Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India [2001]

Genre: Adventure, Drama, Musical
Would you believe the most enchanting musical of the year is an almost four-hour-long epic about a ragtag group of 19th-century Indian farmers who form a cricket team to take on an arrogant British captain? The old-fashioned Hollywood musical is alive and well in India's Bollywood industry, where the joyful explosion of music and dance and innocent romance abounds in sweeping epics. In this infectious tale of bloodless revolution, the underdog outcasts and oddballs of a fractured village pull together into a unified team to take on the oppressive colonial Brits at their own game. Think The Longest Yard meets The Seven Samurai by way of Rudyard Kipling, with cricket bats, choreographed dance numbers, romantic triangles, and a rousing call to solidarity. There are no surprises, but what spirit, what color, what good fun! --Sean Axmaker

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Col. Boyer:
At ease Captain. You know Major Cotton. That is Major Warren. Take a seat. Now, what is this we hear? That you have agreed to cancel the tax of the farmers in Champaner if they beat you in a game of cricket? Is this true?

Capt. Russell:
Yes, Colonel Boyer sir, it is.

Col. Boyer:
What on earth do you think you're here for? To play games?

Maj. Warren:
Let me remind you that you are working here for Her Majesty the Queen. Your job is to ensure the smooth running of your province.

Capt. Russell:
Pardon me, sir, but that's exactly what I'm doing.

Maj. Cotton:
I think we'll be the judge of that, Russell! We also understand that if you lose this so called match, you will cancel their taxes for the next three years.

Maj. Warren:
Not just Champaner but the entire province.

Capt. Russell:
But they won't win.

Maj. Warren:
You're missing the whole bloody point! Do you realize, Captain Russell, that we could have on our hands a bloody situation where there'll be cricket matches happening all over the damn sub-continent in order to cancel the bloody tax!

Capt. Russell:
There is one thing you don't know. If they lose, which they will, they will have to pay the Queen three times the tax.

Maj. Cotton:
This is ridiculous! This OFFICER wants to make the government a bookie through which he can place his wagers! What'll you have us do next? Race horses?

Col. Boyer:
This is the most preposterous idea I have ever heard of! Now jolly well understand this... if you win, you will have had a narrow escape. But if you lose, YOU will pay the taxes for Champaner and the entire province OUT OF YOUR OWN POCKET! And then you'll be packed off to Central Africa! Is that clear?

Capt. Russell:
Yes, Sir!

Col. Boyer:
That'll be all. You may go.

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