Lagaan,” as Aamir puts it, “has not been an easy film to make”. When its director Ashutosh Gowarikar first narrated the idea to him, he brushed it off without showing any enthusiasm. But Ashutosh didn’t give up and worked on the script and it’s subtleties for a good five months. And when he showed Aamir a meticulously written script the second time, the dashing Khan relented.
Not only did Aamir give consent to play the film’s protagonist Bhuvan but also decided to produce it himself. With that began a “challenging task” that, after two year’s arduous labor, culminated in a Rs 25-crore film.
is a film with a realistic theme but at the same time retains the gloss of popular cinema. With Nitin Desai as the art designer, Ashutosh has created the authentic milieu of an Indian village Champaner in 1893. Those who inhabit it go by the names of Deva, Goli, Kachra, Lakha, Bhura, Ismail. They are peasants, blacksmiths, potters, wood cutters, temple dwellers and astrologers. The dialect they speak is a mix of three bolis – Awadhi, Bhojpuri and Brijbhashsa.
Clad in a darned Dhoti and with hair drenched in oil, Aamir Khan gives a realistic portrayal of a simple village yokel. Bhuvan, the character he plays, is a man of self-respect no matter whether he is gamboling around the village fields or waltzing on Mozart’s symphony in a ballroom with none other than Elizabeth, the sister of the British captain Russell (Paul Blackthorne).
Gracie Singh looks convincing as Gauri, a simple village belle who is smitten by Bhuvan. Gracie’s disarming smile and homely looks make her a perfect choice to play a rustic girl for whom her small village is the world.
The high point of the movie is the three-day match between the villagers and the British team led by captain Russell. In the end, when the Indian side needs to make 20 runs in just three overs and Bhuvan is at the crease, batting with a century to his credit, the nail biting suspense begins. It ends with an Escape to Victory-like climax, leaving viewers’ at the edge of their seats.