Spirit of Lagaan

Lagaan is one of my all time favorite movies as I said in one of my recent posts. There is nothing new to say about the movie. It is a proven classic. Ever since I heard about this book called “Spirit of Lagaan”, I was searching for it in every possible way but finally got it through Ebay.com. Satyajit Bhatkal the author of the book is one of the close friends of Aamir Khan who was with him all through the process of making of Lagaan helping him in production works. He also directed a documentary on Making of Lagaan called “Chale Chalo” and won national award for it.

The book may definitely be boring for those who just like the movie. It is for hardest core fans of Lagaan. Also it has nothing to do with the creative process of the movie making. It doesn’t say how the story was written or such a streamlined screenplay is achieved or anything of that sort. It is just about the whole cumbersome process of bringing the Asutosh’s creative genius in paper live on screen and the practical problems they faced for it.

The “Spirit of Lagaan” tells a real story that is more gripping and fascinating than the actual movie. It is all about 1000s of crew and cast of the movie, working hard in every possible way in bringing a dream of a man come true, which of course becomes everyone’s dream later in the process. The book is about dreams, courage, sacrifice, miracle, hard work, determination, optimism, team spirit and above all synergy. He takes us with him for a long journey right from the moment when the seed of Lagaan was sowed in the minds of Asutosh till the movie getting an Oscar nomination. With a high level of observation, he covers almost every important episode of this exciting real life story dated accurately.

The author says that every one involved in Lagaan will have his or her own story to tell but what he registers here is the combined story of all of them together from a different perspective. It is like a superset of all those sub stories, the story that will touch the individual stories of every one involved in the movie making process. The author gives more emphasis on the cultural amalgamation as the movie brings people from various social and cultural backgrounds together. Of course, it really is interesting to know how well they got together to an extent that two of them from the British Cast fell in love and got married in the Champaner village temple set before the entire cast and crew of the movie. And it happened like any other Hindu marriage. It truly reflects the kind of bonding these people had while shooting.

He gives more emphasis on the problems they faced while shooting than the joyous moments. He records everything from thorns in Champaner plains that ached the legs of the cast who have to walk with bare legs (period factor), the extreme heat of the desert to the trouble of production executives in getting 10000 people for first day cricket match shoot in a village that is far away. In the vein, there are lots of interesting trivia about the movie. The final pages of the book is so touching and overwhelming as like the climax of Lagaan. When the book pictures in words about the moment Asutosh got the first feedback call about the movie from her sister from Mumbai, I felt like how I was when for the first time I saw the rain pouring in the climax after they win the match in the movie. The last few pages in my book turned wet as I read through.

Now eagerly waiting for the official DVD release of the movie in India.


Prasad said...

Interesting. Never heard of such a book until now.

One thing I don't understand is why does it take so long to release the DVD for some indian movies?

Suresh Kumar said...


i think the problem is producers of such big blockbusters ask huge sum of money to give the DVD rights to other companies