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Lagaan: Once upon a Time in India (Widescreen) [Import]

4.7 out of 5 stars 112 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, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC, Import
  • Language: Hindi, English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Parental Guidance (PG)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: Jan. 1 2002
  • Run Time: 224 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00005U124
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Product Description

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

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I am still in the toe dipping stage when it comes to seeing Bollywood musicals. I would say that my first one was "Bride and Prejudice" except that it was made in England and not India, so the correct answer would be "Dil Se..," which I checked out because I was hooked on the song Chal Chaiyya Chaiyya," which Spike Lee used at the start of "Inside Man." I picked "Lagaan" as my next Bollyhood film because it appeared to be the highest rated one I could find, and had the reputation of being the most expensive and successful Bollywood film ever made when it came out. After having spent an entire afternoon watching it I can certainly understand why it has such a lofty reputation.

The full title of the film is "Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India," which I did not know at the time I watched it. That revelation is intriguing because it fosters an implicit comparison between this 2001 film from director Ashutosh Gowariker and the Sergio Leone movies "Once Upon a Time in the West" and "Once Upon a Time in America" (but not the Robert Rodriguez film "Once Upon a Time in Mexico"). The setting is a small village in the north of India in 1893, when the country is under the rule of Queen Victoria's British Empire. The land has been suffering from drought for over a year and the villagers and their Raja wants to be exempted from the crippling tax ("lagaan") that they owe the British government. The snobbish Captain Andrew Russell (Paul Blackthorne) makes a counter-offer: the village can play his cricket team. If the villagers win they will not have to pay the lagaan for three years, but if the English team wins they will have to pay three-times the lagaan.
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By lawyeraau TOP 500 REVIEWER on May 31 2004
Format: DVD
I admit that I love films with Anglo-Indian themes. I also love period pieces. So, when I discovered Lagaan, I was intrigued, though somewhat skeptical about its being a musical and about its underlying story. Still, I thought it was worth a shot. I am delighted that I took a chance, as I was riveted for the nearly four hours the film was on the screen. It is little wonder that it was a 2001 Academy Award nominee for best foreign language film.
The film takes place in late nineteenth century India, during the time of the British Raj, in the small rural village of Champaner. It is a poor village against whom a tax, called a lagaan, is levied by the British. It appears that the lagaan goes to support the British cantonment that rules over the Central Indian province in which Champaner sits. The cantonment is commanded by an arrogant Captain Russell, who seems to care little for the customs, culture, and people of India. He typifies all that is bad about the reign of the British Raj.
Champaner has, unfortunately, had a long lasting drought and, as a farming community, the dry spell has been devastating, leaving the villagers on the brink of agricultural disaster. They have been awaiting the seasonal monsoon rains to no avail. When the villagers are told that Captain Russell has doubled the lagaan, as it had been cut in half the previous year due to the drought, they are angry. It is a now an issue of life and death for them.
This brings Bhuvan, a handsome, young, spirited farmer to the fore. Before he knows it, Bhuvan finds himself wagering the future of his village and province on a cricket game, as he has likened it to a local game played by the villagers.
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Format: DVD
"Laggan" is an interesting Indian musical, that will capture your attention, even if you are not much into musicals in general, and you don?t know a thing about cricket, a sport that has a big place in this film.

Why? Well, to start with the plot of "Lagaan" is original, and the director (Ashutosh Gowariker) manages to make it credible. The story takes place in 19th century India, a British colony at that time. A group of villagers have been told that due to a whim of a British colonial officer they will have to pay double lagaan (a tax), despite the fact that they are suffering the effects of a drought. The villagers, led by Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) ask Captain Russell (Paul Blackthorne) to understand their plight, and he tells them that there will not pay lagaan if the villagers win a cricket match. However, if they lose they will have to pay triple lagaan.

Bhuvan recklessly accepts the bet, and has to convince his friends that he did the right thing and that it is possible to win that match. First, though, they need to learn the rules of the game, something they do with the help of Elizabeth (Rachel Shelley), Captain Russell s sister. Of course, there is more to this movie than that, for example the fact that Gauri (Gracie Singh) doesn?t like the attention that Bhuvan pays to Elizabeth, or the problems some villagers have with Bhuvan s leadership. Notwithstanding that, the more interesting part of this movie is how much the possibility of defeating the British, even if merely in a cricket game, meant for everybody.

All in all, I think that you will like this movie. It is interesting and picturesque, so much so that you hardly notice that it is almost four hours long. Recommended :)

Belen Alcat
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