Ashutosh Gowariker

LAGAAN, ONCE UPON A TIME IN INDIA

In 1893, in the village of Champaner, all eyes are turned up to the sky. The last rainy season was very short, and this year, although the monsoon is supposed to have begun two months ago, there has been not a single drop of rain. Worried, the inhabitants of this region in the heart of Victorian India decide to request dispensation from the tithe on the harvest – the lagaan -, when they learn that this year it has in fact been doubled. Led by a young farmer called Bhuvan, the villagers set off to meet the Rajah of the province, who tells them he is powerless, since the decision was taken by the British. Captain Russell, who is a violent and authoritarian commander, challenges the villagers to beat his team of officers at cricket, a sport with which the former are totally unfamiliar. If they win, the village will be excused from the lagaan for three years: if they lose, it will be tripled. Whereas everyone else is terrified by this arrangement, Bhuvan believes it can and must be carried out. read more