‘My first Hindi scene was in front of 100 villagers’
British actor Paul Blackthorne, known as Quentin Lance of Arrow to global TV audiences, had a “life-changing” experience playing Capt. Andrew Russell in Lagaan, the Oscarnominated film that released on this day 16 years ago.
Blackthorne has a vivid memory of shooting for the film, directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, starring Aamir Khan. “I remember Aamir’s grace, dignity and brilliance, and Ashutosh’s belief and passion. I remember Batman, my imperious horse. And finally, I remember the Gujarati people, who were amazing to spend time with for three months (at the shoot location),” says Blackthorne.
The plot was centred around a drought-stricken village’s fight to save itself from crippling taxes through a make-or-break game of cricket. That meant he had to learn playing cricket, too.
And Hindi, of course. It took three months to master the dialogues, with “a VERY patient, brilliant teacher!” Blackthorne adds, “My first Hindi scene was in front of about 100 villagers — after the take, they all cheered, and this imbued me with confidence!”
I thought, even if the film isn’t a success, at least I’ll be able to experience India — that was lifechanging in itself. The film being that successful turned out to be rather life-changing, too PAUL BLACKTHORNE, ACTOR