Lagaan - Review
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Lagaan - Review











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 speak
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 to know.
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!



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