Laal Singh Chaddha narrates his incredible story on the train to the nearby passengers as he travels to meet the love of his life.
Laal Singh Chaddha is the official adaptation of the Oscar-winning film ‘Forrest Gump‘ with Aamir Khan returning to the silver screen after a gap of four years to play the Indian version of Tom Hanks‘ most memorable and one of Hollywood’s iconic roles ever.
So obviously, considering what ‘Forrest Gump’ means to the audience and the reputation it has built for decades being the darling of the global audience, there was immense pressure on Aamir Khan and the crew to put on a show that gives at least half-decent remake of the original classic. Most regrettably, Laal Singh Chaddha stands nowhere close to an average crafted film, forget about being a remake.
It is a classic disaster thanks to Aamir Khan that the mighty collapses right from the beginning when he opens his mouth to speak to the passenger on the train. It is no surprise that the center of satisfaction from the film rests on Aamir Khan’s shoulders. What surprises me is the actor, Mr. Perfectionist, who is well-known for his original takes on some interesting characters he has played throughout his career, is attempting to imitate Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump instead of bringing his own method. And in this process, Aamir Khan is neither convincing the audience nor appealing. And this is one of the major reasons for the film’s box-office failure.
When you listen to his Punjabi accent, it clearly sounds that something is not right. Aamir is certainly not the right choice for a Punjabi character and that was visible in Rang de Basanti. And then the younger version of Laal that he acted, it was like watching Aamir in ‘3 Idiots‘ and ‘PK‘. Same facial expressions and performance. And it is disappointing that an actor known for perfectly adjusting himself to the character has given identical performances in not one but three different films. In the younger version, he looked more mentally unstable than he was as a child. Extreme overacting.
WRITING NEXT TO NONSENSE!
The entire continuity questions the credibility of the screenwriting which is second to nonsense. Spreading humor in a drama for average entertainment is acceptable if executed well. But here, I feel as if the director was confused about how to justify the remake and connect the dots. First, he ridiculed India’s historic timeline to settle Laal’s stupendous journey to legacy. Second, he overstretched the plot and suffocated the audience in an awful second half. And third, the entire film looks like a Google translation.
Laal’s childhood highlights India’s state of Emergency under former PM Indira Gandhi, India’s World Cup winning moment occurs minutes later, and then the Anti-Sikh riots in Amritsar. If you have watched the film with active brains, you will realize that these three incidents occurred in different years. The emergency event happened in the mid-70s, India won the World Cup in 1983 and the riots occurred the next year. So how is the young boy Laal Singh Chaddha not growing for approximately eight to nine years? Or if the director is depicting that all three events happened one after the other which is more silly. In both cases, there is a big hole in the writing.
I must mention the supporting character of Bala played by Naga Chaitanya in his Hindi debut. It must have to be the most annoying character of 2022 or maybe of recent years. Playing the original role of Bubba from Forrest Gump, it was sickening to watch him repeat his passion for undergarments and remake scene-to-scene from the original source.
When you remake an original source, the writing demands a re-introduction on a whole new level of presentation expecting that the writer will come up with a thoughtful story adapting from the original idea. But here, Laal Singh Chaddha shows no intention to play a different beat. Besides adjusting Laal’s life story with the Indian side of historical moments, almost every plot development, almost every scene is straight from ‘Forrest Gump’. And this is one of the reasons why the audience disliked the film. The writer made absolutely no effort in coming up with their own idea to revise the whole plot.
WHAT A MISS!
In order to settle Laal’s life story with some historic moments, the film shows how the local boy of Delhi become a megastar in Bollywood with Shah Rukh Khan playing his own role. It was funny that his iconic arms-stretched-out pose was joked to be inspired by Laal. But what I want to complain about is a big miss. Amongst the three major Khans, the two who have never shared the screen as the lead or starred in the same film are Shah Rukh and Aamir. Salman Khan has starred with both of them in the past. And Shah Rukh and Aamir shared the screen for a few seconds in a cameo in Ashutosh Gowariker‘s “Pehla Nasha“. Despite the fact that Aamir Khan is the producer of this film and roped in Shah Rukh to play a cameo, they still didn’t share the same screen. How idiotic! What a miss!
Yes, ironically there are a few pluses like Satyajit Pande‘s cinematography and Tanuj Tiku‘s background score. A couple of tracks were good too. The makers raised the issue of domestic abuse well. But the biggest plus of the film that impressed me was Mona Singh who played Laal Singh Chaddha’s mother. She was impressive throughout the film. Watch her, particularly in the scene of the riots.
So Laal Singh Chaddha has all the reasons to terribly fail at the box office and disappoint the audience. This has to be Aamir Khan’s worst performance in ages. He needs to become choosy again about the selection of his films because his recent run has been awful. Those who have never watched Forrest Gump can enjoy this translated version.
Was Laal Singh Chaddha that bad to be rejected in India? I don’t think so. We have watched worse Indian films than Laal Singh Chaddha. Then what happened?
I feel there was a particular hate campaign by the Hindu nationalists of the ruling party on a large scale that played its part. Back in 2015, Aamir Khan expressed his insecurity about living in India in one interview. That circulated before the film’s release.
The ruling party pushed its supporters to share more than 200,000 tweets demanding to boycott film with the hashtag ‘Boycott Laal Singh Chaddha’. That flamed severe hatred and due to this reason, Laal Singh Chaddha earned only ₹58.73 crore in India against a production budget of ₹180 crore.
But, if you observe the collections from abroad, those were far better than in India. You will be surprised to know that Laal Singh Chaddha became 2022’s highest-grossing Hindi film at the international box office and earned more than Gangubai Kathiawadi, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2, and ruling party’s all-time favorite ‘The Kashmir Files‘.
So yes, more than all the reasons I stated above, the hate campaign was a bigger reason that flopped the film.
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