Aamir Khan’s Lagaan which won an Oscar nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category, has made it to the all-time 25 best sports movies list compiled by Time magazine.
The 2001 film, set in the times of the British Raj in India, clinched the 14th spot on the list. Produced by Aamir and directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, Lagaan tells the story of a group of villagers who strike a deal with the representatives of the Raj – if the locals defeat them in a game of cricket they get a break on their ‘lagaan’, or land tax.
“From the thunderclap in the first torrential rainstorm — a cue for riotous dancing — to the climactic sunlight on the smiling faces of millions of viewers, this Bollywood epic is cause for joy of meteorological proportions,” the magazine says, calling the film “the longest and most enthralling underdog-sports movie ever”.
“Even those who know none of cricket’s complicated rules will bounce in their seats to AR Rahman’s irrepressible tunes; here, one can immediately and fully accept the Bollywood trope of music and dance as an expression of life’s deepest, most soaring emotions. As sports film, social document or communal ecstasy, Lagaan is the all-time all-rounder,” it added.
Lagaan is the only Indian movie in the list, which is topped by The Big Lebowski, a film on bowling made in 1998. Body and Soul (1947), Breaking Away (1979), Bull Durham (1988) and Caddyshack (1980) rounded off the top five.