The Kutch earthquake of 2001
Right before the Gujarat earthquake of 2001, Lagaan was shot in Kutch – the epi-centre of the killer quake. Quite a lot of people who are seen in the film were displaced, affected and bereaved post the quake. The devastation he later saw in Bhuj was a “saddening sight”, he said. “We were in an edit suite in Mumbai working on Lagaan, when someone rang the studio to ask whether our friends in Bhuj were alive and okay.”
Aamir Khan’s first film as producer
Aamir Khan revealed that because Lagaan was his first film as a producer, he “couldn’t prepare as an actor” for the film. Lagaan, which released 20 years ago on June 15 in 2001 and was directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, is one of the epic sports movies made in Bollywood. Talking about how fulfilling his role as a producer on set impacted his performance as an actor in the film, Aamir Khan told the publication: “I think my lack of prep in Lagaan, I can honestly blame it on my work as a producer”.
Lagaan turned out to be a box office hit. The film was nominated under the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards in 2002. However, back home, Lagaan won eight National Film Awards – Best Choreography, Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, Best Music Direction, Best Playback Singer – Male, Best Audiography, Best Lyricist, Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction.
Lagaan’s First Edit was 7 and a half hour long
Lagaan’s first cut was almost 7 hours and 30 minutes long. Eventually, after several attempts, the timing was reduced and then screened in the cinema theatres. The duration of Lagaan was shortened to 3 hours and 44 minutes. The film also starred Gracy Singh, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Rajendra Gupta, Raghubir Yadav, Rajesh Vivek, Pradeep Rawat and British actors Rachel Shelley and Paul Blackthorne among many others.