The people of a small village in Victorian India stake their future on a game of cricket against their ruthless British rulers.
Lagaan (English: Taxation), released internationally as Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, is a 2001 Indian historical epic sports drama film, written & directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, produced by Aamir Khan. Aamir Khan stars along with debutant Gracy Singh, with British actors Rachel Shelley and Paul Blackthorne playing supporting roles. Made on a then-unprecedented budgetof ₹250 million (US$5.32 million), the film was shot in an ancient village near Bhuj, India. The film script has a minor resemblance to the World War movie Victory (titled Escape to Victory in Europe)
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 narrative spins around this situation as the villagers face the arduous task of learning the alien game and playing for a result that will change their village’s destiny.
Lagaan received critical acclaim and awards at international film festivals, as well as many Indian film awards. It became the third Indian film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film afterMother India (1957) and Salaam Bombay! (1988).
Aamir Khan is an Indian actor, producer, director and television personality. Khan first appeared on screen at the age of eight in a minor role in his uncle Nasir Hussain‘s film Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973). In 1983, he acted in and worked as an assistant director on Paranoia, a short film directed by Aditya Bhattacharya,following which he assisted Hussain on two of his directorial ventures—Manzil Manzil(1984) and Zabardast (1985). As an adult, Khan’s first acting project was a brief role in the 1984 experimental social drama Holi.
Khan’s first leading role came opposite Juhi Chawla in the highly successful tragic romance Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988). His performance in the film and in the thriller Raakh (1989) earned him a National Film Award – Special Mention. He went on to establish himself with roles in several lucrative films of the 1990s, including the romantic drama Dil (1990), the comedy-drama Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993), and the ₹871 million (about US$24.5 million in 1996)[I]-grossing romance Raja Hindustani (1996). He also played against type in the Deepa Mehta-directedCanadian-Indian co-production Earth (1998). In 1999, Khan launched a production company, Aamir Khan Productions, whose first release Lagaan (2001) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and earned him the National Film Award for Best Popular Film. Also in 2001, he starred alongside Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna in the acclaimed drama Dil Chahta Hai. Lagaan and Dil Chahta Hai are cited in the media as defining films of Hindi cinema. After a four-year hiatus, Khan portrayed the eponymous lead in Mangal Pandey: The Rising (2005), a period film that underperformed at the box office, after which he played leading roles in two top-grossing films of 2006—Fanaa and Rang De Basanti.
Khan made his directorial debut with Taare Zameen Par in 2007, a drama on dyslexia starring Darsheel Safary, in which Khan also played a supporting role. The film proved to be a critical and commercial success, winning him the National Film Award for Best Film on Family Welfare. Khan played a man suffering from anterograde amnesia in the 2008 thriller Ghajini, after which he portrayed an engineering student in the comedy-drama 3 Idiots (2009), and a reclusive artist in the drama Dhobi Ghat (2010), which he also produced. Further success came when he played the antagonist of the adventure film Dhoom 3 (2013) and starred as the titular alien in the ₹7.4 billion (US$110 million)-grossing satire PK (2014). In 2016, Khan played the father of two young female wrestlers in the sports biopic Dangal, which earned over ₹20 billion (US$290 million) worldwide. Five of Khan’s films—Ghajini, 3 Idiots, Dhoom 3, PK, and Dangal— have held records for being the highest-grossing Indian film of all time. In addition to acting in films, Khan has developed and featured as the host of the television talk show Satyamev Jayate (2012–14).