Lagaan actor Yashpal Sharma was ready to play Lakha for ₹20,000 but got paid ₹2 lakh instead
This year, Aamir Khan's cricket-themed movie Lagaan will complete 20 years of its release. The Ashutosh Gowariker directorial movie starred many actors, one of which was Yashpal Sharma. The actor, who essayed the role of Lakha, recently revealed that he was ready to be a part of the Aamir Khan movie at a bare minimum pay owing to no work.
Speaking with Indianexpress.com, Yashpal Sharma revealed that after he auditioned for Ashutosh Gowariker and was selected, he was asked to meet Aamir Khan's then-wife Reena Dutta, who was the producer of Lagaan, to discuss his remuneration.
"I thought I’ll demand ₹1 lakh since it’s a big production. Then I thought what if they refuse and sign someone else. I came down to 80,000 rupees in my head. Ultimately I thought I’ll lock it at ₹50,000. Also because I had no work, I knew I would’ve still done it in ₹20,000. Finally, when I met Reena Dutta, she told me their budget was limited and they were paying ₹1.5 lakh to every actor. I just blabbered that I wanted ₹2 lakh at least, and she agreed. I was shocked and also happy that I got double than what I expected,” Yashpal said.
Yashpal also confessed that when he first received a call from Aamir's production office, he thought it was a prank. "Lagaan’s casting had already been done. It was only in the end that I got a call from Aamir Khan Productions. I thought someone was playing a prank. But I got to know Ashutosh Gowariker wanted to see me," he said, before he added, "I’ll never forget that because you won’t find a director who’s injected the story so deeply inside him, that he didn’t even look at the script,” he said.
Lagaan received several acclaims, including a nomination at the Oscars in the Best Foreign Language Film category. It remains the last Indian film to have been nominated at the Oscars, in that category. The movie has received praises from international celebrities, including Robert Downey Jr and James Gunn.