Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lagaan - Movie Review

When I was young I had a journal in which I made many secret entries. Stuff from Reader's Digest that I found interesting (when I grew up I didn't know why some people looked down on RD), about movies that I saw, who with, where etc and stuff like. Losing that diary was one of the greatest tragedies of mine because it had so many wonderful quotes and thoughts - I am still searching for one quote - written by an army general about the qualities of a leader. Anyway my friend Koni still ribs me about my movie reviews from then.

I did not restart the journaling process until the blog happened. But by then many experiences had gone by and many movies too. So when I see an old movie I liked it and review it, I feel like I am back at those journal days. Lagaan was one such movie that choked me with its emotional roller coaster (sports dramas do that to me all the time) and I remember watching the movie swinging wildly from one high to another. No one was happier than me when Bhuvan whacked that six off the last ball.

Watching these movies with Anjali is fun. She is an avid watcher. She gets up to dance when songs play and imitates the actors on screen.

This time Lagaan was different for me - as all books and movies are. I am always amazed at how much our perceptions show us only what we want, how we remember only what we want. I can see where the story teller chose to hold back and where he let go. Bhuvan's belief in the greater cause, his clarity and belief in taking the risk. his motivational techniques to draw the others into his enterprise, how an honest effort draws help from unexpected sources, how principles of equality and justice form the basis of their effort and so much more. It's such a complex story, of an India we still can't decipher, with all its undercurrents of caste, community, rich and poor, that I wonder what anyone who does not understand these equations makes of it.

But watching Lagaan again was nice. We wondered what happened to Gracy Singh - two huge hits and then she disappeared. Its a funny life. Also when Lagaan was first launched there was nothing in its promotions about cricket so when we did find out that the entire second half was a cricket match it blew my mind. How could anyone conceive such a long cricket match and get away with it. But you show stuff honestly, people do get drawn into the story and watching this game was as good as watching any cricketing thriller.

Superb stuff. Ashutosh Gowariker, take a bow.

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