Mise-en-scene in Lagaan (2001).

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Disclaimer: I do not own the above image.

Also stylised with tagline as “Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India”

Mise-en-scene is elemental to consider when examining a film’s style. It makes up all the details that deliver the story to the audience, and whether overt or subtle it serves to enhance what we receive. Director Ashutosh Gowariker’s 2001 film Lagaan is a blend of the genres of sports drama, Bollywood, period, and epic with a running time that exceeds three and a half hours. It received a very high level of international critical acclaim. “Lagaan” is Hindi for ‘taxation’ and the film follows a small West Indian village’s plight to erase their tax commitment to the British settlement. This paper will aim to clarify how the film Lagaan uses mise-en-scene to achieve a more vivid and rich production.

The acting style is dramatic and typical of South Asian cinema. In the film, a British captain named Andrew Russell (played by Paul Blackthorne) on a whim first doubles the tax of the provinces he oversees, and then reverses it based on the outcome of a cricket match against one village. His younger sister Elizabeth (played by Rachel Shelley) secretly helps the Indians to train for the match. Bhuvan (portrayed by Amir Khan) is the leading protagonist and delivers many heartfelt lines that represent his values. His good character is reinforced by his Continue reading “Mise-en-scene in Lagaan (2001).”

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