Last night I saw Lagaan with a couple of friends. In short, Lagaan is about a group of Indian villagers who have to beat the local British soldiers at a game of cricket to rid themselves from an extortionate tax.
At the same time, it’s a romantic comedy/musical/sports film; a little like a toned-down Moulin Rouge with a one hour climax that consists of the world’s most exciting and dramatic cricket match (okay, this isn’t a particularly difficult achievement but I thought it was great, and I’m definitely not a cricket fan). In other words, it’s classic Bollywood.
I found that its resemblance to comparable western movies really highlighted exactly how different it was; the core of the movie is easily recognisable – you have a group of bedraggled malcontents with hearts of gold who are struggling against the odds to beat an undeniably nasty power. Said malcontents of course come from all walks of life with hilarious results, and the hero has his romantic interest, but not without complications. There – I could’ve been talking about The Full Monty or Lucky Break.
But it’s not all the same – the romantic aspect was a disquieting at one part (watch the movie and you’ll see it) and the hero has a very peculiar haircut. And of course, being set in India, you have more focus on the caste system and religion.
All in all, it was a good evening, especially considering the fact that it only cost £1 and I had four (free) bottles of beer while I was there. Why, I made a profit on the night!