Filmmaker Ashutosh Gowariker believes that the global attention his Oscar-nominated film “Lagaan” has garnered is something that cannot be made to order.
The feature, which was only India’s third official entry to feature in the Bast Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars, ended 20 years of release on June 15. Over the past two decades, the universal appeal of the Aamir Khan-starrer has only grown.
Aashutosh Gowariker believes that no storyteller can create a story aimed at reaching a global platform. It must be a story told from the heart. “Cinema cannot be made to order,” he told IANS.
Ashutosh Gowariker adds, “It can only be made to order for commercial success. You can build a script and know that you can put these items together and their success is guaranteed. It is made to order, but we cannot make to order a film which will become global in its theme. A filmmaker can write things, create what he wants to express through this story, then the film can find its marks, become a crossroads and become international. It cannot be planned. It really has to be sincere and should come from the heart of your soul. “
While it was a moment of great joy for Indian cinema to have a film representing the industry on a global platform like the Oscars, the film did not win the trophy. While Gowariker accepts that “the Oscar experience has been phenomenal,” he also claims that there has been no legacy of fame on him.
“The Oscars experience has been enormous. We still think we sent our entry from India, but we never consider what the other 75 countries are sending. We don’t know the competition, and we have to know the competition in order to send something that rivals. Secondly, there are certain types of films that are very popular in the international film space and if a film does not fall within this range, it will not even be considered, ”says Ashutosh Gowariker.
He adds, “So for a ‘Lagaan’ to go, there was this very special thing in it. It was a sports drama, it was a period piece, it was an intercultural film, outsiders doing something. There were so many things that were truly global. It was cricket, but no one focused on it. They all looked at the thematic value.
The film stars Aamir as a young man in a village in pre-independence India who accepts a challenge from a ruthless British officer to a game of cricket with a group of trained white officers. The bet is that if the officers win, the villagers have to pay three times the tax, while if the villagers win the match, they will not have to pay anything.
Gowariker says he knew at the scriptwriting stage that the film was special, but never anticipated such a massive response in theaters.
“I had no fear in terms of the box office because I didn’t think about it. When we finished writing I had a feeling it was something different and if we got the right producer it could turn into something exciting for audiences. We already had Aamir in mind. During the process, we had this excitement, but we didn’t know how important it would become, ”said Ashutosh Gowariker.
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