Home Entertainment Lagaan cinematographer Anil Mehta recalls ‘exhausting’ 30-day climax shoot; says, ‘Walked up to Aamir Khan and told him this is not how it’s going to work’ | Hindi Movie News – Times of India

Lagaan cinematographer Anil Mehta recalls ‘exhausting’ 30-day climax shoot; says, ‘Walked up to Aamir Khan and told him this is not how it’s going to work’ | Hindi Movie News – Times of India

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Lagaan cinematographer Anil Mehta recalls ‘exhausting’ 30-day climax shoot; says, ‘Walked up to Aamir Khan and told him this is not how it’s going to work’ | Hindi Movie News – Times of India

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The cricket match finale scene in Ashutosh Gowariker‘s film ‘Lagaan’ is considered a cinematic miracle, which is carved in the records of Indian film history. Cinematographer Anil Mehta, who painstakingly created the aesthetically magnificent scene, recently revisited the shoot of ‘Lagaan’s’ climax cricket match.
In a recent interview with Film Companion, Anil Mehta revealed that on the first day of the 30-day-long shoot, he walked up to Aamir Khan and told him that his suggestions wouldn’t work for the scene.During the shoot, he even repeatedly reminded Ashutosh Gowariker’s crew that they weren’t covering a sporting event; rather, they were shooting for a film.
Anil talked about Aamir’s suggestion for the climax scene, “He said, ‘Now that we have the booklet. We can keep bringing the batsman one by one and you keep shooting. We would know when they hit a six or a four!'” The cinematographer followed Aamir’s instructions on the first day of the shoot, but later he went up to Aamir, and said, “This is not how it is going to work. I can’t do this coverage.” He further added, “If I am shooting a drama, it must look like that. When Bhuvan (Aamir’s character) is batting, I wanted to be up and close to him. When Kachra (Aaditya Lakhia) is batting, the emotions need to translate onto the screen. The emotions of each character were different. I shot Kachra with a zoom lens because it was so unsettling given that he was differently-abled, and he couldn’t find the right posture to lift his bat. So, every batsman and bowler had to be shot according to the character.”
The last scene of ‘Lagaan’ showcases a group of Indian villagers against a group of Englishmen in an attempt to save their taxes. Mehta disclosed that it was “exhausting” to shoot the climax of ‘Lagaan’. “We shot for 30 days. Doing the same scene over and over again gets monotonous and tedious.” Furthermore, Gowariker had assured Mehta that a booklet would be sent out with information on how the “crucial” cricket matches for the movie would be filmed. That booklet, however, was “never written till a day or two before” the sequences were shot.
The cast and crew of the movie spent a few days sitting in the hotel room before beginning shooting of the climax scene. “The whole crew was sitting in the hotel. We took a break of two days to write the scene and discuss ball by ball account of this match,” said Mehta. He continued by saying that he stood his ground and disapproved of the idea of setting up the climax match with eight cameras.
“It’s not sports coverage. It’s still a drama, right? That conversation we had early in the room. Finally, the scene was shot with just two cameras. We kept reinforcing on ourselves that we are not doing sports coverage. We are doing a scene in a film,” Mehta concluded.
Directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, ‘Lagaan’ was released on June 15, 2001. It was a major hit and is still regarded as an important milestone in the history of Hindi cinema. Despite receiving a nomination in the Best Foreign Language Film category, the movie missed out on taking home the Oscar.

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