Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India

Synopsis: This is the story about the resilience shown by the Indians when they were under the British Rule. They are already taxed to the bone by the British and their cronies, but when Jack Russell announces that he will double the Lagaan (tax) from all villagers, they decide to oppose it. Leading the villagers is a handsome young man named Bhuvan, who challenges them to a game of cricket, a game that is to be played by veteran British cricket players, versus villagers, including Bhuvan himself, who have never played this game before, and do not even know a bat from a piece of wood. As the challenge is accepted, the interest grows and attracts Indians from all over the region, as well as the British from all over the country - as everyone gathers to see the 'fair play' that the British will display against their counter-parts, who are aided by none other than the sister, Elizabeth, of Captain Rusell.
Director(s): Ashutosh Gowariker
Production: B4U Entertainment
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 44 wins & 19 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
224 min

The year is 1893.


A small village in the heart

of India.

The people of Champaner

depended on agriculture... those in thousands

of other villages.

A British Cantonment bordered

the village.

Two miles south,

beyond the Cantonment...

...was the fort of the Raja

of this province.

The British protected

the Raja's domain from attacks... neighbouring rulers.

They also promised the other Rajas

protection from this Raja!

Thanks to this double-dealing,

the British collected a tax...

...from the Rajas - which was paid

by every farmer in the country.


The submission of a portion of

the farmer's harvest... the Raja as tax.

Every Raja collected Lagaan

from villages under his rule.

The Raja would keep one share

and give the rest to the British.

In this way,

the British fist grew iron strong.

Like thousands of villagers

across the country...

...the farmers toiled

day and night on empty bellies...

...and paid taxes to the Raja

year after year.

Last year it rained...

but very little.

And this year,

there has been no rain so far.

Parched eyes scan the sky.

You're standing there again, Mai.

What are you gazing at?

When will the sky darken

with clouds!

How I long to see it...

A month of the rainy season is gone by.

Not a drop of rain yet!

I'm coming...

By God's grace, we have

drinking water at least.

Or we'd be parched to the bone.

Such are His ways...!

That's true, Mai.

But the fields are thirsty.

How'll the grain ripen!

Don't lose heart, Hari Bhai.

If the sky doesn't give water,

we'll dig deep into the ground.

We'll tear up the earth and get water.

It's what I told Bhuvan.

Where is he?

He went out in the morning.

It's time to eat.

Send him home if you see him.

Yes, Mai.

Stop! You little pests! Stop!

I'll wring your necks!!

Oh, no!

The Great Chicken War again!

Goli, you freak! See if I don't

ram you down a gun barrel!

Go to hell, Bhura!

Come here, I'll show you!

You just wait, I'm coming!

I'll thrash you so bad

you won't get up from bed for days!

How dare you hit my kids?

I'll hang them upside down

and burn chillies under them!

Hassle my hens, will they!

And you bleat once more

and I'll burn your slingshot!

Is that so, ha!

Oh, stop this daily ruckus!

You fight worse than cats and dogs.

But his boys tease my hens!

So? Are they hens or girls!

He acts like they've been molested!

Your hens aren't going to get

married, you know.

Look, Bhura, they are just kids.

And, Goli, control your boys.

Okay... Now tell me,

have you seen Bhuvan?

No. You seen him, Bhura?



Left, right, left.

Left, right, left.


Sons of unmarried jackals!

Strutting around

in the blazing heat!

One day you're going back

to your frozen little island...


I see Saturn glaring balefully at you.

Hey, Guran. Why bother

reading their lousy fortune?

They won't even care.

Read my fortune, won't you?

Come on, tell me.

Will I get the Prince of my dreams?

Why not?

If you truly love him,

he'll give you your wedding bangle.

You'll be his bride.

Really? You heard, Jigni.

- Yes!


- But what?

I see an obstacle.

What obstacle?

Tell me quickly, Guran.


- Later.

Read my fortune.

What is it, Kaka?

Was Guran telling

your fortune?

No... er... yes.

He's mad.

He's got no clue about the present

and just babbles about the future!

No, Hari Kaka. He's not mad.

Have you forgotten Aunt Durga?

She was childless for nine years

after marriage.

Then Guran said she'd have a son.

And wasn't Somu born?

Then there is Kesariya...

Rate this script:3.3 / 4 votes

Ashutosh Gowariker

Ashutosh Gowariker (born 15 February 1964) is an Indian film director, actor, screenwriter and producer. He is known for directing films "set on a huge canvas while boasting of an opulent treatment". His works include Lagaan (2001), Swades (2004), Jodhaa Akbar (2008), What's Your Raashee? (2009), Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey (2010) and Mohenjo Daro (2016). His film Lagaan was nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 74th Academy Awards, which makes him a voting member of the Academy Awards. He returned to acting by playing the lead role in the critically acclaimed comedy-drama Ventilator (2016). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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