Oct-Dec 2010 Screenings
Lagaan, Once Upon A Time In India
2001 - Ashutosh Gowariker - 223 mins - India
Fri 13 Dec 2002 at 8.30pm
Joyce's Lounge, Tuamgraney, Co. Clare
Midnight Court Rating: 4.8 (5 votes)
Genre: Drama, Musical, Bollywood, World Cinema
As this film is over 3 hours long, we will have
a break half-way through and provide Indian food
as part of the entrance cost (€10).
Storyline: The rains have failed, and the people of a small Indian village in Victorian India hope that they will be excused from paying the crippling land tax that their British rulers have imposed. Instead, the capricious British officer in charge challenges them to a game of cricket, a game totally alien and unknown to them. If they win, they get their wish; if they lose, however, the increased tax burden will destroy their lives. The people are terrified, but one man thinks the challenge is worth staking their entire future on. Will he convince the villagers to give it their best shot?
Cast: Aamir Khan, Gracy Singh, Paul Blackthorne, Rachel Shelley
Writer: Ashutosh Gowariker
An Indian modern classic. 'Lagaan' lives up to its huge hype with a spirited and well crafted story that could become actor-cum-producer Aamir Khan's magnum opus.
The year is 1893. The farmers of a small village in central India have been waiting for the evasive monsoons to rain on their dusty crops but to no avail. On top of their woes, the local British ruler Captain Russell (Paul Blackthorne) has demanded double tax - Lagaan. The angry villagers confront their masters, only to be faced with the arrogant Russell who issues them with a challenge: a game of cricket.
The unlikely heroes are led by enigmatic farmer Bhuvan (Aamir Khan), who slowly wins the hearts and minds of the village, inspiring them to learn the game and climaxing in the most lively and tense cricket match witnessed on the silver screen.
Director Ashutosh Gowariker captures the beauty and simplicity of rural life in India at the turn of the century. The vast landscapes and majestic palaces make for enchanting settings to tell the story. As a musical, the film also captivates with well choreographed dances.
Rajesh Vivek, who plays fortune teller Guran, steals all the scenes he's in with an animated comic performance. From the British contingent, theatre actor Rachel Shelley perfectly delivers an English rose who loses her heart in India, while Paul Blackthorne lights up the screen with his ruthless arrogance.
'Lagaan' is anything but standard Bollywood fodder, and is the first must-see of the Indian summer. A movie that will have you laughing and crying, but leaving with a smile.
Verdicts from the Midnight Court