Lagaan is considered a game-changer in Hindi cinema and even went on to earn an Oscar nomination, but Aamir Khan today revealed that he rejected the initial idea of Lagaan, as he thought the story was bizarre. Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, the 2001 sports drama was a critical and commercial success and was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.
Not many people know but it was earlier reported that Shahrukh Khan was also offered Lagaan, but the Superstar chose to reject the film and the film ultimately landed in Aamir's lap. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Aamir Reveals That He Had Rejected Lagaan
"When I heard 'Lagaan', in five minutes of its narration, I rejected it.. I was like it is a story of people who are not able to pay 'Lagaan' as there are no rains and they play cricket with British people!
I was like 'What a bizarre thought is this? I told Ashutosh, 'This is a strange (ajeeb) story. I told him to get me a different story," Aamir said on the sidelines of the second edition of Indian Scriptwriters Association.
Later, Aamir Heard The Entire Story & Loved The Script
Gowariker approached Aamir again after three months with the same story but he had a complete script by then. Aamir says he initially felt irritated that Gowariker had kept working on it.
"But when I heard the story, I was into it. I loved the final script of 'Lagaan' and found it unbelievable. I told him, 'It is a fantastic script and it does break the record of mainstream cinema. But I am scared to say yes. I can't do it'."
Aamir Was Still Sceptical About Lagaan & Advised To Director To Cast Any Other Actor
The 53-year-old star advised Gowariker to approach other actors and the director would often return with interesting anecdotes like someone suggesting him changes in the final scene, which should end with Bhuvan picking up the stumps and stabbing the English officer, played by Paul Blackthorne.
A year went by but Aamir's uncertainty about the story was replaced by the doubt that he was perhaps letting go of a good film. "I would often think why am I not doing the film?"
Aamir’s Parents Convinced Him To Do Lagaan
Aamir said as someone who is inspired by the works of Bimal Roy and Guru Dutt, who had the courage to take risks, he decided to come on board.
"I told Ashutosh to narrate the story to my parents. They heard it and were crying. They told me I should do it."
Aamir Also Admitted That He Cries When His Films Don’t Work
Aamir Khan is often praised for his script sense but Aamir Khan says he has cried for the films that did not do well. "I want to go with my conviction while making a film and if there is a loss, I will mourn that also. I cry when my films don't work."
Aamir On His Back To Back Successful Films
Aamir believes it is a coincidence that his films have been successful. "I often get the credit... It is a coincidence to a certain extent that my films have been successful. The fact is that the story is written by a writer and then has grown organically."
Aamir On Filmmaking
Aamir feels filmmaking is a collaborative process and if any aspect - be it the script, casting, location, sound design, editing or marketing - fails, it will not work. For a film to be successful, it is important to hit the ball in the centre.