorva Lakhia Asst. Director
Terence Lewis Choreography
Anil Mehta Cinematographer
Vaibhavi Merchant Choreography
Abbas Ali Moghul Action Director
A.R. Rahman Score Composer
Danielle Roffe Casting
Ballu Saluja Editor
H. Sridhar Sound Mixer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 31 )
Rating Distribution

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(30)

4 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    genial

    Esta pelicula hindú es genial, tiene una excelente historia, excelentes actores, la musica y la escenografia está tan bien hecha que es inevitable ser capturado y transportado a la trama misma. después de verla una te aseguro que querrás verla otra vez.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    one of the best

    This movie is one of the most touching movie i have seen it touches like life of people who want's freedom and what they can do for their freedom. You see this movie once and you will always remember it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Just Amazing

    I have heard some amazing things about friends who had previously watched the movie, so I began to watch it with high expectations. This movie met those, and then some! The plot is actually interesting, and the acting of the characters is so captivating that you really feel the emotions in the movie, no matter what language. The songs and dances were amazing, as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Aamir fan!

    i loved this film. i found it to be really good and good for all americans to watch.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    UNREAL

    I watched this movie once, skeptical because I usually can't stand subtitles...It was so amazing, I just watched it again. And now I'm going to buy the DVD. It is a very satisfying movie. It's got the love story, the suspense, comedy, a variety of entertaining characters, great music/dances and a eye opening lesson in Indian culture and history. This movie will keep you on your feet and captivated all throughout the movie...just make sure you can take a bathroom break, it really does get intense.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    lagaan is outstanding

    this was my first bollywood movie & it was worth it. it is very expressive and moving, music and the storyline is amazing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Surprisingly Enchanting!!!

    When my friend rented Lagaan for me, I nearly refused to watch it. I really expected very little from the plot and writing since I've never been interested in Bollywood films. However, after about 20 minutes of watching, I was hooked!! It is a funny, visually appealing, inspiring film, with cleverly written music and lyrics. I so enjoyed the film that I purchased it and have recommended it to many more friends who were equally impressed. Even my 12-year old baby sister loved it! Watch, and you too will be enchanted by Lagaan. :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Wonderful music and great movie

    It was one of the best love stories i've ever seen it was also very exciting. I also loved the music soo much it was beautiful

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Awsome movie & music

    I love this movie a lot . It is a great movie . This movie is one of the best . It tells a great story . This is a movie for EVERYBODY !!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    the greatest movie ever filmed

    this is truly an incredibly moving movie, it was funny,and beautiful, the english woman was at times ''acting'' cheesy but the rest of the film covered that like icing.if you love anything about india you have to own this movie. and if you dont, then you will after watching this film.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Captivating

    My whole family enjoyed this movie so much. We watched it four times already. It is a complete movie. Romantic, passionate, musical, action, funny, inspiring... and has a great message for everyone. It shows what true leadership is and breaks down prejudices among people.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2003

    Lagaan is the best - Aamir Khan is superb

    Lagaan is a masterpiece. It is a complete movie that will definitely go down in the annals of history as one of the best movies that came out of India. This movie has great morales and a great message for humanity. It is unfortunate it did not take home the Oscar. This is a must see.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    An Absolute Gem!!!

    Hollywood can only wish to produce a movie as extraordinary as Lagaan. This movie is an absolute MUST SEE!!! This movie and soundtrack are worth owning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A great Indian Entertainment for all Americans

    Lagaan is a true Indian Entertainment that's made to Academy nomination. Its the only Indian smash hit in over 40 countries. If one is interested in entertainment beyond Hollywood, then this is a must. Most of all its True Story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Best Movie!

    Very good movie! A must see!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    shere determination of the villagers in the colonial rule could lift them from their plight.

    The picture indeed is an epic and master piece from Bollywood. It reflects their determination to accept challenge from collonial rulers, prepare themselves for the game which they had never played and win. Villager's love for each other, faith in God and their leader has aptly been depicted. The picture is worth seeing and has lot to offer not only to Indians but to the entire world. Missed Oscar from fractions but still rated as one of the best films. Amir and his costars have lived their performance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Addictive

    I find myself unable to turn a way from the screen for a second when watching this film. The music is uplifting and catchy. Although I feel that Gracy Singh's acting left alot to be desired, Aamir Khan's performance was flawless. Which more than made up for it! The film is colourful and entertaining but at the same time educational. A huge thumbs up!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Spirit of India

    The music and dancing in this film are deeply revealing of the spirit and tradition of India. The music seems to come from deep inside, and the sound resonates in the viewer long after the movie is over. The dancing and singing communicate the deep reverence of Hinduism for Krishna in a way that no book or lecture could do. The story is well-done, too, and suspenseful to the very end. The acting is superb, and the leading actor and actress have great physical beauty. A first-rate film in every way, and something different for Western viewers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A journey through humanity

    Though this movie is almost four hours I was still engrossed the entire time. Its hearfelt, honest performances and entertaining Indian music will leave you wanting more. It also teaches great lessons about accpetance, faith, and perserverance that will keep you thinking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Enchanting movie

    This movie was an all-around great one, and it speaks to people of all nationalities. The story and actors are captivating, and the music is superb. It is such a joy to listen to, and it will have you singing and dancing to it long after the film is over. Gracy Singh did a wonderful job on this one.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews