This is, hands down, the second-best three-and-a-half-hour musical about taxation--ever. (For the record, the best is 1776, but nobody wore a sari in that one.) "Lagaan" is the Hindi word for "land tax," and, fittingly so, this import is about an unjust tax levied on 19th-century Indian peasants by British colonialists.
However, if the villagers beat the Brits in a cricket match, the tax will be canceled. And since this is a Bollywood film, that sort of pressure makes everyone want to sing and dance in glorious and extravagant production numbers involving hundreds of extras. That takes up the first two hours. The last 90 minutes is the cricket match (seemingly shot in real time) that really drags out the suspense. Utterly fascinating, somewhat confusing and musically delightful, this Oscar-nominated flick is totally unlike anything else you'll find in theaters right now. Go just to say you did.
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