Lagaan actor Yashpal Sharma on the role of Lakha: I was ready to make the film for Rs 20,000 but I got Rs 2 lakh

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Actor Yashpal Sharma says he wouldn’t have played any character other than Lakha in Lagaan, even if he had the chance. “The two main roles of hero and villain – Bhuvan and Captain Andrew Russell, have already been given to Aamir Khan and Paul Blackthorne. After that, the only character worth making was Lakha, ”Sharma exclusively told indianexpress.com.

Lagaan was directed by Ashutosh Gowariker and marked Aamir Khan’s debut as a producer. It also received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2002 Oscars. As Lagaan turns 20 on June 15, Yashpal Sharma stepped back in time playing the anti-hero in the hit film. .

“Lagaan’s casting had already been done. It wasn’t until the end that I got a call from Aamir Khan Productions. I thought someone was playing a prank. But I learned that Ashutosh Gowariker wanted to see me. I met him at Aamir’s office and within four hours he told me the whole story as he walked around the room. I will never forget this because you won’t find a director who injected the story so deep into him that he didn’t even watch the script, ”said Sharma recalling how amazed he was. of Gowariker’s clarity on the story.

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Lakha, a lumberjack, was one of the main men in the village, who kept his eyes on Gauri (Gracy Singh) and did anything to impress him. And since Gauri was in love with Bhuvan (Aamir Khan), Lakha wanted to disrupt Bhuvan’s cricket match against the British, until he changed his mind and ended up siding with the people of Champaner.

Yashpal Sharma added that he believed Lakha was the only role that had dimensions, but was not sure if it was available. “Ashutosh told me he wanted me to audition only for Lakha. I couldn’t believe it as I was still a wrestler at the time. I had just done some films like Shool, Arjun Pandit, Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa and Samar. I auditioned for it and left the office. Within five minutes I received an SMS that I was selected.

According to Sharma, Gowariker was very impressed and sent his audition clip to Aamir, who was then with music director AR Rahman in Chennai. But the hard part for Sharma was her pay.

Lagaan Stills Actors Lakha Yashpal Sharma Paul Blackthorne Captain Andrew Russell Lakha of Yashpal Sharma sported shades of gray in Lagaan. (Photo: Screenshot / Netflix)

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Sharing the interesting story, Sharma revealed that after her selection, Gowariker asked her to meet Aamir Khan’s wife, Reena Dutta, who was Lagaan’s producer. “I thought I would ask Rs 1 lakh because it’s a big production. Then I thought and if they refused and signed someone else. I went down to 80,000 rupees in my head. In the end, I thought about locking it down at Rs 50,000. Also because I didn’t have a job, I knew I would still have done it at Rs 20,000 (laughs). Finally, when I met Reena Dutta, she told me that their budget was limited and that they paid Rs 1.5 lakh to each actor. I just chatted that I wanted at least Rs 2 lakh, and she agreed. I was shocked and also happy that I got double what I expected, ”said Sharma.

Yashpal Sharma sported the look that was designed for Lakha on paper. “Ashutosh just told me to grow my hair out,” he added. Lakha was one of the drummers for Champaner’s team.

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