Recently, AR Rahman shared a picture of a Zoom call that he was part of and netizens instantly went gaga over it. It was a reunion picture of the cast and crew of the iconic Hindi movie Lagaan. The movie completed 20 years last week and this viral picture made everyone nostalgic. The movie was a cinematic gem and upon its release, it was quick to catch the imagination of the country.
It received a thunderous response across the country and was also nominated to the Oscars in 2002 under the Best Foreign Language Film category. The story of a few Indian poor villagers coming together and learning cricket to go on and beat their formidable British colonizers (also the inventors of the sport) resonated with almost every Indian.
The movie may have got its emotions and story spot on, but looking back at the cricketing aspect, one realizes that many rules were floated in the final game of the movie. We look at five such incidents in the movie where there was a flaw in the way the game was played. We shall restrict this strictly in the technical sphere and shall not comment on the liberties taken by the makers for creative purposes.
#6 ball over
In the match between the Indians and the Britishers, each over has been shown to have six balls. In 1893, which is when this movie was set in, the English followed a five-ball over. The six balls over were only introduced in 1900 and therefore, it was erroneous to show players in Lagaan bowling six-ball overs.
#Front-foot no ball
When the bowler’s bowl during the match the umpires are extremely circumspect as to where the bowler lands his feet. The first wicket claimed by the Indians is disallowed, and later, more significantly, the Britishers are made to re-bowl the last ball. However, the front-foot no-ball rule was not introduced until 1962, seven decades after the Lagaan match.
The first wicket for the Indian team falls when a drive-by Bhuvan (Aamir Khan) is deflected onto the stumps at the non-striker’s end by the British bowler to catch Deva (Pradeep Rawat) out of his ground. Arjan (Akhilendra Misra) walks out as the No. 3. What is surprising is that he walks straight to the striker’s end and faces the bowler. This was an error on part of the movie production team who should have continued to show Bhuvan on strike.
#Using the bat twice to hit a shot
The quirky Guran (Rajesh Vivek) starts his innings by popping the ball up with his bat and then smashing it for six. This was technically wrong since at that time hitting the ball twice with the bat for the same delivery was adjudged illegal. The laws drafted as early as 1744 stipulated that a batsman would be out if he hit the ball twice.
Another flaw with the production team was that near the end of the match a kid walks out to bat with Bhuvan. He attempts to run before the ball is bowled by the bowler in order to quickly complete the run. While doing this, the bowler Mankads him and he is given out. The error being, before being Mankaded, India needed 28 runs off 17 balls and after the Mankad, the equation is reduced to 28 off 16 balls. The extra ball should not have been counted and the equation should have continued to be 28 runs off 17 balls.