Celebrating the 7th Anniversary of Lagaan

*See bottom of post for links to all posts from Lagaan Week *

It is one of the best films, if not the best film, in the history of Bollywood. As a standalone product, it is perhaps one of the most effective. To me, it is the driving force for restoration of faith in cinema. It is a film I am proudest of, not only as an Aamir Khan loyalist, but as a film enthusiast as well. It, ladies and gentlemen, is LAGAAN (2001). And on June 15, we celebrate seven years since its release!

Seven years later, Lagaan maintains relevance across cultures, geographies, histories, politics, and revolutionism. It offers countless lessons of love, hope, faith, struggle, teamwork, collaboration, understanding, innocence, patience, and perseverance. Perhaps most importantly, it serves as a reminder of the importance of saluting belief in goodness.

So allow me to dedicate the vast majority of posts this coming week to my favorite film of all-time, one that has mattered most for reasons I hope to discuss.

Chale Chalo. Let's enjoy the ride.


Addendum 7/11/2008:
Here are all the Lagaan Week posts, and others related to the film:


12 comments:

memsaab said...

Every Indian I've ever met and told that I like Hindi movies has said: "Oh have you seen Lagaan?"

It is such a great film (I so love the music, particularly).

theBollywoodFan said...

Memsaab: I think part of the beauty of the film was its appeal to the masses. It had all the elements for a successful film (hope to discuss its music too -- it's amazing, I agree), but the extent of its acceptance was beyond anything imaginable.

That people ask you about it knowing your love of movies illustrates their pride and confidence in it. That's great!

memsaab said...

Actually, I think that when I say I love Hindi movies they assume that Lagaan is the only one that I have seen! They can never believe that I've seen other ones as well :-D

theBollywoodFan said...

That is hilarious! And a bit sad too. Probably originates from Lagaan likely being the most widely viewed Indian film in a long, long time, and people assuming that most people know of hardly anything else.

Maybe you should try asking them a couple of filmy questions some time?! ;)

salek said...

Your passion for Lagaan has inspired me to parody the following lines from a classic SRK-Divya Bharti song…

Aisi deewangi dekha nahin kahin
Maine isliye… BollywoodFan
‘Lagaaniac’ tera naam rakhdiya
Tera naam rakhdiya!

This ridiculous spoof aside, I found your eloquent tribute to Lagaan to be quite powerful and agree with you completely about the film’s universality.

I have only seen Lagaan once and that was seven years ago. It has the distinction of being the first DVD my family viewed on our first DVD player. Back then I was a na├»ve pre-teen with hardly any knowledge of South Asian history or Hindi cinema. Lagaan didn’t really stand out to me besides being a period film about cricket with the usual song-and-dance numbers. Interestingly enough I was in Pakistan that summer and the film that everyone had seen was Gadar.

Later in my high school World History class, an interesting thing happened when we were going over European Imperialism. Out of nowhere, my teacher begins to talk about this amazing Bollywood film set in the British Raj centered around cricket. Being one of the few South Asian students in the class, I was able to discuss what I remembered about Lagaan with her: Aamir Khan, the songs, the arrogance of the Brits, the film’s nomination for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, and it’s eventual loss to “some European film”. It was kind of funny because all of this took place during class for a few minutes when no one else really knew what we were talking about.

By the way, has any Hindi film, or any South Asian film for that matter, won an Oscar? Satyajit Ray won an Academy Honorary Award shortly before his death, but I don’t think that really counts. I don’t understand how not one film from the world’s most prolific film industry has been recognized by the Academy. My personal theory is that although the West sincerely believes India can produce excellent films, I still think that there is some sort of cultural barrier that prevents them from acknowledging our films as superior to some of the more darker, grimmer films that Europe rolls out each year. Maybe it’s the romance, or the “musical” tag, who knows? But why all this fuss over the Oscars anyway? Lagaan is an outstanding film that does not need an Oscar or any other award to validate its position as one of Bollywood’s finest productions.

I had completely forgotten about Lagaan until a friend recently recommended that I hear the soundtrack. Since then I’ve been meaning to revisit it, and ‘Lagaan Week’ was the final push. I just picked up a copy today and will be watching it within the next few days. Considering how little I remember of the plot and characters I might as well be watching Lagaan for the first time.

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you Salek. Like that song! Lagaaniacs indeed :)

My understanding is that no Bollywood film has ever won an Oscar. The only other ones I know of being nominated were Mother India and Salaam Bombay. Water was nominated last year, but that was a Canadian entry.

I like only the Filmfare Awards. An Oscar would be nice, though, for with one comes a lot of credibility with audiences that might otherwise not watch the film. Do not believe not winning an Oscar hurt Lagaan much, since in the grand scheme of things, it probably accomplished more any way.

Enjoy Lagaan! And let us know what you think of it now!

Nida said...

This is truly a film that is loved by the masses. And what a great way for you to pay a tribute to it!

I know I have to rewatch this film again. I feel there are many cultural, historical and sociological undertones I missed or did not understand at the time.

I'll be reading your upcoming Lagaan posts!

theBollywoodFan said...

Thanks again Nida! Would love to know your thoughts on the other posts (links to which are provided above, or in the A-Z review listing).

Again, I think you underline, in your review, what makes it great -- teamwork and a forgiving attitude.

Cheers!

salek said...

It's always interesting to see what people unfamiliar with Bollywood have to say about Hindi films, so I thought you might enjoy what Ebert and Roeper had to say about Lagaan in their review...

http://bventertainment.go.com/tv/buenavista/ebertandroeper/index2.html?sec=6&subsec=lagaan

theBollywoodFan said...

This is great! Thank you Salek!

Anonymous said...

Lagaan*****

Extraordinary, Superb, Amazing, Une Oeuvre d'art of boundless and epic proportions****

Lagaan is one incredible movie which truly touched my heart and soul. It's magnificent production was to me beyond anything I have ever seen. It's a an epic story of richness and talents and a true roller coaster ride of emotions and unforgettable memories. Lagaan will make you dance and cry, smile and laugh, and its golden style will forever be celebrated as the best movie ever made in the history of outstanding motion picture.

BRAVO LAGAAN***

JM

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi JM, thank you so much for your visit and comment. Really glad you enjoyed Lagaan so much! I agree with everything you've said, it's such a remarkable movie in so many respects. Bravo indeed! Cheers.