Ashutosh Gowariker-directorial 'Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India' clocked 20 years on Tuesday. It was the third Indian film to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language category. The hit film, which featured superstar Aamir Khan in the lead role, failed to win the international award but it definitely brought mainstream Indian cinema on the global platform. On the occasion, Aamir Khan praised his ex-wife Reena Dutta, the producer of the film. He revealed that Reena had no interest in films prior to Lagaan, but soon became familiar with even the technical side of things so much that she scolded him for film.
Aamir Khan said that Reena and director Ashutosh Gowariker would often get into a fight over the making of the film. Once, she even scolded him for making a decision that caused a delay in filming, "Uss din itni daant padi," he said.
During a media interaction, Aamir said "The one thing that remains with me is the way Reena handled the film. She was the producer of the film. And she was somebody who had no understanding of cinema until then. Though she was married to me for a number of years, she wasn't interested in films. When I told her one night that I was producing it, and would need her help, she said, 'I don't know anything about film, what can I help you?'."
Aamir said that he encouraged her to try, and Reena promised him that she'd learn. "Usne I learn kya bol diya, usne pura seekh liya. She met Subhash Ghai, she met Manmohan Shetty, who runs the lab. She went to the lab and asked to be shown a negative, a sound negative, processing, printing, the full lab process. She went and met producers, directors, technicians, to understand what is filmmaking. And I told her I'm not going to tell you anything. So she learned on her own. She cracked it, and produced a film as if she's a veteran. And that's something that I'll remember always in my life," he added.
Speaking of 'Lagaan', the movie was released two decades ago on June 15. It revolved around a group of villagers who fight the Britishers for tax reduction via a cricket match. It's set in 1893, during the late Victorian period of India's colonial British Raj.
For those unversed, Aamir and Reena were married from 1986 to 2002. Together they have two children, Junaid and Ira Khan. Aamir is now married to filmmaker Kiran Rao.