Motivational and Inspirational Movies (35)

Lagaan: Once upon a time in India (2001)

Today, with the Lagaan movie I am back to sports movies. 🙂

The plot is set in rural India, in 1893 and follows the natives of a small village during the late Victorian period of India’s colonial British Raj. People feel suffocated by high taxes and years of drought. Their complaints about taxes will end by being challenged by an arrogant British officer in a game of cricket. The result of the game should support the increase of taxes or their avoidance.

Beat us in cricket and we will lift your tax for the next three years. Lose, and you must pay three time the tax (lagaan).

Captain Rusell

The villagers have to face the task of learning a game that they think is known. Unfortunately, they realise they are far from it and three times the tax will destroy the economy and their village life.

The villagers have to deal with British officers’ arrogance, hate, and cruelty. Called “darkies” or “slaves” and ruled with an iron fist, the natives have to choose between giving up and accepting taxes or learning and “fighting” for their rights.

With a focus on details, each of the villagers is a unique character, and they all will come to understand how important is to work together as a team. As one of the characters says,

Your dream is also the dream of my life.


The movie is beyond politics. It is a love story and a spiritual manifesto. It is about the power of compassion and goodness over hate and greed.

Lagaan is a great underdog movie about India’s caste system, British Imperialism, and humanity.

Drama, songs and dance, love and courage, cruelty and goodness, all are mixed in making Lagaan, a wonderful movie.

Who has faith and courage is the one who wins in the end.


Imagine de Manohar Arya de la Pixabay 

Nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Lagaan was placed in third place after Mother India (1957) and Salaam Bombay! (1988). 

With eight wins, including Best FilmBest Director for Gowariker and Best Actor for Khan, Lagaan became the most-awarded film at the 47th Filmfare Awards. It also won eight awards including Best Popular Film at the 49th National Film Awards.



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