Sports films were never considered a profitable venture in Hindi cinema and things changed dramatically only after Lagaan’s release in 2001.
Our cricket-loving country accepted the film wholeheartedly and it was even nominated for the Oscars in 2002.
It has been 16 years since the film’s release and while most of you must have seen it, we bet you wouldn’t know these lesser known facts about the film:
1. Aamir Khan got his ears pierced for his role as Bhuvan.
2. Ashutosh Gowariker had approached Shah Rukh Khan to play Bhuvan but back then, no one was ready to financially support the film. SRK passed the project and it fell into Aamir’s lap.
3. A Hindi tutor was hired in London for actors Rachel Shelley (Elizabeth) and Paul Blackthorne (Captain Russell) so they could learn their lines. This process took almost 6 months.
4. The final cricket match between the two teams had approximately 10,000 extras. People from neighboring villages were brought to the set to shoot the scene.
5. There were no big hotels in Bhuj, where the film was shot, so the production rented a building and created residential apartments so the crew could stay comfortably.
6. To keep the set disciplined, all the actors were asked to report at 5 AM or they would be left behind at the hotel. On one occasion, even Aamir Khan was left behind even though he was only 5 minutes late.
7. A majority of the film was shot in Bhuj. Unfortunately, six months after the crew left, Bhuj suffered from a massive earthquake (Jan 26, 2001).
8. The first cut of the film was 7 hours 30 minutes.
9. During the shoot of the film, Ashutosh Gowariker suffered from a slip disc and was asked to rest for a month. But he continued shooting and had a bed set up next to his monitor so he could give instructions lying down.
10. The first screening of the film was held in Bhuj for the local crew.
11. Lagaan holds the record for casting the maximum number of British actors in one film.
12. In the film, the British side lost the match but when the two teams actually played a match during the shoot, the British team won.
Can’t believe the film released 16 years ago!