Aamir said working and producing with ‘Lagan’ has become an “important chapter” in his life. He said that in a village 35 km from Bhuj in Gujarat, the team built each house on its own with the help of local people.
New Delhi: When director Ashutosh Gowariker narrated the story ‘Lagan’ to Aamir Khan, Aamir felt that the story was not right for him. This made it seem like a very complicated subject. But later he worked in film and it became a big film in the history of Indian cinema.
Inspired by film production
The film, based on a cricket match between the then cricket novice villagers and the British who ruled India at the time, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Aamir not only made up his mind to work on the film later, but also made his film debut in 2001. Aamir said that he took inspiration from big directors like Guru Dutt, V Shantaram, K Asif, Raj Kapoor and Bimal Roy and decided to produce the film.
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20 years of ‘planting’
On the occasion of the film’s 20th anniversary, Aamir said, ‘If these people believed in the story, they would have made it. He was very brave in choosing the subject. I had a similar feeling when I thought of working on ‘Lagan’ and building it.
Such was the thinking of Gowariker
Amir said he had faith in Gowariker’s thinking and that his initial hesitation about ‘planting’ had broken several rules. It was a bit different from all the Bollywood movies set against the backdrop of British India and was about four hours long. Aamir said, ‘Ashutosh loved telling me the story but I thought it was too complicated to make a film and I was not going to get into it. Ashutosh started meeting people in Bollywood with the script of this film and I used to listen to it every six months. It was 1997-98 when he was still carrying the story.
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‘Lagan’ broke many rules!
Asked if he started with such a bold screenplay, Aamir said that he has always worked with this mentality in choosing films, be it ‘Andaaz Apna’ or ‘Joe Jita Wahi’. Sarfarosh came before Sikander, or “Lagan”. He said, “But in terms of ‘Lagan’, it was made at a time when people were wearing designer clothes and shooting in Switzerland. Here we were wearing ‘bundi’ and ‘dhoti’ and talking about ‘avadhi’. I was breaking the rules.
Aamir said that he was happy to become a filmmaker with this film in 2001 and started his own banner. It helped him make a lot of big decisions, such as finishing shooting on a one-time schedule. He said it had never happened before. He also used the sophisticated sync-sound recording system of the time and introduced the assistant director system for the first time.
Amir did not listen to Karan and Aditya
He said, ‘I remember meeting Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra at a party a few days before the shooting of the film, when they told me that I was making a big mistake. He advised me not to shoot on the same schedule. He said there would be a lot of mess but I got stuck in my thoughts. And today both Aditya Chopra and Karan use sync sound and shoot in a single schedule.
‘Lagan’ was made at a cost of Rs 25 crore
Aamir said working and producing with ‘Lagan’ has become an “important chapter” in his life. He said that in a village 35 km from Bhuj in Gujarat, the team built each house on its own with the help of local people. It was the most expensive picture of his time. He started the film with a budget of Rs 12 crore and in the end it cost Rs 25 crore.