On this day, and exactly 20 years ago Bollywood had seen the clash between two mega movies; and both of them turned out to be blockbusters. Aamir Khan’s Lagaan, and Sunny Deol & Ameesha Patel starrer Gadar made the biggest release clash then, on 15 June 2001.
20 years ago… 15 June 2001 witnessed the biggest clash then: #Lagaan vs #Gadar… While the industry talk was clearly divided – some favouring #Gadar, some #Lagaan – the audience showered love on both films… And the love continues to pour in to this date. #AamirKhan #SunnyDeol pic.twitter.com/KneYVKMVbG— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) June 15, 2021
On 15 June 2001, Lagaan released worldwide, clashing with Gadar: Ek Prem Katha starring Sunny Deol and Ameesha Patel in the lead. Receiving widespread critical acclaim, national awards and awards at international film festivals, Lagaan became the third Indian film which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film after Mother India (1957) and Salaam Bombay! (1988). Both the movies were a big budget movie, and bagged several awards including Filmfare awards; like best actor male and nominations for best actress and more.
Let’s see the lesser known facts about the Biggest Rivals of that time:
Lagaan as well as Gadar: Ek Prem Katha, both are epic movies of the Bollywood Industry, and have had a mark on the audience since its release. And it was the third clash between Aamir and Sunny Deol after Dil vs Ghayal (22 June 1990) and Raja Hindustani vs Ghatak(15 November 1996).
Lagaan : Once Upon A Time in India
The movie, Lagaan was Aamir Khan’s first ever movie that was produced by him. Although Aamir wasn’t the first choice for the movie, Ashutosh Gowarikar approached Abhishek Bachchan for the role at first. But Bachchan chose to make his debut with Refugee(2000). Furthermore, Aamir wasn’t convinced at first, but after going through the dialogued final script he was on board. But with no producers meeting the demands, Gowariker asked Aamir if he could produce it; and Aamir agreed as he had faith in the movie and Ashutosh.
The shooting of Lagaan took place in a village called Bhuj; and Aamir had made a promise to its local to screen the film for them before its worldwide release. And he fulfilled it too. It was first Indian movie to have a release in China and a dubbed version was released in Italy.
The movie also released with respective vernacular subtitles in United States, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Africa and the Middle East; receiving worldwide recognition.
The climax of Lagaan: Once Upon a time in India shot in a crowd of 10,000! To create that kind of crowd, villagers from neighbouring villagers came, to make the scene look realistic and extra-ordinary.
In reality, the British side won the match. Behind the scenes, the Britishers were sure that would win and they did; but the script was in favour of the Indians winning the match.
There was a strict discipline for everyone working in and behind the scenes that they would be leaving at 5 am sharp. In fact one day Aamir was late for the bus that took them to the location, and it got him a lot of looks from other cast members.
Gadar : Ek Prem Katha
Ameesha Patel was chosen amongst 500 girls who auditioned for the role in Gadar. And the shyness of the character played by Sunny Deol was very much appreciated and it even helped him win the Best Actor of that year.
Lagaan had a budget of about 25 crores, whereas Gadar had a budget of about 19 crores.Domestically, Lagaan grossed ₹556.3 million ( which is equivalent to ₹1.8 billion or US$25 million in 2019) in India. Furthermore its domestic net income was ₹343.1 million, and is equivalent to ₹1.87 billion.And Gadar: Ek Prem Katha has an estimated earning of ₹1.33 billion.
Loosely based on the real life story
Gadar : Ek Prem Katha is loosely based on the real life story of Boota Singh. He was an ex-soldier who saved a Muslim girl, Zainaab during the riots during the partition in 1947. He fell in love with her, and they both had a tragic love story.
The movie was primarily shot in Shimla and Dalhousie. The scene where they show Lahore, Pakistan , in reality it was in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, in India itself.
Gadar : Ek Prem Katha is the third most-watched film in India, from the 1990s after Hum Aapke Hain Koun and Bahubali 2. It has recorded 50 million footfalls in India.
At the time of it’s release, Gadar earned Rs 140 crores, and if it is compared to 2017 times, it will gross upto 500 crores. The film also set a record as it released in over 350 screens at the time.
Furthermore Kajol was the first choice for Gadar : Ek Prem Katha, but she rejected it due to date issues.