Totally Bowled Over!
By MovieTalkies.com, 14 March 2011
(4.5/ 5 = Straight Hit!)
Without a shadow of doubt, he is one of Indian cinema's most dynamic stars. And equally so, he is arguably Bollywood's biggest, most bankable actor. Turning 46 years old on March 14, 2011, Aamir Khan is truly an actor's actor, his filmography over the last two odd decades casting him in a variety of roles that his contemporaries can only aspire to. A consummate artiste, Aamir has transitioned effortlessly from being just as actor to being an award winning director and a producer with some of Hindi cinema's biggest hits under his belt.
Amongst all of Aamir's hits, though, there is one that stands out in particular; Ashutosh Gowariker's Lagaan, an epic like no other, centred around India's national obsession, cricket. Lagaan made the world sit up and take notice of Bollywood, earning an Oscar nod and countless other awards along the way, changing the audience's perception of what Hindi cinema could be. By its very definition, Lagaan stands apart, the very definition of a modern classic.
More than once while watching the film, one can't help but hoot and applaud, as though one is actually at a cricket match, watching an ace batsman smash his way to another century. Indeed, director Ashutosh Gowariker's story, about a bunch of upstart Indian villagers defeating an arrogant team of English army men at their own game, plays out with all the gravity of a world cup final. With the uniting sport at its heart, Lagaan is, quite simply, about the quintessential triumph of human spirit.
The story, set in 1893's British India, revolves around the fictional cantonment district of Champaner, where following an extended drought, the poor villagers find themselves being taxed to death by their British masters. When their pleas for relief come to a nought, a hot blooded Bhuvan, the protagonist of the story, challenges the arrogant Captain of the cantonment, Captain Russell to a cricket match, the catch being that if the villagers win, they wont have to pay taxes, or lagaan, for three years, otherwise, they pay three times the amount. The film then deals with how the sport brings the village together, past evils like untouchability, and then, the crucial game itself, where Bhuvan's team battles everything from sledging to bodyline bowling to sheer exhaustion trying to win the game.