Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India, is a 2001 Indian Hindi-language epic musical sports film written and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, and produced by Aamir Khan. Khan stars along with debutant Gracy Singh, with British actors Rachel Shelley and Paul Blackthorne in supporting roles. Made on a then-unprecedented budget of ₹250 million (US$5.32 million), the movie was the maiden project from Aamir Khan Productions and was shot in villages near Bhuj.
The film is set in the early 1890s, during the late Victorian period of India’s colonial British Raj. The story revolves around a small village in Central India, whose inhabitants, burdened by high taxes, and several years of drought, find themselves in an extraordinary situation as an arrogant British army officer challenges them to a game of cricket, as a wager to avoid paying the taxes they owe. The narrative spins around this situation as the villagers face the arduous task of learning a game that is alien to them and playing for a result that will change their village’s destiny.
Lagaan released on 15 June 2001, clashing with Gadar: Ek Prem Katha starring Sunny Deol and Ameesha Patel. Lagaan received widespread critical acclaim and awards at international film festivals, as well as many Indian film awards. It became the third Indian film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film after Mother India (1957) and Salaam Bombay! (1988).
The people of a small village in Victorian India stake their future on a game of cricket against their ruthless British rulers.