Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Stars: Aamir Khan, Gracy Singh, Rachel Shelley
Plot: The film is set in the Victorian period of India's colonial British Raj. The story revolves around a small village whose inhabitants, burdened by high taxes, find themselves in an extraordinary situation as an arrogant officer challenges them to a game of cricket as a wager to avoid the taxes.
The first cut of the film was 7 hours and 30 minutes long. It was later edited to final running time of 3 hours and 44 minutes
The movie was shot in villages of Bhuj (Gujarat). Bhuj was destroyed in an earthquake on 26th January 2001, six months after the movie was shot.
Aamir Khan got his ears pierced so that he could actually wear earrings.
Lagaan has many parallels with Bhuvan Shome (1969). Amitabh Bachchan is the narrator in both the movies. The hero and heroine's name are the same, Bhuvan and Gauri. Suhasini Mulay who played the heroine in Bhuvan Shome, played the hero's mother in Lagaan. Both movies were shot in Gujarat.
It became the third Indian film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film after Mother India (1957) and Salaam Bombay! (1988).
The location was declared “highly sensitive”. So all foreigners were required to register with the police.
Lagaan became the first Indian movie to be released in China. The film was dubbed in Chinese and premiered in Shanghai followed by Beijing.
Shah Rukh Khan was offered the role of Bhuvan but rejected it.
Ameesha Patel auditioned for the role of Gauri before Gracy Singh was cast. Preity Zinta and Rani Mukerji rejected the lead role.
Ashutosh Gowariker had difficulty acquiring funding for the film. Most financiers insisted that the movie was not financially viable and insisted that the lead character Bhuvan should kill the villain at the end of the movie. So Aamir decided to step in and produce the film himself so Ashutosh could have creative freedom in shooting the movie.
During the filming of Lagaan, it did not rain at all in the region. However, a week after the shoot finished, it rained heavily bringing relief to Bhuj, which had a lean monsoon the previous year
Avadhi, which is a dialect of Hindi, is primarily from a region in Uttar Pradesh. It was chosen to give the feel of the language spoken during that era. However, the language was diluted, and modern viewers can understand it
Due to the lack of comfortable hotels in Bhuj where the movie was shot, he hired a newly constructed apartment and furnished it completely for the crew.
Most of the 19th century tools and equipment depicted in the film were lent to the crew by the local villagers.
Before the worldwide release of the film, Aamir Khan screened the film specially for the villagers of Bhuj, where the film had been shot.
During shooting, a cricket match was organized between the British actors and their Indian counterparts. The Brits won the match
Much of the cricketing gears used in the movie was authentic and was purchased from a London antique shop.
Paul Blackthorne and Rachel Shelley had difficulty with the Hindi dialogues of their characters. Rachel, who didn’t know a word of Hindi, memorized everyone’s lines so she could understand the scenes better.
Aamir wanted to grow a moustache for this film but the director rejected this idea.
A lot of the crowd that we saw cheering during the match scene, were actual villagers who came every day to be a part of the film. They would sit patiently in sun the entire day while the film was shot.