The year Forrest Gump swept the Oscars, there were many competitors, including Shawshank Redemption, Lion King, and Pulp Fiction. And if you look at how well these movies have aged, I would say Forrest Gump’s likeability has only gone down over the years. It feels a bit cheesy when you rewatch it after all these years. So when someone decides to remake a film released almost three decades ago, we would certainly expect a fix in writing. But the Aamir Khan remake, Laal Singh Chaddha, is only successful in transporting the story to an Indian backdrop.
The story is about Laal Singh Chaddha, who has a lower IQ than other people of his age. But his mother always told him not to feel inferior. The story of Laal Singh Chaddha shows how this man with a low IQ managed to survive in a cruel world by being empathetic.
Frankly, you won’t hate watching Laal Singh Chaddha because the movie keeps us guessing as the setting is different. Atul Kulkarni, who has written the Indian adaptation of the film, is trying to incorporate the events that happened in India’s history post-emergency. When the movie entered that phase where operation Blue Star was shown, I kind of felt a sense of excitement because you could feel them reworking the script. But that fire runs out too quickly. Almost every event that happens after we see the adult Laal feels hasty. The running that occurs in Forrest Gump had a smooth entry in the screenplay, and those sarcastic undertones worked. If someone who hasn’t watched Forrest Gump sees this film, they would feel that phase as an absolutely bizarre detour.
In terms of reducing the melodrama, I think Advait Chandan has done a great job. When I watched Forrest Gump a few months ago, I imagined how certain scenes and dialogues would feel in Laal Singh Chaddha, and luckily the level of cringe I anticipated was not there in the movie. The writing is the fundamental problem with the film. It almost feels like Atul Kulkarni selected the events to be included in the movie from our history but forgot to polish the screenplay to blend it with the whole narrative. The tweaks they have made from the original, like how Lieutenant Dan Taylor’s character was reimagined, look attractive as an idea. But how the screenplay expands in that subplot doesn’t really move you. I also liked the idea of finishing the movie by showing Laal as a competent individual like his mom. But then again, the stretched-out writing kills the warmth. The background score feels a lot Hollywoodish (it definitely works). And the songs were also excellent from Pritam.
Perfectionist Aamir Khan has overdone the character. If you look at the younger version of Laal, you would undoubtedly know that he is an odd child, but he seems a lot more real. When Aamir Khan becomes Laal, the mannerisms feel a lot strained, and you feel like asking him to reduce the pitch. Kareena Kapoor Khan as Rupa got the nuances of the character perfectly and helped the movie a lot in defining the bond between Rupa and Laal. Mona Singh was great as Laal’s mother, and the performance of Manav Vij was also commendable. Naga Chaitanya as Bala very much made his character a caricature, and it was difficult to picture Bala as an influential person in Laal’s life.
Laal Singh Chaddha is full of highs and lows. Some scenes would work because of the emotional elements, while some sequences would fall flat. Certain tweaks they have made to incorporate Indian history look appreciable, while some don’t make much of an impact. Remaking Forrest Gump always demanded writing that was superior to the original, and Laal Singh Chaddha couldn’t really attain that.
Remaking Forrest Gump always demanded writing that was superior to the original, and Laal Singh Chaddha couldn't really attain that.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended