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25th
AUG

Lagaan

Posted by Player under Foreign

LagaanLagaan: The Musical Cricket Saga

Lagaan is the word given for the tax which villages in India had to pay the British colonial army, during its occupation. It is also the title of this foreign film. Let me just say, that if you have never seen or heard of India’s long standing tradition of film, you might want to make this movie your first introduction to the musical and colorful world of Indian films. Most younger Americans think of Disney when hearing the word Musical, but in fact America has a long tradition of musicals, and so if you don’t like musicals don’t watch Indian films, cause Lagaan and other Indian films are about music and dance, singing and celebrating.

The plot is pretty simple, the evil British captain dares a daring villager to play him in a game of cricket (the most boring sport of all time). If the “darkies” beat his British team, he will forgive them their lagaan for a full 3 years. Since it has not rained at all, the village is starving and cannot afford to pay the tax, so Buvan, the lead Indian villager accepts the challenge and then has to convince his village that they can win, then train them, then play the game. In between there is a love triangle between Buvan and Ghauri (the Indian hottie), and Elizabeth (the uptight but caring British hottie). They both want Buvan, but they will have to wait for the game of Cricket is all that matters now to Buvan.

The film has excellent color and very little noise in the video can be seen. The audio side is in digital surround, but this movie takes very little advantage of. The only audio track is in the native language with English or French subtitles. There is some English spoken in the movie by the British actors, so you can follow along sometimes without subtitles.

This is probably the longest movie I’ve ever watched recently. It seemed like it took 4 hours. Every time I thought it was done, they started to sing again and dance. The women have very high pitched voices, so definitely you have to get into the songs. The cricket game takes place in the second part of the movie and it is longer than most baseball games I’ve seen!

In the end I learned a lot about Indian film, native story telling, and of course why I hate cricket and most British people who play it. It is rather surprising that Ted Koppel, a native Englishman, hates baseball, but comes from a country that can play such a long and boring game as cricket.

3 out 5 stars

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