Bhuvan hails from a
village called Champaner, somewhere in the interiors of
India. Set in 1893 during the British rule, the village is
facing a drought. It hasn't rained in three years. Their
king who shares a working relationship with the Britishers,
who is led by Capt Russell in their cantonment. One day,
playing a political game with the traditionally Hindu,
vegetarian king, Russell demands he eat meat or have his
kingdom cough up twice the lagaan or tax. The king refuses
and the prospect of paying twice the tax seems daunting to
the poor villagers. The villagers of Champaner approach
their king, who in turn explains to them that the lagaan
cannot be waived this year. But Russell in an inexplicable
move concedes, demanding that the villagers beat him and his
team at cricket, to settle an old score with Bhuvan. Bhuvan
accepts and is left with looking for team-mates to play
against the Brits and beat them at their own game, so to
From a man who 'played'
against all odds to make a passion called 'Lagaan' this one
will certainly 'bowl' you over! For 'Lagaan' comes like a
breath of fresh air in an industry that is now reeking of
failing films with bad scripts.
Flawless in execution and technically brilliant, the film
certainly makes for a memorable cinematic experience. The
first film to have synch-sound, 'Lagaan' also captures that
emotional element when first enacting a scene. With
three-plus hours of paisa vasool entertainment, 'Lagaan' is
a must-see. Why, you ask? Read on!
Firstly combining cricket, an Indian passion and the triumph
of the underdog, best exemplified in the Indian's struggle
against the British add up to a deadly effect. The film
rarely falters when it tells the tale of the underdogs
rising to take charge of their own lives, without the
violence, but through the spirit of a game. Coming to the
much-discussed and rather popular cricket match, it is
amazing how much the script demanded that the entire game of
cricket be unlearnt and seen with a fresh perspective.
Things like a new ball failing to spin, or a certain
repetitive spin action not finding mention in the rules are
aspects to the game, which a commoner would not be expected
The script also appears to make certain specific references
to well-known cricket personalities with respect to certain
characters in the team. From a match-fixer to certain
spinning actions of certain bowlers and even a certain
provocative batsman from the other side of the border. All
in good faith, of course.
The script bears a distinctly earthy flavour, as fresh as
the scent of the sun-basked earth drenched in the first
rains. With situational comedy and wit, the many characters
too create humour, unwittingly. The performances are superb,
to say the least, with the casting being a bonus. Every
character is hand-picked and fits in just right. Some of
them, like Aditya Lakhia who played Kachra, the untouchable
sweeper and Rajesh Vivek, the soothsayer are definitely the
ones to look out for. All others provide more than able
support. Gracy Singh, who was chosen from hundreds of girls
looks good and dances like a dream. With her innocence and
charm, she looks just like the village belle one would
imagine. With a rather expressive face and a brilliant
smile, Gracy is here to stay. But at the end of the day, it
is Aamir's film all the way. He gets under the skin of the
character of Bhuvan and plays it out with a sincerity never
before seen. His passion appears to have been infectious.
Watch out for some of his scenes with Gracy. The British
actors, with special mention of Paul Blackthorne and Rachel
Shelly are sincere and while the task of speaking Hindi was
somewhat overwhelming, they manage with aplomb.
The song picturisations are marvelous, with 'O Ri Chhori'
taking the cake. The delicate blend of western and Indian
music is captured beautifully on an arid landscape with
bright colours like yellow and red and within a palace, from
where the British woman, Elizabeth proclaims her love for
Bhuvan. There's even a bullock cart for that extra bit of
authenticity. 'Chale Chalo' is another well-done number with
classic shots of the men in action.
All in all, the film's a cinematic treat. Good, clean fun,
this is one to take the family to this weekend.
Unadulterated entertainment with loads of visual appeal.
Keep the popcorn handy, folks!