How many of you have watched Lagaan? and what is your opinion about the movie
December 7, 2006 9:38am CST
"Lagaan" is set in late 19th century India. Captain Andrew Russell (Paul Blackthorne), the commanding officer of a British cantonment, oppresses the people of Champaner with high taxes (lagaan). The local ruler, Rajah Pooran Singh, asks that taxes be lowered, to ease the suffering of the drought-stricken villagers. Captain Russell humiliates the rajah by asking him to eat meat if he wishes the taxes to be lowered. The rajah says that he must keep the rules of his religion and his caste; he cannot eat meat. Captain Russell then doubles the taxes. The peasants, who are already suffering from a prolonged drought, are devastated by this news. The monsoon is late; they will be unable to pay regular taxes, much less double taxes. They beg the rajah to help them, but he says he cannot persuade the British to mercy. The villagers, returning from their fruitless audience with the rajah, stop to watch the British officers playing cricket. Captain Russell notices them and sees the young, impetuous Bhuvan (Amir Khan), who has previously angered him. The captain offers Bhuvan a wager: he will cancel the taxes of the whole province for three years if a village team can beat his men at cricket. If they lose, they will owe triple tax. To the horror of the other villagers, Bhuvan accepts this wager on their behalf. Later, he explains that as they can pay neither double nor triple taxes, they should grab the chance for a tax remission. Nonetheless, the villagers of Champaner, and of all the neighboring villages, are furious with Bhuvan. No one has ever played cricket. How can complete novices beat the British?The British Government, on learning of Captain Russell’s wager, admonishes him for his arrogant and irresponsible behaviour. His superiors tell him that if he loses the match, he will have to reimburse all the taxes from his own pocket and moreover suffer a transfer to East Africa. Led by the courageous Bhuvan and helped by the Russell’s good-hearted sister Elizabeth (Rachel Shelley), a few villagers begin to learn cricket. As time progresses, more and more villagers are convinced to join Bhuvan's team. Bhuvan accepts them on merit alone, disregarding all considerations of religion and caste. This is controversial, but eventually accepted by the villagers. The team works hard and it seems that they might have a chance to win. As they spend time together, Elizabeth falls in love with Bhuvan, who is himself attached to a charming local girl, Gauri. Though Bhuvan feels nothing but respect for Elizabeth and Elizabeth never expresses her feelings, Gauri sees how matters stand and is anxious until Bhuvan declares his love. This infuriates the woodcutter Lakha, who had hoped to win Gauri himself. Lakha decides to humble Bhuvan by forcing him to lose the match. Lakha joins the team, but secretly meets with Captain Russell, informing him of everything that is happening. The captain tries to prevent his sister from helping the villagers, but she defies him. So matters stand when the three-day cricket match starts. An immense crowd of villagers gathers to watch the British and the local team face off at cricket. The last hour of the movie is a condensed rendition of the game, ending with an edge-of-your-seat climax.