Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India (2001)



Critic Consensus: Lagaan is lavish, rousing entertainment in the old-fashioned tradition of Hollywood musicals.

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

One of the most expensive films ever to come out of Bollywood, Lagaan tells the tale of the Indian village Champaner, beset by drought and British colonialism in the year 1893. Without a drop of rain in months, the worried villagers of Champaner decide to ask the local authorities for a temporary repeal of their taxes -- the hated lagaan. Led by the heroic Bhuvan (Indian superstar Aamir Khan) they bring their plight to the military governor, Captain Russell (Paul Blackthorne). But the sadistic Russell threatens to raise the lagaan threefold, unless the villagers can beat his men at a game of cricket, in which case he'll lift taxes on the entire province for a period of three years. Bhuvan accepts the challenge, but there's a problem -- no one in Champaner knows how to play cricket. A band of misfits come to the rescue, coached by Russell's soft-hearted sister Elizabeth (Rachel Shelley), and the race is on to be ready in three months' time. An epic reworking of Victory with eye-popping song-and-dance routines, Lagaan was a major cinematic event in India upon its release.more
Rating: PG (for language and some violence)
Genre: Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Ashutosh Gowariker, Sanjay Dayma, Kumar Dave
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 22, 2002
B4U Entertainment - Official Site


Aamir Khan
as Bhuvan
Rachel Shelley
as Elizabeth
Paul Blackthorne
as Captain Andrew Russe...
Kulbhushan Kharbanda
as Rajah Puran Singh
Suhasini Mulay
as Yashodamai
Javed Khan
as Ramsingh
Raj Zutshi
as Ismail
A.K. Hangal
as Shambukaka
John Rowe
as Col. Boyer
David Gant
as Maj. Warren
Jeremy Child
as Maj. Cotton
Ben Nealon
as Lt. Smith
Raja Awasthi
as Ramprasad
Parveen Bano
as Kesarya
Howard Lee
as Burton
Ray Eves
as Willis
Jon House
as North
Jamie Whitby Coles
as ColesWesson
Barry Hart
as Benson
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India

Critic Reviews for Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India

All Critics (60) | Top Critics (20)

An involving, easily digestible hunk of pure entertainment that could be the trigger for Bollywood's long-awaited crossover to non-ethnic markets.

Full Review… | July 24, 2008
Top Critic

Few recent American musicals are this fluid or engaging.

Full Review… | March 26, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A great big Bollywood musical, complete with song and dance and doomed love triangles and elegantly photographed men playing cricket. And it's terrific fun, in a way that only great big musical fantasies can be.

Full Review… | December 31, 2003
Seattle Times
Top Critic

After having seen this Cinemascope extravaganza in a theater, on DVD and video, I still think the big screen experience is worth it.

Full Review… | July 20, 2002
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

It works its magic with such exuberance and passion that the film's length becomes a part of its fun.

Full Review… | July 19, 2002
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

An enormously entertaining movie, like nothing we've ever seen before, and yet completely familiar.

Full Review… | June 7, 2002
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India


An entertaining movie about the importance of not accepting defeat when in face of the toughest obstacles and how we should do everything in our power to succeed, with faith and courage - and it even finds space to discuss matters like prejudice along the way.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

For a movie which is SOOO GOOOD and beautifuly made - it will make you ignore the length as you will be immersed in this Bollywood epic.
Aamir Kahn is one of Bollywoods' favourite sons as he stars and produces this epic - which stands as one of the best Bollywood movies to date.

Set in the 1800's, in the midst of British Rule, one province takes a gamble to defy their oppressors and the land taxes in a game of cricket. Simple... yet cleverly wound into a bollywood love triangle intertwined with the regular, but in this case fabulous musicals which have made this movie spectacular, and cinematography to make your heart melt.

A distinctly unique film, you will see an age old India arise out of the dust, and Victorian Age British mixed in the wilderness of the sub continent, a real historic rewind so accurate it would make you believe you were there.

Better watch this musical!

Khris N

Super Reviewer

Moulin Rouge ripped this movie off. Wasn't bad, I suppose, but I admit I wasn't paying much attention to it.

Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India Quotes

– Submitted by Haroon M (4 years ago)

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