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Description: Lagaan (English: Taxation), released internationally as Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, is a 2001 Indian historical epic sports drama film, written & directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, produced by Aamir Khan. Aamir Khan stars along with debutant Gracy Singh, with British actors Rachel Shelley and Paul Blackthorne playing supporting roles. Made on a then-unprecedented budget of ₹250 million (US$5.32 million), the film was shot in an ancient village near Bhuj, India. The film script has a minor resemblance to the World War movie Victory (titled Escape to Victory in Europe) The film is set in the Victorian period of India’s colonial British Raj. The story revolves around a small village whose inhabitants, burdened by high taxes, find themselves in an extraordinary situation as an arrogant officer challenges them to a game of cricket as a wager to avoid the taxes. The narrative spins around this situation as the villagers face the arduous task of learning the alien game and playing for a result that will change their village’s destiny.
Lagaan received critical acclaim and awards at international film festivals, as well as many Indian film awards. It became the third Indian film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film after Mother India (1957) and Salaam Bombay! (1988). Plot: Bhuvan begins to prepare the villagers for the match. He initially finds only five people willing to join the team. He is aided in his efforts by Russell’s sister Elizabeth, who feels that her brother mistreated the villagers. As she teaches them the rules of the game, she falls in love with Bhuvan, much to the anguish of Gauri, who is also in love with him. After Bhuvan reciprocates Gauri’s feelings, the woodcutter Lakha, who is in love with Gauri, grows jealous of Bhuvan and becomes a spy for Russell. He orders Lakha to join the villagers’ team but not contribute in any way. Eventually, the villagers realise that winning equals freedom and one by one, they join the team. Short one player, Bhuvan invites an untouchable, Kachra, who can bowl spin. The villagers, conditioned by long-term prejudice against Dalits, refuse to play if Kachra joins the team. Bhuvan chastises the villagers and convinces them to accept Kachra. On the first day, Russell wins the toss and elects to bat, giving the British officers a strong start. Bhuvan brings Kachra to bowl
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