Lagaan : Legend Revisited

"Lagaan : Sau Saal Pehle Ki ek aisi kahaani, Jo Itihaas ke pannon mein kahi kho gayi thi.." The baritone was echoing in my mind, as I was walking through the soil, the dust and the sands of Champaner. Yes, the village Kunariya where the movie, the legend was shot in the year 2000. My yet Another uncertain journey as always..this time stopped at 'the' place where 'the' Legend was written.

[As I watched Lagaan on next day of its release, i.e.16th June, 2001; Here is its Anniversary Special on same day, 2009]

It was a Friday, when I just completed reading The Spirit of Lagaan - the book written by Satyajit Bhatkal on making of Lagaan. An extraordinary tale of how this larger than life world was captured in the movie. So, after reading it, naturally I put up my disc and started watching the movie. And then suddenly, got idea, why not go to the place and celebrate the anniversary a little earlier? Its about 400kms away from my city. So instantly I called up my friend who lives in Bhuj, instantly got my tickets of Bus service which I boarded late night and voila!! I was in Bhuj very next morning. Took my friend's Bike, and went away, to discover the village. [I even couldn't find it on Wikimapia, nobody had marked it, but I did it later. See it here]

But the task was so easy. So easily I found the village because of very good road connectivity. Which was absent 10 years back, when Ashutosh took a great chance of setting up whole world in the desert. So there I was in village Kunariya, 20 kms away from the city Bhuj. There I was, in my Mecca, in my Amarnath, in my Chardham, whatever you say, it was the moment to cherish. And what did I find??

the dust which covered the unitThere was no hills and mountains visible as in the movie. I panicked. [and my i-pod was playing...Tu Aaja Re.....Mitwa..] And thank God, someone was walking on the deserted way, I stopped him and asked about where was the shooting place? I knew he must had the answer. As so many villagers were included too. And he instantly show me the way. And so accurately he guided me, in flat 10 minutes, I was there....at Champaner.


Still I had doubts. Cause there was so much of sand on the soil, and I knew this was not it. And there, came my saviour, in form of a tractor driver [heck, i should have clicked him]. And he gently asked me, how on earth I am here in this desert? [gora chitta ladka, in this hot desert - though it was only 9.30am] I asked him about the shoot..and heck...'He did participated in it !!!!' Yes, he said, I had worked to raise the village, the homes of characters!! And there, he pointed out at this - a huge rubble of cement floor structure. And that too, was behind a small hill. And how on earth I could not identify it?? It was the 'Toilet Block'!! Yes, it was. Cause they wanted to hide it, it was created behind this rock hill. And how thankful I was to that man who later shown me the way to go to the main farms where the village was standing?!! He vanished away saying 'you should have come 10 years earlier...' Yes, yes, point taken :-D

PhotobucketPhotobucket

So, what a great (!) start, I thought. Though my bike was shouting high, due to absolutely sandy soil. I cut it off. And climbed up the hill. Soon I found this on a rock -
love on the rocks
Mind it ! This is not a tourist place where people do come and write crap like this. This WAS from the crew members itself. It is for sure. [and btw, my mom+dad has same initials :P ]

And after reaching at the top of the rocks, I was ready to die. Yes, Yes, It was the moment. I can see the Champaner in front of my eyes. There-was temple, There-was Bhuvan's house, There-was the pitch. Yes, There- Was LAGAAN : Once Upon a Time In India. The same track was playing in my ears.
Photobucket'The' Location The surrounding hills
See the first pic above, that's the Lovers' Hill. Where Bhuvan-Gauri romanced [my saviour told me that]. And the third one [I suppose] is the hill where the Temple stood.What a feeling?
And instantly, I remind of following frame from the movie. Yes ! I was standing on the rock where Chale Chalo was filmed !! What eyes Ashutosh has? The view is just wonderful. And just so much perfect for the shoot.

I could only think - what an effort?  What level of passion, How desparate was everyone for making this happen. In just 2 hours, I was getting burnt over my [delicate :P] skin, the heat was on at only 10:30am !! The dust, the sand was getting over me-everywhere from hair to toe. And I thought, what life the crew had lived in 6 months of year 2000?
just look at the sand
I was there in month of June. How cruel the nature would be in April and May?? How hot atmosphere eveyone handled 'Playing Cricket on these fields'?????
Rude SoilLook what's coming
And then, God sent me another saviour. "Hey Baadal, arrey Baadal Aai Gya Re....." Yes, the clouds were there. Making me little confortable, and vanished in few minutes :) just like the movie. Leaving me alone..in burning rays of Sun.
Arre..Baadal aai gyo re..the soil where once Champaner stood
I searched, searched if I could find just 'anything' related to shoot. But that was insane, Yes I know, but my level of insanity is that only :P But nothing was there left for me. Cause the land is used for farming. And owned by villagers. So no traces were left besides the Toilets :). And that was the reason, I could not go further and further far away near to the hills shown in below. Cause the area is cordened by the farmers, And I too was not willing to disturb them.
Impossible to go near hills..the planes are endless
I just sat on rocks, cherished each song in burning sun rays. That, was the moment, I would cherish whole my life. I could tell everyone, when they will watch the movie, Yes, I had been there. At the legendary place. Where history was created. Where, determination resulted in a rock solid result. Where each member of the crew, had lived their lifetime. The heat and dust, which made the task un believable, ended up in being an unforgettable part of the movie.
Hills
Goodbye Champaner, I'll be back !!
Goodbye Champaner

And there was someone to bid me farewell. Well, have a look.
Traffic choked up !!
Later, I returned to Bhuj. And visited majestic palace of Maharo Pragmalji. Which lies in ruins because of 2001 Earthquake.
Prag Palace-Bhuj Aaina Mahal-Bhuj
And, the place Where Salman and Aishwarya took saat phere [yes, seven rounds of marriage]. Well, not in real, but in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. The Cenotaphs-below. The structure got major damages in earthquake. One temple is totally vanished.
Cenotaphs of Bhuj


And then [as I tweeted] why I did watch Kal Kisne Dekha? Well, How could I let go  my temptation of watchin a movie where LAGAAN was premiered?? Here,,,is SurMandir talkies, where Aamir had arranged first show for villagers / local crew.
Where Lagaan was premieredinside SurMandir
There, my day ended with a crap movie, but great feeling of watching movie where Aamir, where the Lagaanites were sitting. Yes, that guy was right I should have come 10 years earlier...

Related Posts :
Lagaan : History Revisited

15 comments:

  1. Awesome, awesome, AWESOME!

    Aur hum bol bhi kaa sake hain? =) Thank you so very much, Darshit!

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  2. Amazing!!!
    There couldn't have been a better way to celebrate this day and you did exactly what a perfect movie fan would do!
    Kudos to you, Boss!!!I can feel how much you must have enjoyed and yeah, that's the moment you would really cherish throughout your life!

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  3. Brilliant! I hope to visit the village some day.

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  4. Aha..... movies dekhi hain lekin uske location ke baarein main itna pata na thaa... can see ur hardwork.... thanks al ot Darshit for sharing with us..

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  5. Saras chhe!! Bahu Saras chhe!!

    Ati Prasanna Hue Hum!! Maang, kya chahiye! Sprite chalega? LOL.

    On a serious note, this did make me a little jealous man. But, I kept pondering over the question: Would I have been able to handle the heat? [Complexion ki Chutti ho jayegi..hehe]

    Lagaan is certainly one of the finest that Indian cinema can offer. And kudos to you Darshit for putting up such a brilliant post. Ab to Taawij bhej hi do

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  6. theBollywoodFan

    ThankYou, ThankYou, ThankYou :))

    Hum ka yehi ummeed thi. kisi ne humka kaha tha ki tu geeli chutki mein namak pakad raha hai, magar hum kaahe himmat haare?? And there I am. Thanks again, so glad you liked it.

    Krishnanand Mishra

    Hello and Welcome to my Blog.
    Yes, its really memorable to celebrate the day like this. Especially when it happened all of a sudden, cause not much planning was there. And talking about fandom, I would accept it but still I want to draw your attention to the Greatest fan ever, theBollywoodFan. He is perhaps biggest fan of the movie and doing numerous posts on it see his anniversary specials here.

    It was definitely a moment to cherish for lifetime. And had enjoyed each moment. But it would surely a great pleasure if all of you, Lagaanites would come together to mark its 10th Anniversary? What say?? Thanks for dropping by, hoping to see more of you.

    Bhargav

    As said in earlier comment, how about celebrating 10th Anniv. at the village Bhargav? Would be ultimate fun. :)

    Khushi

    Ae Haalo haalo, khushiben..Thanks for your visit. Really very glad you liked it. And thanks for appreciations.

    Sujoy

    Saras Chhe ne???? Toh Pachhi....!! Aakhir Post kiski hai>?? But no, no, No Sprite. Only Thanda -on the rocks :P

    Actually, my complexion got affected, really ! On such hot day, I was wearing a 'full sleeve' shirt, just because I wanted to cover my hands. But still upto my wrist, it was open and that got sun burns already. But I never mind it, cause all of that was for the passion. I could imagine wht everyone in shoot had felt. And that undoubtedly makes it finest in Indian cinema.

    Tawij is on the way, tab tak 'tea bag' se kaam chala lo :P

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  7. Thanks for the link, Darshit! I would love to be part of such celebration...10th Anniversary! Wow :)
    By the way, you would be surprised to learn that I am one of those non-bloggers who are well aware of this "bollywood fans gang" ;-) including you, Pitu, Sitaji, Bhargav, Nida, many more and yeah, this amazing guy, theBollywoodFan. I am a regular follower of all these blogs! :)
    I would say, you guys are amazing! You are the ideal audience and can see the intrigued brilliance what a film-maker would like his audience to see! Great work guys!

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  8. WOOOOOOWWWWWW!

    What an awesome post!!!! Thanks for sharing that surrealistic experience and showing us pictures of the place. It must have felt like magic...

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  9. That'll be brilliant! I'm IN!

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  10. Krishnanand Mishra

    This is overwhelming. Really, I thought I am way behind when comparing with greatest bloggers as you mentioned their names there. Thanks very much. And Thanks for the name 'bollyfan gang'. We shall follow the name. So so happy after reading ur kind words...:)

    Aline Khan

    Thank you so very much. Magic....Exactly !! I wished not to step out from there, if I could. [but the creul sun :P]. Welcome to my blog, hoping to see you around.

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  11. Awesome post! Thanks a lot Darshit, for this exceptional visual treat for the lovers of Lagaan. :)

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  12. Wow Darshit,
    You are a great correspondant out in the field. I'm glad you survived the sun and heat and even more harsh,the viewing of Kal Kisne Dekha! Thanks for all the detail. Good work yaar!
    All the best!
    Sita-ji

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  13. Anu
    Thanks and welcome to my blog. Such heavy words of praise used for me, Ahh...feeling in sky :)

    bollywoodfoodclub
    lol. The viewing of KKD, was not 'that' bad actualy. May be it was the aura of 'Lagaan' which is still there. Ha ha, JK. But the movie was past half an hour, and a regular masala did held me up for next 2 hours.

    Thanks and very happy that you liked my work.

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  14. Thanks for the wonderful post!!! You and TBF are Lagaanists, oh gosh, that sounded awful!

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  15. Anonymous18:01

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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