Filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker’s film ‘Lagaan’ has completed 20 years today (June 15). On this occasion, Ashutosh told that ‘Lagaan’ had changed his life. In a special conversation with Dainik Bhaskar, Ashutosh has shared some special things related to this film. During this, the filmmaker told why he had to go to Shahrukh Khan with the film and how Aamir Khan gave him the nod for the film after almost a year. Let us know some interesting things related to ‘Lagaan’ in the words of Ashutosh-
I am very emotionally attached to this film, because if ‘Lagaan’ was not made, then my directorial career would not have started again. My first two films didn’t work. Instead of directing, I started focusing on acting. I was acting in CID show but was not happy. In such a situation getting an opportunity to do a film like Lagaan which will also be produced by Aamir Khan was amazing in itself. The film worked and I again got a chance in the career of direction. This film changed my life.
When I read the script of ‘Lagaan’ for the first time, it was only then that I realized that something amazing can happen from it. It had to show different genres together – there was a period film, there was a sports drama too, there was a cross culture romance, I think it’s a very strange combination film. When I started writing the screenplay for it, I realized that it could be a great film, if made in the true sense. As time passed, I got confident on the story of the film, but according to him, casting the actors was the biggest challenge.
The film was completely based on cricket. There was a lot of hesitation in taking Aamir Khan as the lead. Because before ‘Lagaan’ Aamir had done a cricket based film (top number) which did not work. Also mine and Aamir had a film ‘Baji’ that too was a flop. I was sure from the beginning that Aamir would refuse my film and the same thing happened. But I only wanted Aamir. Because he always tried to do different types of films. I didn’t lose heart, made more changes in the script so that Aamir would agree. Believe me, after almost 1 year, my hard work finally paid off and he signed this film.
When Aamir refused, I started looking for other actors. I remember that time Aamir told me – I should not do this film, you can go to whomever you want to go. Then I approached Shahrukh Khan. Although Shahrukh was very busy at that time, he liked the script of ‘Lagaan’ but did not agree. I went to Aamir again and just then did he become the hero of this film.
The most difficult moment in making the film was shooting the cricket match sequence. That one hour cricket sequence was the most memorable moment for me. There were different aspects of cricket as well as each character had its own emotional graph. The emotion of each character had to be shown. Also it was very difficult to shoot in harsh sunlight. The land was barren and the temperature was always above 40 degrees. In such an environment, it was very challenging to maintain the enthusiasm of the entire unit and shoot properly. But when I saw it on the screen, I enjoyed the same sequence the most. There will never be a sequel to ‘Lagaan’. It took us a lot of time to make this film and the story too was not left incomplete. This is a classic film, which is not easy to repeat.