Star Cast: Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Mona Singh, Naga Chaitanya, Manav Vij, Shah Rukh Khan (cameo)
Director: Advait Chandan
What’s Good: That it is not ‘translated’ from the original, it owns a unique identity & that it doesn’t ‘try hard’ to be Forrest Gump & is Laal Singh Chaddha
What’s Bad: While trying not to be Forrest Gump, it actually misses some key elements adding what wasn’t really needed
Loo Break: Yes, because it’s a lengthy film, not boring
Watch or Not?: Only if you’re not really affected by the plethora of misleading information floating on the social media
Available On: Theatrical Release
Runtime: 159 minutes
Laal Singh Chaddha (Aamir Khan) is that passenger on your train who has a lot of stories to tell, even if you don’t want to be part of it. That’s how the story starts by Laal making the viewers the co-passengers on a train to Chandigarh and starting to narrate his journey from a dim-witted guy wearing leg-braces to the front-page celebrity of a famous magazine. Laal grows up with just one person Rupa (Kareena Kapoor Khan) who actually gets him after his mother (Mona Singh).
Rupa, being Laal’s biggest supporter, chooses a different way to grow up and shifts to Mumbai for being an actress in a time when the casting couch was more famous than Koffee With Karan’s. A heartbroken Laal joins the army, thanks to his lightning-fast running speed & meets 2 more friends he adds to the extremely short list of people he gives a f*** about – Bala (Naga Chaitanya), and Mohammad (Manav Vij). Bala, a batchmate turned close friend in the army, won’t reveal much about Mohammad as it’s a treat to witness. Post Army how does Laal survives his life & will he ever be able to reunite with his one true childhood love Rupa is what the rest of the story is all about.
Laal Singh Chaddha Movie Review: Script Analysis
Veteran actor Atul Kulkarni wrote this script 14 years ago after getting inspired by Forrest Gump, Aamir Khan took 8 years to grab the official rights to adapt this one & many won’t even take 14 seconds to call this trash after watching the misleading videos about how this film targets Hinduism & is being softer on Muslims. Yep, they’ll call it off without even watching the film & that’s the sad state we’re currently going through as a film industry. Nope, I’m not saying ‘more time invested’ is the reason why you should watch this film, I’m just saying don’t skip watching this for reasons you don’t even know the context to.
Back to the topic: Atul Kulkarni takes an interesting route of ‘Indianising’ Forrest Gump with some twists & tweaks here and there. Chocolates become Gol Gappe, a druggie ‘anti-war’ activist Jenny turns into Rupa, an aspiring actress getting sucked into the dark side of the Indian film industry & Bubba’s shrimp obsession becomes Bala’s love for chaddi-banyan. There are a couple of brilliant changes which actually stand on their own giving it a unique characteristic and cleverly separating it from Forrest Gump.
The flaws of the original also burden this one as the length at times doesn’t justify the amount of content viewers consume during that time. Hemanti Sarkar should’ve used scissors more often than not when it comes to editing the film. Also, the way history of the nation is portrayed is majorly through television (apart from that one blockbuster cameo & Laal getting awarded by the President) & which pinched me a bit. Kulkarni should’ve explored the mis-mash of Laal’s life with the history of the nation more than he did.
Satyajit Pande’s cinematography is also one of the reasons why this is more than just an adaptation of a Hollywood film. Be it the sunlight cutting through a bunch of trees to the shaky disturbance of the Kargil War, Satyajit knows how to make every frame look a little more beautiful than it could be.
Laal Singh Chaddha Movie Review: Star Performance
First things first, Shah Rukh Khan’s cameo is embedded into the story well making it more than just a ‘sake of it’ special appearance as seen many-a-times in Bollywood & it’ll indeed be an emotional moment for SRK’ians to watch him in all his elements on the big screen after so long.
Aamir Khan proves how a similar act can be so poles apart, after failing miserably in Dhoom 3 due to the script and winning it here for the same reason. Yes, he does not possess Hanks’ level of subtlety in expressing his emotions but he surely adds that extra layer of charm with the pleasant aura his smile creates. The problem of ‘over-expressing’ gets eliminated in the emotional scene where Aamir is anyway expected to bring this A-game and he does the same.
Kareena Kapoor Khan’s Ruby is nowhere near to Jenny as a character (not the performance) as Atul Kulkarni has mellowed her down to the core. Jenny childhood abuse, and her PTSD phase gave the character a different perspective & that’s majorly missing from Rupa. But, Kareena leaves no stone unturned to overcome all those flaws through her impeccable performance.
Mona Singh adds the desiness in the exact required amount to make Laal’s ‘mummy’ the person he’s always talking about. You see Mona Singh in the film & you know she’s the lady that has explained the ‘Gol Gappe’ analogy to Laal.
Naga Chaitanya’s Bala doesn’t really get the desired treatment to match the magic of Bubba. Naga tries really hard to match Bubba’s innocence through his actions but couldn’t due to his lazy character sketch. Manav Vij is a surprise element who fills in the gap of the lack of chemistry between Laal-Bala with his character. Vij has acted brilliantly to honour Kulkarni and Advait Chandan’s vision for his character.
Laal Singh Chaddha Movie Review: Direction, Music
Post Secret Superstar, I was damn sure Advait Chandan was the perfect choice to handle all the drama in Forrest Gump’s Hindi remake & he has achieved that with flying colours. The problem is the other genre this film heavily relies on i.e. comedy. Chandan misses the mark in flourishing the humour of the film & that bites you at places.
Tanuj Tiku’s background score remains to be a delight throughout the film, it’s minimal and never interferes with the watching experience. Pritam’s songs are the soul of the film for me. After a long time, there has come a film that actually respects the placement of the songs. Tur Kalleyan’s “Lamhon mein aaye, lamhon mein gumm, mere huye ho hisson mein tum” attains the status of being one of the best-placed lines in the movies. Kahani, Phir Na Aisi Raat, Tere Hawale, each song is a gem & placed beautifully to stay with you even after you leave the cinema hall.
Laal Singh Chaddha Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Laal Singh Chaddha is much more than a tribute to Forrest Gump. It has its unique characteristics which also include some flaws but overall, a great attempt at retelling a classic story in your way.
Three and a half stars!
Laal Singh Chaddha Trailer
Laal Singh Chaddha releases on 11 August, 2022.
Share with us your experience of watching Laal Singh Chaddha.
Not into emotional dramas? Read our Darlings Movie Review to dive into something crazy.