What makes Lagaan special?

That's easy to answer. A whole lot! I know I am notorious for never being at a loss for words and emotions when it comes to my fondness of Lagaan. But less is often more, and it's as challenging to articulate in a few sentences what makes the film so special for some of us. So here's what some of the other big fans of Aamir Khan think. Suffice it to say that if Aamir's blog is a village, say Champaner...


...they are among the most active villagers who take it upon themselves to ensure the village is always bustling with activity. When Aamir is away at work (or on vacation, which happens around once every few years, it seems), it is their enthusiasm for films and the life they represent, that keeps everyone going.

Today also marks two years since Aamir's blog went live! So, to all my fellow Aamirians, a happy AK blogging anniversary! It's been great to know you all, and we'll surely keep at it!

A big thank you to everyone who took time to contribute specifically to this post! A very special note of thanks to Katherine G. in Atlanta, Georgia. This post was her idea, and without her help (and Joanna's), it would certainly not have been possible. We begin with Katherine's notes on Lagaan, then (you might recall her excellent post on Rang De Basanti (2006) in April):

My fondness for Bollywood films began as a young bride when I married into my husband’s family some 20 years ago. Since my mother-in-law was from Kashmir, she would rent the latest Bollywood releases for us to watch together. The first time I saw Lagaan with her, I thought it was an absolutely wonderful story of good guy versus the establishment (the British). I was enthralled by the music, especially the song Chale Chalo.

Aamir Khan’s Bhuvan is one of the most endearing film characters in my memory. Bhuvan spots injustice and courageously decides to commit his village to an almost impossible task of winning a cricket match with the British. Knowing that losing this match would cause grave consequences for his fellow villagers, he takes responsibility to build a determined group of men into a cricket team. What follows is a spirited game of wills, innocence versus arrogance. Oh, what a game it is!


Chekhov, from San Antonio, Texas, reminds us that cinema, being so close to life, carries the distinction of being one of the most effective media through which we can all learn (to learn) so much! Between this and Joanna's post yesterday, I realize I picked the wrong major and electives in college :'(

During my second year at the university when I was 19, I took an Indian Anthropology course. As could be expected, the professor felt the need to include Bollywood films in order to help us better understand Indian culture. "Lagaan" was the first film we screened, and my first full Bollywood film ever. Our professor showed us cultural themes such as colonialism, imperialism, Hinduism, the caste system, Sikhism, etc. It took us weeks to get through the film, only watching ten to twenty minutes at a time. My classmates and I cheered for Bhuvan's triumphs, and held our breath through the cricket match. We giggled through the love story between Bhuvan and Gauri, and we even attempted the dances ourselves. If a classmate missed a class, we would call them just to tell them what had happened in the movie.

While Lagaan is an important landmark in Bollywood for its themes, nominations, and acceptance in the West, it is important to me personally for how it enlightened me. Despite having grown up in a largely Indian community in Washington DC, I had seldom developed much interest in India. After this film, I developed a deep appreciation for Indian culture, as well as for Bollywood. I am now considering learning Hindi in graduate school, and pursuing interests in that direction. For me, it can truly be said that Lagaan changed my perception of India, as well as the course of my life.

Haritas2 from Karnataka, India, rightfully focuses on the selection of then-rookie actress Gracy Singh as one of the more pivotal casting decisions. I wouldn't disagree. (Did you know Nandita Das had also auditioned for the role of Gauri? (Per page 62 of the Bhatkal book cited here.))

It can only be Aamir Khan who has the audacity to chose such a theme for the movie, such a simple yet great star cast. I would like to add light on his selection of Gracy Singh...no one would have blamed him for selecting a star actress like Kajol or Rani Mukerjee. Instead, he trusted a television actress with a massive project. In retrospect, nobody would have given the feel good 'gaon ki chhori' (village belle) freshness to the movie. It looked as if the role was tailor made for her!


Meanwhile, Creekbeds in Wisconsin sums up rather well the experience of revisiting the film:

Lagaan started me out on my love affair with Hindi movies. It was one of the first Bollywood movies I ever saw. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it didn’t take me long to fall in love with it. I love it for its exuberance, innocence, panoramic vistas and amazing song and dance numbers. I fell in love with Bhuvan and his ragtag team, a delightful, but mostly inept bunch. Each time I watch it, it’s like having a reunion with a beloved family member. Just some of the reasons why ‘Lagaan’ left an indelible impression on me, and it will always have a special place in my heart.

An 'inept' bunch indeed. How else could one describe a team that learns to field with the help of hens? =)



Tabby in London, England, notes that Bhuvan's ability to make the audience relate to him and his situation is what makes the story of the victory of the underdog seem so convincing.

An Oscar-award worthy performance by Aamir. He naturally has a huge on-screen presence, which made Bhuvan truly came alive. His character, style, approach, and mannerisms made the character well-rounded. Bhuvan could have been any villager in any remote village in India. The viewer isn't distracted by the grandeur of the setting or the magnitude of the challenge because of its excellent storyline. By the end the viewer is at the edge of his seat, consistently championing the underdogs - will they or won't they win? Bhuvan's victory is the viewers victory in equal measure. Long live the underdog!


Pushker in Lucknow, India, says what a lot of us truly believe -- that the credibility that Aamir lends to his profession and to the Hindi film industry, through films such as Lagaan, is what truly distinguishes him from his peers and into a league of his own. It is also what helps twenty-first century Hindi cinema stand out as a force to appreciate.


Aamir Khan has been a rare phenomenon in the Indian film industry. He has singlehandedly given respectability to Bollywood commercial cinema in the eyes of audiences from other parts of he world. For me, NRI-focused movies don't compare with his movies when it comes to appreciation and respect generated worldwide. Lagaan is the movie which started the trend. First and foremost, it is a path-breaking movie as far Indian film industry is concerned. It's the first pure crossover film which does not compromise on the essence of India. Its authenticity is not something we take for granted in Indian film.


From the first frame until the last, it is absolutely brilliantly crafted and directed. You almost feel part of the past. What doesn't it have? The sound is pure Indian, and songs are the most authentic. Acting, again, is top-notch, from leading actors to every minor character. The sets and locations give an authentic view of late 19th century India. All in all, a milestone in the annals of Indian Cinema, and one that has started to revive contemporary cinema, challenging the subpar standards of filmmaking that was the norm for so long.


Readers: If you have Lagaan-related stories you'd like to share, within context of the question in the title to this post, please add a comment! (I'm guessing it's one of those movies we all distinctly remember seeing, perhaps with specific people, or at a specific venue.)

33 comments:

Pushker Awasthi said...

Yes Nandita Das was the first choice of Aamir and he batted for her tooth and nail but Ashutosh Gowarikar was uncomfortable with it as she was too strong as far his vision was concern.My guess is that he wanted dame in dismal, not a girl who distract audience from histrionics's of Bhuvan.

Darshit said...

I am notorious for never being at a loss for words and emotions when it comes to my fondness of Lagaan

Purrrrfect !! You should put that in all of you profiles, bios and About Me s . You are way too deep in Lagaan, tBF. Thanks a lot as always, for such a great compilation of really well written views of various Bloggers.But where are the links of the original ones??

Nida said...

What a great idea! I really enjoyed reading all the different stories of how Lagaan has touched so many people in so many different ways.

A watchalong sounds like a great idea, Bollywood Fan!

Anu said...

What more can I say, that hasn't been said before, about this masterpiece called Lagaan? I saw Lagaan at the age of 12, back in 2001 with my family in a theatre. I remember how some discouraging rumours about this film were being floated around: it's too lengthy,the language is Avadhi,you can't understand the dialogues, who'd like to watch a film with the hero wearing a 'dhoti' in this modern era? ['new millenium' was the buzzword during those days you see].When I asked my parents to watch this film they expressed their doubts about the film being possibly dull & boring. But as I was an AK fan,plus my mama is a cricket buff,so we convinced them and we went together to watch Lagaan. Needless to say we enjoyed every moment of the film. It's this film that introduced me to cricket! The match in Lagaan is the first cricket match that I watched with interest.The film is a complete entertainer, has a lesson for all & is very inspirational.The scene where Bhuvan takes up the challenge and utters those iconic words "Sharat manzoor hai!" is one of the best scenes ever!The way Bhuvan accepts the challenge of this almost impossible task (of defeating the seasoned Brits in a cricket match) underlines the importance of taking up the challenge & being ready to fight for one's self respect.Another scene I like is the scene where Bhuvan touches Kachra who's an untouchable. I remember how we all clapped at the audacity displayed by Bhuvan here. The way a lone villager (Bhuvan) takes a stand against the mighty British,his struggle to form a team,uniting men from radically diverse backgrounds,how they put up the fight - it's all so inspirational!My mother always tells me to learn from Aamir's character in Lagaan since I tend to be quite pessimistic at times.Lagaan's another speciality is the way it portrays the problems of our society. It’s our own religion-caste-region based divisions & our selfish interests that made us so vulnerable.The same problems still exist.In the film too team-mates threaten to quit if the untouchable Kachra is to be included in the team, Lakha tries to sabotage the team due to his envy of Bhuvan.What sets this film apart is that it doesn't portray the establishment as totally negative .We were surprised to see a British lady help them learn the game & how even the British Umpire gave fair decisions during the match despite knowing that the Indian players were novices! The fact that the Brits conducted game in a fair manner shows the credibility on their part too.Even after the Indians winning the match the Brits could have denied them the promise of relief from tax.The music of this film was great too. The ways they play the match & utilize each member of the team are both humorous & clever.About the performances,so much has already been said in their praise that I can't add anything more here.Finally Aamir's the perfect actor & this is the perfect film. This film skyrocketed Aamir to a much higher league,ahead of all his contemporaries (& even some yesteryear stars). It made me admire Aamir even more.Thumbs up to the entire Lagaan team. As for us, we clapped & gushed throughout the film,kept discussing it several days after watching it & recommended it to everyone including those 'modern' colleagues (who had joked about the hero in a dhoti)! As the underdogs in the film,the film itself too rose above all the negative publicity & wrote a Golden chapter in the history of Indian cinema. The same naysayers have now honoured it as the Movie of the Decade @ IIFA this year! Truly 'Sach Aur Saahas hai jiske mann mein, anth mein jeet usiki rahe!' Congrats to all fans & to the Lagaan team for the 8th anniversary!

theBollywoodFan said...

Pushker: Thanks again for contributing to this post! I so agree with Ashutosh on this. I know Aamir and Nandita are very good friends. (And I like that Aamir let Ashutosh make the call.) They were great together in Earth (1999). She is a great actress, no doubt. But I don't think someone like her or Rani/Kajol would achieve what Gracy did in Radha Kaise Na Jale, for example. That was precise footwork!

Darshit: It's true! The thanks are in order for all the bloggers from the AK blog who contributed specifically to this post; without their time to writeups, there wouldn't be a post. I'll add that bit above for clarity.

Nida: Thank you. This really was Katherine's idea all along, so a big thank you to her again! I'll e-mail you very soon.

Anu: All great points! Thank you much for sharing! I'll return in a few to respond more specifically to what you've so wonderfully summarized.

Joanna said...

Katherine, Chekhov, Harita, Creekbeds and Pushker:
Thank you so much for sharing your Lagaan stories with us! It is so great to hear everyone’s accounts of how Lagaan touched their lives! What a gift!

Anu,
I loved your insights on how the establishment was given a relatively fair shake in the film. I was generally so focused on cheering Bhuvan and the gang and being in the “anti-colonialism/beat the British at their own game” mindset, I didn’t quite see it. Come to think of it, maybe the intention was to highlight the fact that (like the basis of most prejudices) it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the bunch.

Very insightful, thank you!

-Joanna

Joanna said...

Tabby!
I didn't mean to leave you off the list, by dear friend~

You put it so well; It's like Bhuvan was fighting for all of us!

Pushker Awasthi said...

Here I am again,to clarify something.In my original post I had written
"The sound is pure Indian and songs are the most authentic, one can get to hear, in fact lyrics, the ascent all creep in you without you feeling out of place."
I guess being an Indian I could appreciate much when spoken language is used authentically which goes with the location of the story.You see Hindi film industry is notorious when it come to depicting villagers communicating, they just don't care nor Indian public rejects it when you find villager of specific location communicate in the language which doesn't belong to them.Usually in movies a character from village be speaking in raped version of Hindi or Bhojpuri, which is only spoken in eastern part of my state,Uttar Pradesh or in Bihar state.But in LAGAAN all character spoke in AWADHI , which is the language being spoken in central part of India, the part I belong.Its spoken in larger part of central India with minor changes in ascent from one geographical location to other. Aamir Khan went all out for perfection even when words were to be spoken,Saluting the language been the biggest contribution of Lagaan,.Here I would like to mention the contribution of Shri K. P. Saxena who wrote authentic dialogues, he lives in my city Lucknow and Javed Akhtar who wrote timeless songs, he had his education in Lucknow, in making LAGAAN a classic.
Their association of Lucknow gave authenticity to their work.

theBollywoodFan said...

Anu: I'm back, and it's been hectic, so my apologies for the delayed response to your comment, which I very much enjoyed reading. It really does come down to self-respect and self-worth, that's a great point!

My mother always tells me to learn from Aamir's character in Lagaan since I tend to be quite pessimistic at times.

Are you saying you're like Gauri? :D Kidding, of course. That's good advice. For all the talk of Bhuvan being ideal, there's so much to learn from his character; completely agree with your mom.

I also liked your point about the problems internal to the Indian community that are a major obstacle to peace and collective progress. Rang De Basanti, I think, addressed that really well with respect to the current political situation in India.

Before Lagaan came along, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992) was my favorite Aamir film. (If you haven't seen it, I think you must!) I agree that Lagaan catapulted him to a league of his own in the eyes of the masses. He was always known to put maximum effort into every project before as well, but this, more than any other film, stands out as a shining example of his many talents.

Joanna: I hate to sound like a broken record, but thank you again for your help with this post! :)

theBollywoodFan said...

Pushker: Thank you for the info! Appreciate the clarification, and you're absolutely correct about the technical correctness of language, which is often overlooked. (In 'normal' cinema, our singers often confuse 'hai' for 'hain' and vice versa, and that's so basic!)

It seems Lagaan raised the bar and set new standards for filmmakers to aspire to, across the board. It even inspired me to watch a couple of Bhojpuri films!

I had no idea the dialogue writer is from Lucknow! That's great! The city has such a rich history with the languages and all of the arts, really...

Anu said...

@ theBollywoodFan

Thanks a lot! That comment got too lengthy and I spent more than an hour trying to make it more concise! But when it comes to Lagaan there's just so much to say! Not exactly like Gauri, but yeah, I wish I would be as gutsy as Bhuvan. I'm trying! :D

RDB is also another gem in Indian cinema. I remember the kind of impact it had on all of us... the film draws you in, with the first dialogue itself - Khoon abhi jo abhi na khaula, khoon nahin woh paani hai, Jo desh ke kaam na aaye...woh bekaar jawaani hai! [I hope I said it right.]

It's as if RDB shook us out of sleep! But then again, we can fill pages of blog posts and comments discussing RDB!

As for Jo Jeeta... well, I've lost count of the number of times I've seen this film! I love it! The only AK films I haven't seen are - Raakh, Holi, Jawani Zindabad, Isi Ka Naam Zindagi & Daulat Ki Jung. I haven't seen them on TV and haven't been able to find their DVDs. I guess I'll have to order them online...

@ Joanna

Thank you so much! This is one point that I really appreciate about Lagaan. The whole group isn't bad, they do have a sense of fairness and justice. The way the higher officials also took disciplinary action against Captain Russell spoke highly of the credibility on the part of the British.

Thanks again.

Krishnanand Mishra said...

Really, very few movies are made with so much authenticity and creativity! You know when I watched it very first time I was already aware of its grandeur because it was already the talk of the town, so I had literally tried to find a scene or segment or instant where one can question the brilliance at least, in slight sense.
And I was amazingly surprised to see how this is possible! I was astonished to see the extraordinary attention paid to each and every part of the movie! really epitomizes the meaningful cinema! One can easily give all adjectives to this excellent epic! A real emotionally and intellectually sound movie!
Ineffable representation! Salute to the guys like Aamir and Ashutosh who give the definition of what movie making is all about!

Anonymous said...

Hello Bollywoodfan and friends!

I already visited your blog and had no opportunity to write you how great it is. I don't know if this little comment will pass. I do quicly an attempt to see...
In any case, CONGRATULATIONS to you all!
Greeting from France
Jamila

gina said...

TBF,Joanna, Chekhov, creekbeds, haritas, Pushker, tabby, Katie, and tBF that is a wonderful idea. all those posts regarding everyone's experiences was really wonderful..

As for me I saw it with some cousins who were initially very sceptical of course about period film set in village, anti-British etc...but then once we got in there and started watching all enjoyed immensely and the atmosphere in the movie hall was electric, almost like a stadium with a live match going on...with every shot being loudly cheered and all the setbacks getting loud exclaims of dismay!! I have never seen an atmosphere like that for a movie before...and when they won...there were color paper (tickets torn up i suspect) and glitter thrown all over the movie hall...it was an experience I can never forget.

Another thing which has already been said of course is bhuvan getting kachra into the team..the young runner who helps out when aslam (hope i got the name right) is injured and cannot run but gets run out..for me the best part was the Deewan...how he at first writes them off and then grudgingly starts hoping they do well and then openly cheers for them. That to me somehow reflected some of the present day Indians and how we run down our country and feel bad about it until we get to hear and see it through an outsider's eyes and then we feel hey I didnt think of that!! and then now slowly now esp after the economic progress some of us are actually beginning to feel proud of our heritage, diversity,and our country in general. Lagaan to me signifies the underdog winning but also how they all got together despite differences and got the job done just like how the freedom struggle unified Indians to rise up against the British forgetting their petty differences and forged the foundation for a unified nation. just my two cents :-) thanks again for the wonderful post everyone.

Kristine said...

How wonderful to read so many interresting storys on Lagaan.

Lagaan was my first Indian movie ever. I saw it on the little screen and was glued to the screen. The beautifully shot nature, the picturesque village, the lovely characters, the wonderful music, the inspiring dances and cricket... what the hack is cricket...? Ok... That was then... I searched the net to find out more and voila... I got addicted. I bought books like "Spirit of Lagaan" and "Balham to Bollywood", the CD, finally got the great DVD-Anniversary-Box (which I had to buy thrice to get Chale Chalo in english - so much for dedication) and last but not least had the chance to see Lagaan in a cinema – an amazing experience...

Although I have to admit, that Rang de Basanti is my favourite movie, Lagaan ranks almost equal as the movie to me is almost perfect...

Take care
Kristine

shell said...

With all this incredibly insightful points of view, I feel I need to go back and rewatch this movie. I remember really liking it, rewinding and replaying 'Mitwa' over and over again trying to pretend we know how to dance!

Also, can anyone tell me what the pair of sticks that they dance with at the beginning of 'Radha Kaise Na Jale' are called. I'd like to buy a pair, and would like to ask for them with the proper name.

Aline Khan said...

Katie
What a brilliant idea to bring all these bloggers together to express how very special Lagaan is. Hats off to you for that idea!

Pushker
Interesting take on the accuracy of the language in the film. I had also read that Udit Narayan had been extremely at ease singing the songs in the soundtrack because he was very familiar with the awadhi dialect.

Gina Chekhov Haritas Creekbeds Tabby Kristine
Thanks for sharing such interesting journeys with the film!

Haritas
I definitely agree that Gracy, with her fresh and classic beauty, was the girl for the role.

Bhargav Saikia said...

This is brilliant! Enjoyed reading all the Lagaan-related posts thoroughly. It's my favourite film too :) (along with Swades of course)

Aline Khan said...

Shell
Hello. If I am not mistaken those are dandiya sticks.

theBollywoodFan said...

Anu: Awrright (on trying to be as gutsy as Bhuvan)! As we were saying here, all we must hope to expect from ourselves is that the best effort was delivered. As long as we know that, there will seldom be any regrets on the execution front.

There's some discussion on Rang De Basanti here and here. I can't wait to Raakh (thanks for the link from a couple days ago), and the only other one I haven't see is Holi. The rest are all available online, yes, but most of the others you mentioned aren't in his top tier of works. Jo Jeeta is fantastic, we'll have to discuss that some time.

Krishnanand: Welcome to the blog! Thank you for your comment. You raise a great point. I never would have thought that with every viewing of the film (and I'm sure we've seen it countless times over the last eight years), we've only liked it more, and we've only discovered more about it that we didn't know in the previous viewings. That is hardly a coincidence.

I also really like that point about it being so emotionally and intellectually stimulating. That's an extremely rare combination in commercially successful Hindi cinema (for better or for worse), but it's what Aamir seems to excel at when he wishes :) You might find this post interesting as well, I'd love to know what you think.

theBollywoodFan said...

Jamila in lovely France! Thank you for your visit and kind words. Congrats to you too, you Aamirian =)

Gina: Really glad you enjoyed the writeups. I really enjoyed yours! In which city/country did you see the film? I saw the match with a rather unexciting crowd in a theater in South Florida (I think many were just awed by what was going on, probably the first time consuming cricket for many, in which case it might not be fair to complain, but still). I can't imagine what it must be like to watch it with all those people involved in the match. The closest I came to it was watching with a group of people at home. The ambiance to even the home theater is exactly what it is like when we watch a real cricket match. There are the crowds, the announcers, the huddles, the appeals...so cool, na?

That player who got injured and needed a runner was Ismail (more on the team here). (Aslam is a good name -- remember Kunal Kapoor in Rang De Basanti?)

now esp after the economic progress some of us are actually beginning to feel proud of our heritage, diversity,and our country in general.

This is true, but I've always loved that the average person of and in India is more patriotic than that of many, many other countries. The part with the diversity, I'm afraid, seems to have been the biggest obstacle to peace. And before I refer to Rang De Basanti again, I'd better stop, LOL. Hope for the best. :)

theBollywoodFan said...

Kristine: Thanks for your take! I've said before that Lagaan singlehandedly brought me back to Indian cinema. How is 'Balham to Bollywood'? And some copies of the DVD set have Chale Chalo in English? And that's it, I'm petitioning the film festivals here to screen Lagaan :)

Shell: I'd love to hear your take after a rewatch. I've always been an ideal audience for filmmakers, leaving myself open to manipulation and giving the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt. This film, though, is such fun regardless of ones style of film viewing!

Aline's said it below, those are 'dandiyas'. Here's an immensely popular old school track starring the hottest couple in the history of Hindi film -- that would be Aamir and Juhi :) -- at it with dandiyas! From the film Love Love Love. Good luck finding the dandiyas! There are some really good and fancy ones, and they should be readily available in any region with a decent-sized Indian population.

Bhargav: Thanks!

Pushker Awasthi said...

Aline

You have heard correctly, Awadhi is very nearer to Hindi so majority Hindi speaking people are at ease with it.In fact Hindi originated or developed from Awadhi.Never get confused it with Bhojpuri,which is different.

theBollywoodFan said...

That's an interesting point, Pushker. Given my limited knowledge on those languages in particular, would it be fair to say that Bhojpuri is closer to Awadhi than it is to Hindi? Is there a pure 'Awadhi' film industry?

Kristine said...

@ theBollywoodFan

Balham to Bollywood (by Chris England) is a lot of fun to read. He writes very authentic and it feels like he is telling a (weird) story to you. He comments on everything.... What his reaction was after the casting, the reaction of friends and of the guy in the shop who sold him bootlegs of several Aamir-Movies which he wanted to watch to know more about the guy (he got Mela and made it to the "beer" scene). He also writes about Bhuj, the filming, the actors on and off the sets and a lot about cricket... :-)

And yes, there are some box-sets that contain not only the movie and Chale Chalo in Hindi but also Chale Chalo in english. And those two versions are not the same... They exchanged several scenes... And both versions are worth buying...

Take care
Kristine

Pushker Awasthi said...

theBollywoodFan

Yes Bhojpuri is more nearer to Awadhi as both are old spoken language of Central India. These language where spoken by all of the now Hindi Speaking area.In late 19th century Hindi evolved from Awadhi and Urdu, which was spoken by elite of the society.Hindi was written in DevaNagri font which was traditional font used by the majority of literate population of India, later it was accepted by the common man.Now Awadhi is only spoken in villages.
There is no Awadhi Film Industry only her Younger sister Hindi made it good which replaced Awadhi.
As far Bhojpuri is concern, this spoken language was kept alived by their people as that population was very poor and they migrated a lot since the period of British rule. They been the people who mostly been shipped to far off mainly to West Indies,Mauritius,Fiji & African Continent trickily by the British as cheap labors to work in plantation. They never thought that they wont be coming back ever, so the Bhojpuri their language and folks song of it remain their only focal point of being a distinctive individual ethnic group.They fiercely protected their language as that was the only link they had of their mother land.I know Bojpuri and I have communicated with people who's forefathers left more than 100 years ago their mother land now living in adopted countries but let me tell you they speak most authentic Bhojpuri, such was the pride for their language and they still let it live.

theBollywoodFan said...

Kristine: Thanks for those notes. I must get the book, and soon! I need to look into where I can get the box set with Chale Chalo in English as well. When I bought my set, I had to get it from someone selling it at Amazon, because LagaanDVD.com wasn't shipping to the U.S. at the time. If you have any specific suggestions, do let me know. And thank you once again!

Pusher: Thank you! Such good information! And it's always good when a community takes pride in and try to protect their cultural elements.

Cheers!

Krishnanand Mishra said...

Thanks for the link, theBollywoodFan though I read it when you posted it, I think! And I read it again yesterday.
Bhai...kya kahoon tumhare baare mein to! Mahaan ho! ;-)
What can I say about you, Boss! I really admire your eloquence!Amazing post with tremendous insight into the entertainment values and elements of human expressions!
That's why I said if one wants to use one's brain only for this movie, go ahead, try it! The brain would feel tempt to say what a masterpiece it is! Even Aamir mightn't have thought that he is going to create such an epic, but surely when one follows one's heart with immnese love and honesty, such things are just bound to happen!
By the way, I would mention this here too(already expressed on Darshit's blog ;-) ) that I am one of those non-bloggers who are well aware of this "bollywood fans gang" ;-) including you, Darshit, Pitu, Sitaji, Bhargav, Nida and many more! :)
and I must say you guys have really got the ability to visualize Cinema in its vary art form! Keep going!

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you for all your kind words, Krishnanand, although I hardly deserve the 'mahaan' comment. :)

...but surely when one follows one's heart with immnese love and honesty, such things are just bound to happen!

Words of Aristotle: We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

I think a big part of the reason for Aamir's success, this decade in particular, has been that he's pursued excellence and relied on success to follow. That's a fine management philosophy, I guess, but it's worked. With his work ethic, he's ensured that he does justice to his work, and that's all one can expect from the self. I so agree with your comment!

Each of the Bollywood bloggers you've mentioned is such fun to be collaborating with! Someone a few days ago was saying we're almost like an extended family :) And it's always fun to discuss what's closer to life, as films are.

Cheers!

Kristine said...

Some time ago we "talked" about Balham to Bollywood. I brought my book along and if it is ok I like to share a few sentences, Chris England wrote:

Part 1

"At this point, I should admit, I knew very little about Bollywood, about Aamir Khan, or about India altogether. I'd seen the occasional glimpse of Bollywood movies here and there. Occasionally Barry Norman would have mentioned or shown a clip from one, and I knew, from the thriving Indian video store at the end of the road, that there was a market in this country. Vast numbers of videos were on display in this little shop, the boxes of which all seemed to feature an impossibly beautiful and highly decorated girl and a slick-looking individual with a floppy quiff. I quickly discovered that Mr. Khan's fame had spread to these shores, though, and no mistake, Susan, my wife, told an Indian friend of hers at work that I was going to be in a Bollywood film. 'Oh really?' the friend replied, mildly interested. 'Who is the star?' Susan shrugged, and said 'He's called Aamir Khan, something like that...' Whereupon her friend let out a scream as though she'd just seen a Bay City Roller. I'm talking twenty-five years ago, obviously. Nowadays catching a sight of Les McKeown or Derek Longmuir provokes quite different sort of scream....."

Kristine said...

Part 2:

Chris England went to a shop to buy some films with Aamir:

"'Which is the best one?' I asked. 'All very good,' he offered, helpfully. Oh well. I picked a couple more or less at random. Mann and Mela, they were called, and I hoped they would show me what Aamir Khan was all about. I bade the video shop man good day, and left him to recover his composure, poor chap. Later that evening Susan and I stuck the tape in and gave Mela a go. I recognised Aamir from the soft-focus publicit shots on his fan club's website. All I could say after watching a bit of Mela was that if he was the naturalistic one, then the rest of Bollywood must be populated with hams that would give Messrs Sinden and Callow a run for their money..."

One of my favourite part is his lines on head wobbling:

"It can be used to express almost anything. So far, I am pretty certain I have seen the head wobble mean the following things:

- I'm sorry, I don't understand you.
- I do understand you but I am pretending not to.
- I understand why you are becoming frustrated with me, and I sympathise.
- I have made a mistake, I admit it, please leave me alone.
- That's right.
- That's absolutely right.
- You think you are right but I know you are wrong,. I'm just not going to say anything.
- You are a very amusing fellow.
- You clearly imagine that you are a very amusing fellow.
- No, I haven't yet done the thing you asked me to do, and I'm not going to do it either.
- Yes, I know where that is.
- Yes, I agree the price you suggest.
- Yes, I know I agreed the price earlier, but now the price is different, and there's nothing I can do.
- The whole thing is out of my hands.
- I know, Amin does go on a bit, but what can I do?
- Yes, it's free, go ahead and use it.
- Thank you, it's very kind of you to say so.
- You're welcome.
- You're very welcome.
- You have my utter comtempt, you pale white tea-drinking buffon.

I wonder whether it might be possible to get two Indian actors to conduct an entire conversation where the two of them just wobble heads at each other, and they each understand perfectly what the other is getting at."

shell said...

Kristine, omg, that is too funny. I can totally picture it in my mind too. What is the name of the book? Belham to Bollywood? It sounds like a great read. Thanks for sharing with all of us!

theBollywoodFan said...

Hi Kristine, and as Shell said, thank you so much for sharing this! I need to get Balham to Bollywood as soon as possible, that's it. Sounds like it's quite entertaining :)

That's so interesting that Chris E. ended up with Mann (1999) and Mela (2000). The latter is probably among the worse misses of Aamir's career! Of course, there's a silver lining to it. He hasn't had a movie miss since, and it's been nine years!

And I've had people tell me about the 'head wobble', maybe I've been too oblivious to it all (I wonder why, LOL). I wonder if England ever saw 'Andaz Apna Apna', since his question on the power of the head wobbles (to communicate without speech) is aptly answered in it!

Cheers. And thanks again!