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Lagaan - Once Upon a Time in India (2001)

Aamir Khan , Gracy Singh , Ashutosh Gowariker  |  PG |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Aamir Khan, Gracy Singh, Rachel Shelley, Paul Blackthorne, Suhasini Mulay
  • Directors: Ashutosh Gowariker
  • Writers: Ashutosh Gowariker, K.P. Saxena, Kumar Dave, Sanjay Dayma
  • Producers: Aamir Khan, Reena Dutta
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Run Time: 224 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005U124
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,924 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lagaan - Once Upon a Time in India" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Deleted scenes
  • Weblink

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Would you believe the most enchanting musical of the year is an almost four-hour-long epic about a ragtag group of 19th-century Indian farmers who form a cricket team to take on an arrogant British captain? The old-fashioned Hollywood musical is alive and well in India's Bollywood industry, where the joyful explosion of music and dance and innocent romance abounds in sweeping epics. In this infectious tale of bloodless revolution, the underdog outcasts and oddballs of a fractured village pull together into a unified team to take on the oppressive colonial Brits at their own game. Think The Longest Yard meets The Seven Samurai by way of Rudyard Kipling, with cricket bats, choreographed dance numbers, romantic triangles, and a rousing call to solidarity. There are no surprises, but what spirit, what color, what good fun! --Sean Axmaker

Product Description

The title means tax, and for the citizens of India living under the British raj, or rule, it also meant a cause worth fighting for. The battleground in this case is the cricket field, where experienced English players compete against local novices, whose victory would end three years of punishing lagaan for their people. A more subtle struggle takes place in the hearts of the story's hero, Bhuvan, and two lovely young women--the English Elizabeth and the Indian Gauri. In English with English and Hindi subtitles. 3 hours 45 min. on 2 cassettes or 1 DVD.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
155 of 160 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entrancing Introduction to India June 14, 2002
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I know nothing about the Indian culture or music, and I was a bit skeptical that a 4-hour subtitled movie filmed in India about CRICKET would be of interest to me. I loved every minute. Not only was this movie visually beautiful and well paced, it also has a "good heart." Although a classic tale of courageous common folk rising up against oppressors, the story is told with humor and affection and with an infectious joy and innocence that is very appealing. One example of the director's skill is that even though most of the film is concerned with cricket, a sport about which I know absolutely nothing, the movie never lags or slows down, but keeps an active pace.
The singing and dancing were very enjoyable. Even though I had never been exposed to Hindi singing before, my "Western" ears still found the music very beautiful.
I can see why the actor who played Bhuvan is a big star in India--very charismatic and charming, as well as very good looking.
I will definitely watch this again and again. We made an "Indian Evening" out of it, getting recipes off the Internet for Indian food, and munched on Tandoori chicken and vegetable curry while watching the DVD at home. Great fun!
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 1st Bollywood Film was Worth the 4 Hours! October 9, 2002
Format:DVD
Despite the fact that I bought the DVD some time ago, it took me a couple of months and 2 tries to actually get into it enough to watch. Knowing that it's approx. 4 hours long, the first time I popped it in and started struggling through the subtitles, that baby was out of the recorder about 2 minutes later! Well, it took being held up in bed sick to finally motivate me to try again.
Lagaan is an enchanting film that works on several levels: as an exciting sports film, as a poignant triangular love story and as a social and political drama. I like all of the above-mentioned genres with the major exception of sports films. However, I found myself thoroughly caught up in the big game, which actually adds at least one hour to the film's length. It is through this game that so many of the wonderful characters that are introduced throughout the film get their moment to shine: the fortune-teller, the crippled low-cast outcast, the village "idiot", the reformed Judas, etc.
I also appreciated the film's attempt to be fair: it would have been very easy to make the Brits all look like "bloody colonial twats", and the Indians smell like roses. We get to see Brits who where appalled by the way that their fellow countrymen behaved towards the Indians, and Indians discriminating amongst themselves due to their cast system. These areas of grey add layers to what might have been a fairly one-dimensional, Indian version of Mighty Ducks! That said, the very clear lines between good and bad help one cheer the underdogs on and ultimately make this a warm and fuzzy, feel-good-movie.
The cast, lead by Aamir Khan - a wonderful mixture between Tom Hanks and Elvis Presley (!) - is wonderfully diverse, and the films length allows us to get to know each and every one of them.
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79 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Season of Flowers will Also Come April 28, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
As the parched earth waits for the rain, the village girl Gauri (Gracie Singh) waits for the young village farmer Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) to discover her heart. Together they fight for freedom from tyranny as Gauri encourages Bhuvan in his quest to take on the most important challenge of his life.

This is a story of triumph over oppression. A story of how the human spirit rises to new heights to overcome injustice. The plot is uncomplicated, which leaves room for fascinating choreography, discussions of cultural issues and moments of pure abandon. The dance sequences tell stories only dance can tell. It brings together the thoughts and feelings of the characters and creates a sacred space where the characters enter the realm of spirit.

Set in the 1890s, the residents of a small farming village in rustic Gujarat, India are waiting for the monsoon when they discover they will now have to pay twice the amount of lagaan (agricultural tax) they normally have to pay. With just enough food to survive they are literally going to have to fight to survive.

Captain Russel (Paul Blackthorne) almost overplays his part as the colonial officer (of the cantonment which rules over the neighboring villages) to emphasize the absolute absurdity of the situation. He demands complete obedience with no regard to the human suffering his laws will produce. He challenges Bhuvan to a game, knowing he has never played Cricket. If the village loses, they must pay triple the tax (lagaan). Bhuvan must not only gain the support of the terrified villagers, he must rally a team and train them within a few months.

It is completely unfair and the officer's sister, Elizabeth (Rachel Shelley), takes pity on the farmers.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Introduction to Bollywood! September 3, 2004
Format:DVD
This was my first full-fledged trip into Bollywood and I couldn't have asked for a better entry. While there were some inconsistencies in sound, overall I loved the picture. Some of the songs and dances were breathtaking and emotionally charged. In particular the number where Bhuvan and the young boy are sitting on a hill and they're shrugging their shoulders, soon getting the village into the act. The other number where Bhuvan and Gauri re-enact the love of Krishna and Radha in exquisite dancing. Also there were many moments of stunning, breathtaking images, including the women of the village seated in the temple praying for salvation. Absolutely stunning.

While I feel some judicious pruning could have trimmed the nearly 4 hour long version I watched (the DVD of which included an additional 17 minutes cut from this version) the picture did not seem nearly as long as it really was.

Aamir Khan creates an instantly likeable presence, handsome, engergetic and full of great promise and self-assuredness. I welcome the opportunity to see more of his work.

Gracy Singh is simply irresistable as Gauri - who could not fall in love with this slightly wacky, but ultimately wise in matters of the heart. She moves with an easy grace and elegance and charm befitting a princess. Her contribution to the song and dance numbers was exquisite. More Singh, please!

Paul Blackthorne was a hilarious, old-school villain; over the tope and right out of a penny dreadful melodrama - and I mean this as a compliment. His unrelenting arrogance made him so oh so easy to hate I almost hissed at his every appearance. I love a good villain!

Rachel Shelley's Elizabeth was a perfect blend of Victorian reserved beauty and free spirit and noble in her heartbreak.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
Great movie, especially if you know cricket! Great condition too. Why should I waste words just to have 10 more as required?
Published 13 days ago by William
5.0 out of 5 stars Great picture
Love the music and the drama. I have seen it like 10 times already. Will recommend it to everyone. Thanks
Published 2 months ago by Ocl
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This was one of our first “Bollywood” experiences. It has become a tradition in our home to watch it. We absolutely love Amir Khan. He is fantastic. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Melanie Curtis
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sports Movie for Non-Sports Movie Lovers
You don't need to know about Cricket to enjoy this movie. As you watch the film, you get to learn how the game is played along with the movie's heroes and you really root for them... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Meg
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent.
Very nice work. Superb absorbing movie. Excellent introduction to cricket for those who are unfamiliar with the game. Colorful and exquisite cinematography. Music is wonderful too. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ratna S. Goonasekera
5.0 out of 5 stars Lagaan
One of the best preformences by Aamir Khan.
Good acting crew. Stunning movie. Very good story line.
Fantastic on all views
Published 6 months ago by Lorna
5.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
This film addresses all kinds of issues - the caste system, partition, village life, even cricket! - in a story that is ultimately uplifting, told from the point of view of a... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Susan A
3.0 out of 5 stars The film is great but...
In addition there is a separate DVD documentary on the making of this magnificent film. Unfortunately the one supplied has been modified for the Hindi speaking market [including... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Pamela Luhrs
4.0 out of 5 stars As I remembered it. Good entertainment, great music!
Good print and sound quality. Bollywood films for the most part are long affairs. No limit to two hours ever. But no one forces you to watch it all in one sitting.
Published 8 months ago by Anthony Blasini
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughbred entertainer
Once again aamir khan does wonders. Brilliant movie. A great entertainer, good storyline, engaging plot and characters and a fantastic finish. Well directed and acted. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Rohan Pusalkar
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