Director: Ashutosh Gowarikar
The great Indian formula is back. Just when the Hindi film industry was gasping desperately for a breath of fresh cinematic air, an insider, someone part of the crazy dilution of form and content that overtook Bollywood in the '90s, appears to have bailed the lot out. Lagaan is the kind of movie that sets trends—spread over more than three and a half hours, it's able to hold viewer attention by the sheer pace of its narrative. Slow, languid, even seemingly tepid in parts, the story is fine-tuned like a piece of Dhrupad music. The transitions are sharp and slick—yet they do not jolt or shock. It revives the classical predictability of Indian aesthetics; it also resurrects the old, solid hero, the perfect, albeit cocky nayak of Indian folk stories.
Ironically, the fictitious hero is actually presented as someone lost to history. The film treads the thin borderline between fantasy...