When Aamir Khan’s ex-wife Reena yelled at him on Lagaan sets: “Ashutosh Gowariker said I took the right call”

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It’s been 20 years since Bhuvan and his team of 11 underdogs picked up bat and ball to fight oppression. Aamir Khan’s extraordinary period piece Lagaan is 20 years old, but its impact on pop culture is far from dated. Whether it’s the story of the Indomitable Human Spirit, AR Rahman’s formidable score, or the marriage of cricket and drama, Lagaan still comes out of the park like 20 years ago.

Interestingly, much like the struggle of Bhuvan and his on-screen boys, Aamir Khan and Lagaan’s team went through a shattering journey of obstacles and doubts, which was ultimately beaten out of sheer conviction, reveals the superstar. as he walked through Memory Lane in a virtual conversation with a group of reporters to celebrate Lagaan’s 20th birthday. It also marks the 20th anniversary of Aamir Khan Productions.

“Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar were worried”

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Aamir Khan explained that a few weeks before Lagaan started filming, his Bollywood friends – filmmakers Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar – warned him about two things, which he both did while filming the film. .

“When I decided to do Lagaan, I knew I had taken on a huge challenge. It’s an atypical film and a few weeks before I left for the shoot, I met Adi Chopra and Karan Johar. Karan and Adi are very good friends of mine and they were really worried. They were saying ‘Aamir tu itni badi film bana rahai hai as the first production and we heard it’s one program, synchronized sound.’

“They asked me not to work a single schedule. They said it would be a mess and you won’t have time to correct your mistakes. They also advised me not to synchronize the sounds because no one has done it for a very long time and the shooting will be delayed, ”Aamir explained.

The actor added that his decision to stick to his belief has worked wonders, and since Lagaan he has completed the films in one timeline and used sync sound for each project. The actor laughed as he shared that even now Aditya Chopra and Karan Johar are following the same rules.

“I’ve wanted to do this for years, because the sound I get on the live emotion is wasted and we’ll have to recreate it in dubbing. My producers weren’t listening to me so when I became a producer, I did. This experiment was so successful that I only made sync sounds and shot all my movies in one program from Lagaan. It made me realize that I was thinking the right way, ”Aamir said.

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“Ashutosh Gowariker and Reena were still at loggerheads”

Aamir Khan has revealed that he often serves as a “arbiter” between director Ashutosh Gowariker and the producer and his ex-wife Reena, who are not on the same page.

“I remember I was in the make-up room and early in the morning Ashustosh and Reena came to see me. They were still at loggerheads. And I was the referee, ”Aamir said, recounting an incident where the three had to make one of the most difficult calls to the shot, which also resulted in him being called“ badly ”by Reena.

“So that day we had to shoot the scene where the team is training and where people from other villages came to watch it. Ashutosh had given a requirement of about 500 people. In the morning, Ashutosh realized that 500 people were not enough. So he said to Reena, “It’s not enough, I would need more people.” Reena said to me: ‘Now, at the last moment, how am I going to have more people? You asked for 500 people and I got it. Now you shoot. ‘

aamir khan reena lagaan oscars party Aamir Khan and his ex-wife Reena at a party to celebrate Lagaan’s Oscar nomination. (Express Archive Photo)

“So Ashutosh came to me and said, ‘Aamir, I think the number of people is not enough. What should we do? ‘ And Reena was like, ‘I don’t want to hear anything, you can’t all cancel the shoot. You have to shoot. I also found that there were not enough people. I said we had to cancel the shoot that day. I was yelled at so much, but Ashutosh was right, ”Aamir recalls.

The lesson Aamir Khan learned from this episode was that he had to stick to his vision. The actor said that although they suffered losses for canceling the shoot, the scene turned out to be much better because of the creative appeal they took.

“Now, if I had decided to shoot with 500 people, the scene would have played out a certain way. But because we insisted that ‘let’s get 1500 people and shoot it right’, we lost out. money, but the scene unfolded as it should have. ”

“Every day I wondered if I had done the right thing to sign Lagaan”

Aamir Khan explained that every day on the set of the film, he doubted that he had undertaken too big a project.

“Every day I had this doubt. There is a scene in the movie in the second half where Champaner’s team are not doing very well and the British players sort of demoralize the Indian players. After that, there is a scene where Bhuvan is standing inside the temple, looking disheartened and for the first time has a doubt on his face. And her mother comes in from behind and is surprised to see that expression on her face. He has answered, ‘Maa, eeh beeda uthake humne kauno galti toh nahi ki (Did I make a mistake taking this challenge)? Now there were problems on the set every day. The cricket game was endless. We were finishing 10 shots and Ashutosh came up with five more, the film was out of budget anyway. So one day I said to Ashu, ‘Eeh beeda uthake humne kauno galti toh nahi ki? ‘ He laughed so hard and it became a common joke on our set. Whenever we had a problem, either he would tell me or I would use this line.

aamir khan lagaan Aamir Khan in a Lagaan still. (Express archive photo)

“I was not prepared for Gadar against Lagaan”

It was one of the biggest box office clashes we’ve seen. Two superstars, two ambitious films and two stories from India. Aamir Khan said that while he expected Gadar to have a strong emotional core, he was far from prepared for the “tsunami” that the film ultimately turned out to be.

“When I knew that Gadar came with Lagaan, with Anil Sharma and Sunny Deol, we are worried. However, I have always believed that when two films are good, they will work. The producer of Gadar once told me the outline of the story and I really liked it. I told Ashu that they had a solid story in hand and that her emotion was so strong that she wouldn’t be wrong. I said, ‘Get ready for a really good movie.’ What I wasn’t prepared for was the movie monster Gadar was.

Aamir said he found it incredible that Lagaan managed to hold out in front of Gadar. “Gadar was at least three times the size of Lagaan. So today, I think, how did we manage to hold out in front of this movie? ‘ Gadar was a tsunami. If Lagaan was even a percent less than he was, we wouldn’t have lasted.

“I was disappointed that we didn’t win the Oscar”

Lagaan released on June 15, became a huge success and captured the imagination of the country like very few films have. The icing on the cake was the Oscar nomination. Lagaan was shortlisted among the films that competed at the 2002 Oscars for what has been called the Best Foreign Language Film Award. The loss put fans at home off guard.

Thinking back on the Oscar loss, Aamir Khan said that while he shared the public disappointment, he still viewed the nomination as a big win rather than focusing on the snub as a huge loss.

“Of course I was disappointed, we would have liked to win. And a lot of people have asked me what you could have done differently in Lagaan so that he could have won the Oscars. Was it because there were songs, length, etc. What I’ve tried to tell people over the years is that at the Oscars it’s such a difficult process. Getting nominated means that a huge percentage of the members of the Foreign Languages ​​Committee liked your film. They loved you so much in the top 5, ”the actor said.

“What we don’t understand is that the members of the Foreign Languages ​​Committee really loved our film. If they hadn’t liked our movie, we wouldn’t have made it to the top 5. So that means there was nothing wrong with the movie.

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