I had a really tough time getting my hands on this film! After months of searching online, the only place I found it was on Nehaflix, but it was horribly overpriced. The owner of my local Indian grocery store told me the publisher recently went out of business, resulting in Lagaan becoming scare and quite expensive.
Then, one day, lo and behold, my friend takes me to some random and tiny (but very cool) video shop on Milwaukee's East side...and they actually have it!! I couldn't contain my excitement. I almost broke into a song and dance right in the video store, but since my friend (who I haven't converted into a Bollywood fan yet) visits this store quite frequently, I maintained my composure and paid for an overnight rental instead.
Was Lagaan worth all the hype and drama I'd created around it? Probably, but I didn't actually love it. But that's okay. It's okay because there were still some great things in the film, and I only paid $3 to rent it(as opposed to $130 to purchase it online).
I guess I'm just not a "sports movie" kind of gal, but that's not to say I was disappointed with the lengthy cricket game in the second half. In fact, I probably enjoyed that part of the film more than I did the first half. It was in those scenes where I finally "connected" with Lagaan, when I found myself falling for the characters, moved by the film's beautiful story of teamwork, really wanting them to come to victory. Ok, so if this is what makes a great sports film (and I would think that it does), then Lagaan definitely makes the mark.
While it succeeded most in telling a story of friendship and unity amongst villagers, I found the romance in the film a bit dull, a disappointment since the three characters on the cover had me thinking we were going to get a juicy love triangle. Although it's possible the film was trying to do just that while everything else was going on, it just didn't quite work for me in that respect. I did appreciate the writer throwing some romance in...it just didn't move me all that much (I loved Gracy Singh, though. She was the cutest!).
Aamir Khan continues to impress me with his performances...this is only the third film I've seen him in, and I'm already in awe of the man. He says so much with his expressions alone, never over the top. The only problem with his role in Lagaan was that I didn't get much about who his character really was, but I guess that was because the writer was trying to tell the story of an entire village coming together, not just Bhuvan's piece in it. So whatever. I just want more Aamir!!
As I mentioned above, the movie's true strength lies in its touching tale of teamwork. Even as things turn sour when one of the villagers betrays his fellow teammates, Lagaan chooses forgiveness instead of spite, giving us another character to root for in the end instead of a villain.
It's those little things that made Lagaan special for me. I'm definitely glad I got to see it, as it's quite different from the typical Bollywood formula, and my curiosity was killing me. Knowing the lengths I go to for Bollywood, I might have paid the $130 had I not found it at the video store (and this post wouldn't have sounded quite so cheery)! Now there's a scary thought...
Text © Copyright 2008 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood
From ‘Brazil’ by Michael Palin
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