Posted by: nickysmith | November 5, 2009

Lagaan: A Great Film ie The Indian “The Longest Yard” or “8 Mile” or the 1,000 other films with this same basic plot


Let me remind you all of one thing: this is not a game we are playing for fun and entertainment – this is a fight we must win.

– Bhuvan

I first read about this film in my friend Marcos’s book on “films you need to see before you die and to talk with people who watch films” book (not exact title). It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for India, but it should have won for best song as I now know how to say such helpful words as “tax” and phrases as the command “walk ahead” and the comforting “oh friend, oh friend: don’t be afraid, we have the sky, we have the land” in Hindi”.

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India is a fictional tale (but it could have happened or did it…) about a a bunch of villagers that are upset with the new taxes or lagaans. It takes place in the late 19th century where the British Empire ruled India. The British soldiers challenge the villagers to a game of cricket to see if they will pay taxes or not.

Some random thoughts/stories from it:

  • There’s a song about the deity Krishna, and my roommate told me that Krishna runs around messing with women and stealing their clothes when they shower or taking butter from their house, generally teasing them. There’s a saying today with young boys where they ask, “If Krishna does it, it’s fine but when we do it, it’s not! We’re just following god.”
  • Great scene where villagers dance outside in their town to the theme and then the theme is Europeanized for the British soldiers to dance in the old Indian temple they occupy
  • Other than women, everyone is involved: a Sikh, a Muslim, an Untouchable (lowest caste, he’s crippled), but hey the women pray, and in the thousands of cricket games I’ve seen people playing on the streets here I have yet to see a woman playing
  • The main actor looked a lot like Eminem to me and reminded me of 8 Mile where Eminem overcomes the British by using the foreign (in the sense he’s white and sucks at rapping) medium of hip-hop (I think that’s what the film is driving at but I never saw it)

The way he is - Eminem in a scene from his semi-autobiographical film, 8 Mile. I still think they look the same.



  1. Ha ha, ya it was great fun. Why did you not mention that you “LEARNED” a song of the movie too?
    O mitwa O mitwa… tujhkooo kyaaaaa darrrrr hai re! 🙂

    • Ha I know I need to practice

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