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Lagaan: Once Upon A Time in India

 

Lagaan: Once Upon A Time In India

 

The Season of Flowers will Also Come

As the parched earth waits for the rain, the village girl Gauri (Gracie Singh) waits for the young village farmer Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) to discover her heart. Together they fight for freedom from tyranny as Gauri encourages Bhuvan in his quest to take on the most important challenge of his life.

This is a story of triumph over oppression. A story of how the human spirit rises to new heights to overcome injustice. The plot is uncomplicated, which leaves room for fascinating choreography, discussions of cultural issues and moments of pure abandon. The dance sequences tell stories only dance can tell. It brings together the thoughts and feelings of the characters and creates a sacred space where the characters enter the realm of spirit.

Set in the 1890s, the residents of a small farming village in rustic Gujarat, India are waiting for the monsoon when they discover they will now have to pay twice the amount of lagaan (agricultural tax) they normally have to pay. With just enough food to survive they are literally going to have to fight to survive.

Captain Russel (Paul Blackthorne) almost overplays his part as the colonial officer (of the cantonment which rules over the neighboring villages) to emphasize the absolute absurdity of the situation. He demands complete obedience with no regard to the human suffering his laws will produce. He challenges Bhuvan to a game, knowing he has never played Cricket. If the village loses, they must pay triple the tax (lagaan). Bhuvan must not only gain the support of the terrified villagers, he must rally a team and train them within a few months.

It is completely unfair and the officerís sister, Elizabeth (Rachel Shelley), takes pity on the farmers. Against her brotherís will, she starts teaching the villagers how to play the game of Cricket. In the process she falls in love with Bhuvan. It is a shallow love at best. While she is beautiful, Gauri is completely captivating in her complete innocence. Gauriís jealousy over Bhuvanís attentions towards Elizabeth is spectacularly portrayed in dance.  

The sweeping cinematography creates a magical ambiance and seems to invoke a certain unity of purpose. The delicious wide shots are sumptuously filmed, completely captivating your entire being. This movie will hold your complete attention, even through the Cricket scenes. One you fall in love with Gauri and Bhuvan, you rally to their cause and the sheer tension of the moments during the Cricket games keeps you completely entranced.  

The love story is exotic, the choreography like you have never seen, the songs are intoxicatingly beautiful with poetic lyrics. Iíve never imagined anyone could combine so many elements into one movie. Sports and a musical? It is amazing how Ashutosh Gowariker knows how to appeal to the human heart in such a way as to combine a musical, political drama, universal emotions, poetry, community culture, romance, dance, artistic cinematography, patriotism and the brute strength of valor.

A movie that emerges slowly and works its way into your heart. First peeking out of the ground and then bursting into full bloom in moments of sheer beauty that will take your breath away right up to the exciting climax.

Story Telling at its Finest!

 

 

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