Lagaan Week 2009: Eighth Anniversary Special

[Please see below for Lagaan Week 2009 posts] This is from my eighth birthday (some things are just meant to be), and today, please allow me to feed you all a digital piece to celebrate eight years since Lagaan was released in theaters!

Everything I said in the intro post to Lagaan Week 2008 applies. Around this time last year, we discussed several features of the film, among them its cast, setting, soundtrack, lessons learned, and cricket game. There was a DVD set review, and a dedication to a villain turned hero. Then there was this discussion on probably why Lagaan worked for the masses, which doubled as a background score review.

This year, the hope is to share more about Lagaan that is external to the film (but not exclusively). As always, there will be an effort to strike a balance between fact and opinion. I'm also looking forward to sharing some fantastic guest posts. So, each day this week, please stop by for a treat related to the film to which I owe my love of Hindi cinema, and the only one I can recommend unconditionally. And while you're at it, you can always stop by here for some cake :) For now, enjoy the spellbinding music to the opening credits:

Chale Chalo.

Addendum 6/22/2009
Here are the posts from Lagaan Week 2009:

Lagaan XI and their challenge
Guest post: You had me at Ghanan Ghanan
What makes Lagaan special?
Guest post: The sound feast that is the Lagaan soundtrack
On location and more on Project Extraordinaire


Arjavi said...

I was hoping you would write something on Lagaan, tBF. Found your blog site while searching for Lagaan, and this is my first comment. Keep it going!

theBollywoodFan said...

Welcome, Arjavi! Thank you for your comment, and I hope you enjoy the posts this week.

dunkdaft said...

Well Well, so its got started haan?? Can't wait, what you have in box? And I must admit, Excellent photoshop'ing'. Great header. Yes, the opening sequence is damn good. They should have come out with background score CD.

Shellie said...

Lagaan week! Can't wait - and probably one of the best movies to do a series on!

Unknown said...

Hello BwF!

This week sounds exciting indeed, and your idea of inclding the opening credits music is brilliant and helps build expectation.


Joanna said...

Hey there BWF!

Looks like the Lagaan 8th anniversary week is off to a great start! I love the cake. Was it really for your 8th birthday? Very cool! How fitting! :-)

I'm really looking forward to reading all the upcoming posts. Lagaan is a very special film. I'm so happy to play a small part in this.

Your site is absolutely fabulous. It's so obvious that this is a true labor of love.


Anonymous said...

Arrrrrrrrgh! What an overrated film by an overrated actor (though it's not as overrated as Rang De Basanti).

NidaMarie said...

ha ha--Nice picture. :)

Funny, I was introduced to a good friend's boyfriend the other day and somehow he asked about my trip to Boston...when I mentioned how much I loved Hindi films, he said, "I LOVE LAGAAN! Where do I find more films like that?" On and on he went. Of course, I am also super excited to discuss Hindi cinema in any form (lol) but it just really amazes me how passionately people love this film! Thought I'd share with you.

BTW, grrrreat header!

theBollywoodFan said...

Darshit: It's here, all right! I honestly didn't think I'd be able to host one this year, but the weekend came at the right time, LOL. That header was much fun to put together, imaginary triangles are always fun to draw =) That's very true about the background score, it's just magnificent. Such a brilliant mix of the eastern and western!

Shell: I don't think I'll ever run out of things to say about this movie, which is great, but often scary :)

Aline! Thanks so much for your visit! The opening credits were great, I really enjoyed the visuals that went along with them, samples of which are available in this post. Enjoy.

theBollywoodFan said...

Joanna! Thank you for your visit and kind comments. That cake was indeed for my birthday, I'm going to have to send you a picture with me in it! (I looked kind of silly dressed in an all-white uniform, but it was fun, nevertheless :)

Anonymous: I'm sorry you feel that way about Lagaan and Rang De Basanti, both of which are at the very top of my all-time favorites. I'm now curious to know what your favorites are!

Nida: Ref - that picture, I've visited my blog more often than usual through the day today, and I must say the picture of that cake alone had me at the M&M dispenser a few times, which drew a lot of laughs from some of my colleagues, because I'm the one usually discouraging people from going anywhere near it!

And that sounds a cool dude your friend's with! ;) Did he have any comments on cricket?

NidaMarie said...

Lol, well that cake does look pretty yummy, so who could blame you? :)

Funny you should ask--He said that he didn't "get" it at first because he didn't understand cricket, but then his viewing companion explained the meaning of cricket and its impact on India's history (something I'm not sure I fully understand yet myself) and he just got it...he even touched his heart as he explained that last statement! Cool, hey?

theBollywoodFan said...

...the meaning of cricket and its impact on India's history (something I'm not sure I fully understand yet myself)

There are so many complexities involved, it's unbelievable.

Cool, hey?

Absolutely! I think it's great that the cultural elements are so effectively translated through film. Long live cinema!

Unknown said...

...the meaning of cricket and its impact on India's history (something I'm not sure I fully understand yet myself)

There are so many complexities involved, it's unbelievable.

I think this is one reason why I liked Lagaan so much. Growing up with the knowledge that cricket is effectively the one unifying religion of the whole subcontinent, and following the exploits of people like Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev as a kid, the idea of an India in which cricket was alien was itself an alien concept. One of the fundas of my childhood, that India was a cricket powerhouse, was flipped on its head, to great dramatic effect. Even now, after many, many viewings, I get a smile out of the idea that Indians aren't born screaming "howzat!"

theBollywoodFan said...

So true, maxqnz! I've talked about this before here, cricket as much as anything else, is the common language across South Asia. As someone who's lived in India and Pakistan, I certainly appreciate that quality inherent in sport. Besides, in retrospect, my life would be incomplete without summer trips to Sharjah, or experiences such as my late grandfather waking me up for a cricket match in which Tendulkar and Akram would be out in the middle for a coin toss. Talk about major impact with trivial acts! :)

Anu said...

Awesome news for Lagaan fans:

Lagaan has been listed by The Daily Telegraph of UK, among the 100 Movies that defined this decade! It ranks at #51.

Source -

Lagaan has also been listed by Time Out London among the 101 Greatest Movies of this Decade! It ranks at #41.

Link -

In both the lists, Lagaan is the ONLY Bollywood film and the only completely Indian film in the list!!!

theBollywoodFan said...

Nice! As always, thank you, Anu! These are simply *great*.

Anu said...


You and all Lagaan fans. Please vote for Lagaan in Total Film Magazine's Greatest Movies of the Decade poll. Total Film Magazine, is one of the best selling movie magazines in UK, and is conducting a poll on the Greatest Movies of the Decade. They've provided a form on their site, in which we can nominate any 3 movies of our choice.

Link -

Fill in your email id to complete the form and submit your vote!

LAST DATE TO VOTE IS December 14, 2009.

[I only came to know about this poll yesterday!! Too little time left!]

Already Lagaan has made it to many all-time greatest movies lists, so vote for Lagaan this time too!

hannah said...

I am not used to blogging/commenting so often but I guess this blog has got me hooked!!! I have had time to do so because I have been sick for the past few days and energy for nothing else but switch on the computer!!
I watched Lagaan again last night - which cheered me up considerably!! - and have been reading the posts of last year's Lagaan week this morning. Am looking forward to the 2010 edition!
I have a few questions that I throw like this and hope that all the Lagaan/bollywood experts can fill me in :)

1. What language do they speak in Lagaan? What about other bollywood productions, are they in Hindi or Hindustani?

2. What costume do the women of Champaner wear? Would it be called a sharara? Also, the three dots on the chin and either side of the eyes, are these typical of a region in India or of the times?

3. Since I LOVE Lagaan, I thought I should try my best to get the 3-disc set but it's not gonna be easy... Well, what I wanted to know is whether "Chale Chalo" documentary has english subtitles. I looked it up on amazon but does not give that indication.

4. Can anyone tell me where I can get a charpoi from in India or elsewhere (preferably around the indian ocean)??? Am dying to get one as it is sooooo hot here right now and watching Bhuvan on his looking at the stars makes me want to have one to so I can sleep out on the terrace...

theBollywoodFan said...

Hannah: Hope you're feeling better. Before anything else, compliments on a fine profile picture! That's simply awesome! :) In response to your Qs:

1. They're speaking in 'Awadhi' (Wiki entry here) in the film. My understanding is it's not the purest form (i.e. it's somewhat watered down) of a language now considered a dialect of Hindi, given the need to make it intelligible for Hindi-speakers, which holds true in the film.

2. Shararas do show up among the multitude of dresses, but I'm definitely not the right person to answer this question. I'll try to get you some help on this. Stay tuned.

3. I think you'll love the 3-disc set if you love the film. The set I have has Chale Chalo in Hindi and without subtitles. The same set with Chale Chalo in English is available, too. I know someone who has it, and I'll ask her to stop by here to comment, maybe she can help direct you to how (and from where) to identify the set for you!

4. I know 'charpois' (made in India or made elsewhere but almost identical) are available in Tanzania and Kenya, and I can't imagine they wouldn't be available in South Africa as well. One would hope they're available somewhere in Mauritius too. Perhaps asking around might help? (E.g. at an Indian store/festival to see if you can get connected to some vendor there?) I've been so out of touch, sorry to not be able to provide much guidance/help here.

As always, thanks so much for your visit and comment. I'm definitely looking forward to Lagaan Week 2010 too! Glad you enjoyed going through some of the posts. :)

Cheers. Oh, and by the way, could you please send me an e-mail when you get a moment? thebollywoodfan at gmail dot com. Thanks!

Pitu said...

Hannah: The women of Champaner wear ghaghra cholis or chaniya cholis. Ghagra = long flowy skirt. Choli = blouse with a dupatta to cover up like a stole. Ghagra cholis are primarily worn by Hindu women whereas shararas and ghararas are Muslim outfits.

Shararas look rather different. They involve a long tunic on top and the long skirt on the bottom is actually a pair of pants that 'look' like a skirt due to having such a wide circumference.

As the tunic in a sharara is very modest to begin with, the dupatta does not need to cover the midriff which is never bared, and can be very casually draped along the neckline or used to cover the head.

As for the dots, they are commonly worn in many states in India. Traditionally, they were actually tattooed onto the skin but I think nowadays even rural Indians draw them on using kohl or even soot. While they were very prevalent in that age, they are still drawn in rural parts of India today. And some communtities draw them on with sandalwood/kumkum or makeup as part of bridal makeup although that is also a dying trend. I remember drawing them on with eyeliner as a kid whenever I dressed up in ethnic wear!

As far as I know, there doesn't seem to be any specific 'reason' for women to draw these dots (unlike the bindi which has very strong roots in Hindu spirituality) except as an embellishment.

Sorry for the looooooooooooong comment but hope it helps. I am a fashion/makeup buff so I can talk for hours on this subject lol.

theBollywoodFan said...

Pitu! You're definitely the expert on the subject, thanks so much for enlightening us!

As basic as it might be to any discussion on the topic, the distinction between the ghagra choli and sharara never dawned on me. :) speaks to how little it matters in the bigger picture to some of us guys. :P

Interesting bit about the adornments and makeup, too. Many thanks, again! Cheers.

hannah said...

Pitu: Thanks so much for the info you gave about the ghagra cholis. I don't think I've seen anything like this sold here. Maybe I'll just have to make my own!!!
Interesting that you mentioned the distinction of dress worn by Hindu or Muslim. My understanding was that somehow dress was more related to the region or state. It's true that in Mauritius, sarees are usually associated with Hindu ladies and Churidars with Muslim ladies. I had thought that it was Mauritians who had this wrong perception. Now I'm beginning to think that it was 'imported' like that!!
I enjoyed your comment - wasn't long at all!! Now I know who to ask about anything on fashion!!
I loved Gracy Singh in Lagaan - thought she was perfect for the role; haven't seen her in any other movie though... was just wondering whether it was those three dots that added to her 'indian-ness'...
tBF: Thanks! I am much better today. Thanks also for taking the time to reply to all my Qs. Hope to get more info about the charpois.
I read on the Lagaan website, in the production notes, that they had difficulty in getting those from the local villages as the people did not want to part from them even for a short while. I can understand them!!!

Kristine said...

Waiting for the Lagaan Week 2010.... :-)

Tonight we are celebrating... A friend of mine is watching Lagan for the 100th (yes, 100th) time... Amazing, isn't it...

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Kristine! Lagaan Week 2010 is officially under way. :)

How was the celebration? 100 times, *woah*! And I think I've spent enough hours watching it, my best estimate has the number of viewings at around 28. That's definitely over four days at 3.75 hours per viewing! :)