Aamir Khan’s Epic Lagaan, which changed the face of mainstream Hindi cinema as well as Indian cinema. Everything about this movie is beautiful and timeless. The landmark film got nominated in Best Foreign Film category at Oscars 2002. The film did not ultimately win the award, but it did win accolades from all quarters…
As the epic saga clocks in 20 glorious years, here is a look back at some lesser-known facts about the film..
1) Shah Rukh Khan was offered the role of Protagonist but he had rejected it.
2) Preity Zinta, Sonali Bendre, Amisha Patel were all considered for the role of Gauri. Aamir thought Bendre looked to urban and modern for the character. Eventually the role went to TV actress Gracy Singh
3) The first cut of the film was 7 hours and 30 minutes long. Eventually, the film that was screened in the theatre was 3 hours 44 minutes long.
4) Director Ashutosh Gowarikar had approached Aamir Khan for the film and the actor heard the script in details and gave his consent. But the challenge for the director remained as no producer was ready to back the film. It was on the director’s behest that Aamir Khan decided to turn producer for the film.
5) Aamir Khan decided to pierce his ears and wear earrings for his role. He had borrowed the silver rings that he wore from Kiran Rao, who was an assistant editor on sets.
6) The movie was shot in villages of Bhuj, Gujarat. Bhuj was later majorly effected in an earthquake on 26th January 2001, six months after the movie was shot.
7) Since there were no luxury hotels in Bhuj, Aamir Khan had taken up a newly constructed apartment complex and furnished it completely for the crew. Security was set up and a special housekeeping team was brought to take care of the crew’s needs.
8) While shooting for the film, Director Gowarikar suffered a slip disc and had to rest for 30 days. During this period, he had his bed next to the monitor and continued with his work.
9) Before the worldwide release of the film, Khan screened the film especially for the villagers of Bhuj, where the film was shot.
10) A lot of the crowd that we saw cheering during the match scene, were actual villagers who came every day to be a part of the film. They would sit patiently in sun the entire day while the film was shot.
11) Two of the British actors Jamie and Katkin were dating while they were filming ‘Lagaan’ and were eventually married off on the sets of the film which had a make shift temple in it. Aamir and his wife performed the Kanyadaan ritual.
12) Abhishek Bachchan was offered a role in the film, but he turned it down.
13) ‘Lagaan’ was the first Indian film to premiere in China.
14) Lagaan became the first Hindi film to be shot using sync sound
15) During the shoot of Chale Chalo song, Aamir said no umbrellas or shade would be put on the film set, and suggested everyone to burn out bodies, in the blazing temeperature of 50 Degrees, to look authentic on screen.
16) Ashutosh Gowarikar made sure that, he cast actors who had absolutely no cricket background and never played the sport before.
17) Lagaan holds the record for casting the maximum number of British actors in one film.
18) Lagaan became the third Bollywood film to make it to the short list of Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Earlier Mother India (1957) and Salaam Bombay! (1988) made it to the short list of Oscars