June 13, 2021 10:49:53 am
Actor Aditya Lakhia, popularly known for playing Kachra in the cult film Lagaan, holds the role close to his heart even today. Ahead of the Ashutosh Gowariker film’s 20th anniversary on June 15, the actor gets candid about why he believes his character stood out among the powerful ensemble cast, headed by Aamir Khan.
Kachra was an untouchable and a socially rejected man who gets picked up by Aamir Khan’s Bhuvan as the eleventh player in the cricket team against the British. Kachra’s struggle to fit in the team becomes symbolic of his social struggle. A spinner, Kachra ends up taking a hattrick and even plays a crucial ball to give a lead to the team.
“Though every character was equally brilliant, but my character stood out because of the issue of untouchability, a man with a polio-affected hand. Then I take the hattrick. I also give Aamir the last batting stance in winning. Though I had three major scenes, there were a lot of highs in my character,” recalls Aditya.
On the sets of Lagaan in Bhuj, each team member had their own dummy house built based on their profession (blacksmith, potter, farmer, woodcutter etc), to ensure the entire look of the village is authentic, where the actors had to spend their day. Even Kachra had a small hut outside the village. “Although we didn’t shoot there, but I had to go and stay there throughout the day. I wasn’t allowed to come to the village. I got my tea-coffee there,” Aditya said.
A spinner in the team, Kachra used his weak hand to ball in a peculiar fashion. Aditya shared that he had practiced it during the workshops before Lagaan went on floors in January 2000.
“My batting and bowling stance and my hand position were designed. But the acting bit in my first scene wasn’t. There, I performed. I was so into the character,” he said.
His introduction scene in the film, also his first shot for Lagaan, was the real challenge. “In the script, Kachra joins the team last. I was also the last person to start shooting. All the other character entries were done much before me, although I was in Bhuj and had to be on the set every single day in my costume.”
Aditya further revealed that because of his late entry, nobody from the actual crowd really knew about him, apart from the cast. “Nobody was talking to me because I hadn’t made an entry. And I was so scared because the cast had been shooting for a month and a half. So that fear came across very well in that scene when Bhuvan fights to bring me into the team. Even today, when I walk on the street, people call me Kachra. Sometimes, even unknowingly, when I hear this word, I look around.”
Lagaan also starred Gracy Singh, AK Hangal, Paul Blackthorne, Rachel Shelley, Suhasini Mulay, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, apart from the eleven actors who formed the cricket team of Champaner.