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Cricket and the Subcontinent - a Bollywood take

Cricket and the Subcontinent - a Bollywood take

A walkthrough of an epic cricket match between the Indian Subcontinent and the British Empire, where everything is at stake.

The movie begins with a one-rupee coin from 1877, so guess that's when it's supposed to be. Same year as the 1st Test ever. Well played to whoever did that.

I miss Urdu titles at the start of Bollywood films.

BTW, the credits are four minutes long. Did no one in this movie care how long it was going to be?

Turns out it's not 1877. Amitabh's voiceover just said that it was 1893. Boo, that's no fun.

He also said the location is Champaner. Was there any need to specify? Couldn't it have been a random village in India?

The first close-up shot is literally an Indian tying the shoes of a gora, subtlety be damned.

Wanted to do this for the cricket but some things have to be mentioned. Like the army literally marching through the centre of the village. Dick swinging game is lit.

This is Amir reacting to the death of a deer. Establishes his love for the land... but also unwittingly shows him to be an environmentalist.

So the ‘dugna lagaan’ thing comes about because the Shakahari (vegetarian) local Raja refuses to eat meat. What a 2017 thing to do.

When the clouds stand up the entire village

I miss token Muslims in Bollywood movies too. From Sholay onwards, such severe Muslims that even the molvis would be scared. Sadly, this one is without Kohl.

33 mins in, finally a cricket scene. You would think that with all the resources the Empire had they'd have proper grounds. I feel for the oppressors.

The first game lasts four minutes, and every shot is played off the back foot. Don't know what that means. Maybe they were all Australian.

These two have been sitting, or playing cricket for a while, and wearing these clothes but neither of them has a sweat on. It's Gujarat in the summer ffs. #BeforeGlobalWarming

Captain Andrew Russell (no relation to the West Indian cricketer I'd think) was willing to cancel the tax if Raja ate meat, now has the same offer to the villagers if they beat him in cricket... only because they insulted cricket. Peak Empire.

Capt. Russell has gone from triple lagaan to no lagaan for three years for the whole area, without any word from the other side. Worst. Negotiator. Ever.

And he gives them three months to prepare. I know the Brits are supposed to be all about fair play, but the whole plot of the movie rests on this gora being an idiot.

Then Amir Khan comes back to the village and has an anti-tax speech that would be ideal for the Republican National Convention floor. Ayn Rand's big daddy.

The first time Bhuvan shows the villagers what cricket is as he tries to hit the ball as hard as possible in the middle of the village. What if it hit someone?

Wherever they go they take the whole village with them. Like desis at the international arrival lounge of an airport. Leave someone behind ffs.

There's never been anyone as late on the ball as this guy. And yet again on the back foot. When will goras learn that you gotta play on the front foot in Asia.

125 years on, and the desi look towards a gori has changed all that much. You'll still find this look in the corners of nightclubs the world over.

Peak first look at a gori.

The origin of you versus the girl he told you not to worry about.

83 minutes in and we finally have "tum saala ghulam laug humari jooti k neeche he rahega" (you slaves will always remain under my foot) YAY!

There's been no rain for two yrs; people have no food... meanwhile this guy looks like someone who just came back from a trip to Gujranwala. Gotta shed 15-20 pounds.

Muslim guy joins the team spouting every Muslim cliche possible. Well, at least he doesn't have a beard... but the garb still screams MUSLIM.

Can't quite explain it in a screenshot, but basically every villager has the catching technique of Abdul Razzaq,

Cultural appropriation ftw!

98 minutes into Lagaan: Intermission.

Here's an IMDB list of the best movies that are shorter than that. #tooDamnLong

"And then she told them that this was a cricket ball, and it was made of cow leather... she was never heard from again."

Enter, THE FAST BOWLER. (also fills the Sikh quota). Now to the reason why I wanted to do this thread in the first place.

This movie was released in 2001. 'It's not a coincidence that the fast bowler had to be from outside of the village... since it represented India. It's a reflection of Indian cricket in the 90s.

No article or lamentation has ever presented India's desire for a proper pace bowler quite like the Sikh here. Big man, from up north. Here to fulfil the role no home-grown guy can do.

The weird thing is that for all the northern/Sikh stereotypes the only Sikh bowlers who've had much success for India have been spinners. #Bhajji #Maninder #Bedi

Moving on, all the discussion in the village has been about power and athleticism. Meanwhile, in the gora practice game, someone just said "line & length". #stereotypes

And the umpire just called the end of day's play, even though it's clear from the length of the shadows that it's the middle of the afternoon. #lazy

From 1860 to 1916, the British army required every soldier to have a moustache. Meanwhile, this guy... #rebel

Still better than Razzaq

Enter the mystery spinner (with the Untouchable quota). How could we possibly have a desi vs. gora matchup without a mystery spinner, right?

I really think the bat on the shoulder thing should have been incorporated by someone in international cricket in the following years. It looks really cool man.

Even though it is always presented as an underdog story, but this is a story about professionalism. The guys who'd been training for three months to beat the amateurs. Quelle surprise!

Still, 80 mins left in the movie and we finally reach match day. Which means the film version of this match is going to be as long as T20 innings.

Sunbaked pitch, more time to prepare and a partisan crowd. Wonder if any of the other villagers undermined this win saying to Bhuvan later: "anyone can win at home."

I'd completely forgot this was a three-day match... with one innings each... that goes to the last ball... How does that even work?

Captain Russell wins the toss and decides to bat first... I'm assuming PTI fans will say he did that because he was following Imran's advice.

Bhuvan has a wide slip in place for the new ball. Baz McCullum would be proud. #aggressive #funky

Spinner with the new ball. How quintessentially desi... #JusticeForMartinCrowe

Not only do the villagers catch like Razzaq, one of them even runs in like him... wait, was Abdul Razzaq the inspiration for this movie?

The first wicket falls... you can see where Shadab got his celebration for the Kohli catch from.

Then the goras complain, and there's a discussion over the legality of the bowling action of a desi bowler. There's so much this movie gets right about cricket.

Who made these gloves? What are they made of? Did they have oven mitts in 19th century Gujarat? So many questions.

Proper freaking fielding from the home side (or is it the away side). This would be the last time a desi team would field well for a hundred years.

Day 1 ends at 182/2... considering over 220 runs would be scored on each of the following days, did the goras bat too slow on day 1? Were their discussions about this after the game? Did anyone complain that the top order batted like they were in the 19th century?

Night of day 1, and it turns out that one of the guys sold his team out. As said, so much this movie gets right about cricket. Even down to the mob going after that guy... or his immediate acceptance back in the team after just one apology.

The next day: that same guy who had been a traitor, and had dropped two catches on day 1, is now doing this stuff. The basis of so much desi understanding of cricket: skill doesn't matter, only your intention should be clear.

Captain Russell gets to his hundred with a sweep shot. Proper 360-degree player. AB De Villiers, eat your heart out.

The new batsman in, slip in place, leg spinner bowling. And so the haal begins. As it so often does. #theFirstHaal

Thumb aside, that's a pretty decent grip for an inswinger, right?

By the way, this guy is my favourite character in the whole movie. He's my spirit animal.

Same dude.

The most obvious evidence of haal is when poor fielders suddenly stop being so. From 295/3 to 322 all out, that's some Pakistan in England in 1992 level shit right here.

Why this can’t be a Pakistani film: only an Indian team would celebrate with such gusto for 322 all out. Pakistanis would be worried about chasing 122, let alone 322.

The two most used bowlers also get to open the batting too. You do this even in gully (street) cricket and people start complaining.

Bhuvan just told everyone that they need to stay calm and play watchfully. Then this is what he does to the first ball he faces. For over a century afterwards Pakistani captains would follow his antics here.

"Sambhal ke Bhuvan, sambhal ke"... the look every Pakistani has while their team is batting.

If there had been a third umpire, Bhuvan would've been dismissed right here. Another reminder – you always need luck.

The birth of the bandwagon fan.

Deva's look after getting out draws inspiration from the work of Umar Akmal.

There's sledging, and there's "we will take three times as much tax from you"... Even Aussies wouldn't be nasty enough to say that.

This is what is referred to in cricket as a play and miss.

Bhuvan opened and scored 20 of the first 99 runs. Fortunately, the villagers weren't cricket aware enough to say to him "teri tuk tuk ki wajah se baqi out hoye hain."

In fairness though, everyone's getting out while the leader holds one end. For any Indian fan in the 90s, this surely would've been familiar.

Rule number 1 of desi fandom: when you're getting screwed in the match, start praying.

The man has the fitness of Inzamam and Bhuvan's out here making him run threes. Obviously, he was gonna get run out. No game awareness. #poorManManagement

Guess who invented the switch hit.

and the dil-scoop

Ismail scores a 50 with a broken foot, and the only way they can get him out is with a Mankad. True hero. Also, India is ridding Vinoo Mankad of this association. #gorasDidItFirst

Keeper misses an easy run out with 24 required off 15. Then another in the last over... Full Saqlain/Moin in Antigua scene right here.

What Ravi Jadeja should've done for Hardik Pandya in the Champions Trophy final. #GameAwareness #TeamMan

No ball on the last ball of the match!? Pretty sure Yardley was a South African based on his level of choke.

And finally: Miandad.