Kiran Rao Recalled Reaching Lagaan Set On 4 AM, Made Toasts For ‘Gori Mem’ Actor Rachel Shelley: ‘Had A Masters From Jamia’

New Delhi: Filmmaker Kiran Rao reminisced about her time spent serving as assistant director on the contemporary masterpiece Lagaan, which starred her ex-husband Aamir Khan and was helmed by Ashutosh Gowariker. When Kiran was assigned to transport performers from makeup rooms to the set, she admitted that she would occasionally become disillusioned. She also remembered that Aamir had edited the movie to be four hours long, omitting all sequences involving cricket.

Kiran Rao on working in Lagaan

‘Lagaan’, which debuted in 2001 to great acclaim both critically and commercially, is still the only Indian movie to have received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Feature. In an interview with The Lallantop, Kiran stated that she would be arriving on site at 4:30 am and that her first task would be to prepare toasts for Rachel Shelley, who portrayed Elizabeth in the movie. 

“My job was to somehow get all the actors from makeup, hair, wardrobe to set. And in Lagaan, we had two cricket teams, plus everybody had beards, the women wore dresses. It was a nightmare. Before reaching set at 4-4:30 am, I’d be on my walkie telling them to put the toaster on. The actor who played Elizabeth wanted toast first thing in the morning.” She said in the same interaction.

On length of Lagaan

According to Kiran, the producer was the only one with a cell phone, and he could only obtain signal at one spot—a hillside close to the temple where some of the sequences were shot. When asked if, given her background in school and the work she was doing, she had ever experienced any “frustration” on set, Kiran responded, “ I would be sitting in the makeup room and wondering what I was doing with my Masters in Mass Communication from Jamia. But finally, everybody has to put in their hours in all these places. But you hope that one day you leave the makeup room and find a spot near the monitor. Unfortunately, I didn’t even get to see much of the shoot, I spent most of my time in the makeup room.”

They had no clue ‘Lagaan’ would grow to be as significant as it was, according to Kiran. Actually, the length worried them a great deal. With a running duration of 224 minutes, the picture is already rather lengthy, but Aamir oversaw an early cut that gave everyone the impression that they were dealing with a six-hour feature. Kiran added, “Aamir showed us one cut that was four hours long, without the cricket. Four hours! Without the cricket! We didn’t know how they’d cut it down. We thought that this would easily be a six-hour film.”

Kiran Rao has done better than days of ‘Lagaan’. 2010 saw the release of ‘Dhobi Ghat’, her first feature film as director. ‘Laapataa Ladies’, her most recent film, is presently receiving excellent reviews and audience response despite receiving a mixed commercial response when it opens in theatres.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top