Lagaan Movie Review


Audrey Boissonneault, Writer

After launching on June 15th, 2001, the musical Lagaan took off in the movie industry. Popular Bollywood director and actor Aamir Khan participated in the production of Lagaan, which led to a tremendous spotlight for the movie. After 20 years, Netflix decided to air Lagaan on their platform making it accessible to anyone with a subscription.

The story takes place in 1893 India, where a British captain by the name of Paul Blackthorne has taken up station. There, he takes advantage of the situation and puts calamitous taxes upon the people of the area. A member of the taxed population, Bhuvan, rallies against this new decree and testifies against the captain’s inhumane mandate. Blackthorne retaliates against this and challenges Bhuvan and his supporters to a game of cricket in exchange for years without taxation. Determined to free the province from cruelty, Bhuvan takes the challenge and sets off to create a team.

Lagaan provides a perfect example of how to excite your audience while keeping things believable. Throughout the movie, the feeling of suspense dawns in on key moments where tension rises. The princess’s routine of feeding information to Bhuvan, Lakha’s decision of trust or betrayal, and the last hit of cricket all create a tense atmosphere that enthralls the watcher’s attention. 

Lagaan also does an amazing job when it comes to the musical arts. The soundtrack grossed 3.5 million records within its first year of release and only grew with time. The traditional Indian instruments and dances along with the voices of those involved create a fantasy-like feeling in the body. Layers of work and dedication made this possible, with each song on the soundtrack having its own personalized style. All of these styles portray the feelings of the characters, helping the audience feel their pain or glee through the sound they hear.

To me, Bollywood perfected the film. As a young kid around 8, I would always turn this on my Mimi’s TV after a long day of school. Although, elementary does not come close to high school, I still derive comfort from the sounds and aesthetic of Lagaan. Everything about this movie radiates a stress-free time. The conflict within it does not give off an uncomfortable feeling of dread, the few romantic moments show well executed scenes, and the movie spans around 4 hours delivering a long and pleasurable experience. All of this combined makes a movie worth watching.