Sunday, 30 December 2007

Lagaan - An Epic Movie

Lagaan, an epic movie, of Hindi Film Industry. I still remember that day when the film was released. It was released on the same day when I got my 12th examination results.

I first read an article on Lagaan in Screen, a tabloid. Initially I was very skeptical about the success of this movie. Will this be a box-office hit? Will Aamir overcome the odds and make the movie a success? I personally felt the movie will be a disaster as Indians really don't like these kind of movies. Instead, we like a guy who falls in love with a girl who is already engaged to another third party with romantic songs being videoed on main leads of the movie. However, I was thinking as an ardent fan of Mr. Perfect, Aamir Khan.

Lagaan, a movie, storied on the backdrop of British Raj in India. It's not a movie on freedom struggle. Instead, it is a movie against the atrocities of British rule in India. It's a movie to show how a united front with an efficient leader can win against the rule of imperialists. It's a motion picture which shows how an opportunity should be utilized to fulfill the dream of a person in specific and society in general.

In short, this is the story of this movie:

Champaner, a drought-hit village, is ruled officially by a Saamantha Raja and virtually under the rule of British Raj; The Raja has been ruled and ridiculed by a captain of the Cantonment situated in the princely state of Rajgharh. This arrogant Captain orders an insane deal to pay the double tax ("Dugna Lagaan") as the Raja of this province rejects to eat the non-vegetarian food offered by Captain's sister. The saga of this movie continues to show how a village represented by an unskilled cricket team revolts against this and comes over a "ridicule" order.

A movie begins with an old woman who supposed to be a mother of the male lead character serving water for the cattle cursing the nature of God.

Bhuvan, an unproven leader still, male lead, of the movie secretly roaming in the forest to protect the innocent animals being targeted as the "Shikars" of Captain Russell's "Shikari" program. Bhuvan distracts the deers that are being targeted by Captain by diverging them from the place with help of stones cunningly. However, it will be identified by the subordinate of the inhuman Captain. With the gun pointed at Bhuvan's head, Captain mercilessly kills deer. This is the moment where we have to see the eyes of Bhuvan which are moist and I am imagining how Aamir enacted on to the screen. He is brilliant and hats-off to both Aamir and Ashu for coming up with this scene to make sure that audience know how cruel the Captain is and to show how is the leader of the movie. I am sure most of the people will start to hate the Captain instantly after this scene. This was the harsh reality of imperialism existed under British Raj in India.

An irrational, illogical and impractical order of double tax from the Captain creates a dogmatic situation for the farmers who are eagerly waiting for rain so that they can survive. This order from Captain made the farmers survival more difficult. The mukhia takes a delegation to meet the Raja and delegation includes Bhuvan as well.

The Captain is playing the cricket match with the presence of his majesty, Rajah Hari Singh and other dignitaries. This delays and frustrates the meeting between the disdained farmers and the king. At last after the match, the Rajah calls for the meeting with farmers. Farmers put forward their request of reducing the double tax order. However king rejects its straight away and asks the farmers to pay the double tax.

However, the cunning Captain embarrasses the Rajah by telling the farmers a possibility of abolishing the double tax order. Farmers are overwhelmed with this option and asks for the deal. However Bhuvan looks skeptical about the offer that Captain is opting for.

I would say this is the best scene in the movie. Acting is top-class. Aamir did a wonderful job and so director Ashu. I would like to admire music score here in this scene. The background score from A R Rahman is too good to the scene.

Coming to the scene of the movie, Captain offers a deal to win a cricket match against British team and the double tax will be abolished for the current year. Captain orders Bhuvan as the sole decider in the delegation to take the decision on the deal. Now, Bhuvan is the person who can make or break the raw deal.

The camera is on Aamir who looks curious and shocked a bit. Though he looks firm he is hesitant to say "YES" to the deal. After a pause, Captain offers a better deal of abolishing the tax for next year too. However, Aamir does not seem to be interested and the "dead" silence continues. On the other side farmers are scared and they are totally against as it is apparent that they cannot win over the British Cricket force. But still Bhuvan has not turned down the offer. Captain now converts the deal to a gamble by offering the deal which will abolish the tax for three years to not only to this village but to the entire province.

Now, Bhuvan is perturbed with this offer. He with a long pause accepts the deal. He says "Sarath Manjoor Hai". Captain gives a sarcastic smile and orders that match will be held in next three months.

I again say this is the best scene in this movie. Aamir acts with his eyes and face. Direction is just too good. Background score simply awesome. The conversation between the Captain and Bhuvan is awestruck.

The people who are seeing the drama are shell shocked with this and farmers take coup against him and as usual starts blame against Bhuvan.

The entire village is against him and starts cursing him. The blames are from people of village ranging from an age old man to a very common man in the village. But, Bhuvan is firm and he defends his act as this is an mauka a.k.a opportunity to get out of the tax that is put on them. He confirms that people are not in any position to pay the double tax and so villagers can use this an opportunity to evade the tax for themselves. He thinks this as blessing in disguise for village. However farmers in the village are against as they say this as suicidal deal. Farmers from other villages threaten Bhuvan to beg the pardon at Rajah and Captain. But Bhuvan decides not do so. Hence the farmers takes another delegation to Rajah. In the palace, in presence of Rajah also Bhuvan does not bog down and accepts severe punishment for this. Rajah rejects the farmers request and orders to learn Cricket and defeat the Captain's cricket army.

On the other hand, British provincial heads are furious against such foolish order of abolishing the tax with a cricket match. They give a warning to Captain and gives the order to pay the tax from his own pocket if village defeats them in the match.

Bhuvan, now transformed leader, starts to behave like a leader. He creates an illusion among the people and explains the benefits of the deal if they beat Captain in the battle of game. He accumulates the people slowly to make a cricket team among them.

Napoleon says "A leader is a dealer in hope". Bhuvan does all the magic to make sure he has team which can provide a lethal blow to Captain and his pride. He starts with himself alone as the member of the team along with his lady love in his side. He gets the help from a British lady Elizabeth, sister of Captain as she thinks this deal is unfair and harsh to farmers.

This is another incidence which I personally liked and shows how a leader should take firm and practical decisions some time. This is the scene where Bhuvan and his team is searching for a 11th member in the team.

There is one untouchable who's job is clean the roads, gutters and drainage system. According to Hindus he is Achyute, an untouchable who belongs to a lower strata of society in accordance with existing caste system. During practice, ball goes at him and Bhuvan asks him to return. He returns and ball spins away from Bhuvan. Since that guy is handicapped, ball turns away. Bhuvan picks him as team member because of his uniqueness in spinning the ball. However since he is boycotted socially from upper class, every other team member rejects this selection and quits the team. However Bhuvan who shows real leadership skill in taking crucial decision of picking this untouchable into the squad. Bhuvan says this guy will be played and he will be our main weapon against the Angrez team.

I think this scene has got lots of messages. This scene shows how a leader should make a bold decision at the when it's needed. This gives how talent overtakes other aspects of person. Also, it gives a message to respect the person irrespective of the color of the skin of the people.

At the end, Farmers XI is ready to take the battle of cricket against the British cricket team lead by Captain Russell.

The Cricket match is picturized very well. This match had all modern day masala. It has match-fixing as one of the prominent actions of the match. Finally Champaner XI wins the match. However I am not going to write much about the match details and match result. This has to be seen on screen. I am sure those who watched this have enjoyed it like a good real cricket happening live.

The victory brings a joy and Bhuvan becomes a hero in the province. The promises he had made before three months can be fulfilled now. On the other hand, Captain ends up in paying the tax of the entire province from his own pocket and leaves for East Africa. Finally the pride of the Captain is demolished. While he leaves for East Afrcia, it rains in Champner which can be considered as blessings for moral victory that farmers against a team led by inhuman human.

In the end, I can say this is the best movie made after Sholay till now. For me overall it is a cult classic. At least for now, it stands in second position among top 10 movies of Hindi Cinema. This movie, which is depicted against the British without having any link to our freedom movement, yet this movie cheers with Indian nationality with a mere cricket match. Though it's a periodic movie, it has great sense of modernization in it's display and thinking. I feel the character Bhuvan thinks far ahead of his people and some times better than our current leaders. It gives a message of how leader evolves in a group. It gives how a leader should behave when you are placed in corner. It has message to the society to co-exist together to face the situation which is beyond the scope of a single man/woman.

1 comment:

Satish Kadagodu said...

Hi Aravind,

You have created an excellent presentation of the facts about the movie. The expression of your love towardst the movie and Aamir is fantastic.......