The story starts by Laal (Aamir Khan) travelling on a train to Chandigarh and starting to narrate his journey from a low-witted boy wearing leg-braces to the front-page celebrity of a famous magazine. Because of his low IQ, he becomes an object of ridicule in school. Laal grows up with just one person Rupa (Kareena Kapoor Khan) who actually gets him after his mother Gurpreet (Mona Singh). She is separated from her husband and raises Laal alone in the village of Karoli near Pathankot, Punjab. 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 casting couch was prominently prevailing.
A heartbroken Laal joins the army, because of his tiger running speed & meets 2 more friends he adds to the extremely short list of people he cares for, Bala (Naga Chaitanya), and Mohammad (Manav Vij). Post Army how does Laal survives his life & his reunion with his one true childhood love Rupa is what the rest of the story is all about.
LAAL SINGH CHADDHA is an Indian adaptation of FORREST GUMP . Atul Kulkarni’s adapted screenplay is not so impressive. The only achievement of the writer is that the story has been Indianized beautifully. The screenplay is stretched and could have been shortened. Dialogues of the film are framed with easy to go language, but it could not give any memorable or whistle blower lines.
Advait Chandan’s direction is neat but failed to deliver impactful scenes. Only a few scenes can be categorized as well executed. The film’s biggest culprit is the second half, with a heavy and stretched run time. The remake is longer than FORREST GUMP by nearly 22 minutes and one can feel that length in the second half. Several scenes test the patience of the viewers and the makers should have trimmed the length for a better impact. We definitely seek for better editing skills in such a big and over hyped project. The romantic track looks cute in a few places but overall, it’s not entirely convincing. The way story is presented, becomes difficult for the viewers to digest, and the treatment of the plot is surely not for the mass audiences.
Pritam’s music is soothing to the ears but none of the songs will have a long shelf life. ‘Kahani’ is the best song of the lot. ‘Tur Kalleyan’ works as it comes at an important juncture. ‘Main Ki Karaan’, ‘Phir Na Aisi Raat Aayegi’ and ‘Tere Hawaale’ fail to leave a huge mark.
Mona Singh as Laal’s mother, becomes a victim of a clumsy adaption. The zeal and confidence she instils in Forrest are defeated by the typical Maa concept in Laal Singh Chaddha – shielding her son from all the communal riots that ripped India apart in the 80s and 90s by teaching him ‘desh mein malaria faila hua hai’. Of all the Indianisation the plot goes through, Kareena’s Rupa, adapted from Robin Wright’s Jenny in the original, was perhaps the starkest. It was almost as if the makers knew Jenny, in her original form, wouldn’t win the audience’s sympathy. In order to make her more ‘likeable’, she was made ‘vegetarian’, so to speak. The worst thing about Laal Singh Chaddha is Aamir Khan. It is ironic that the actor known for being Mr. Perfectionist acts with so much imperfection. The film is ruined by Aamir’s caricaturist acting. Aamir took almost a decade to prepare for the character and for other tasks related to film, still the outcome is a disaster. The best way to understand how horribly wrong Aamir went with his over-the-top acting is by seeing the acting of character actors in the film, who keep on catching the viewer’s attention with every scene. Kareena Kapoor Khan’s Ruby is nowhere near to Jenny as a character as Atul Kulkarni has mellowed her down to the core. Shahrukh Khan’s cameo was relatively better to see, but will not go with you once you are out of the theatre.
Perhaps if Aamir had surrounded himself with lesser actors, his performance would have looked better in comparison. Perhaps if the makers hadn’t really called it the official Hindi adaptation of Forrest Gump, Laal Singh Chaddha would have appealed more. On the whole, Laal Singh Chaddha is a dull and over-indulgent project which will find some appreciation among the classes mainly but will not find favour with the masses. To be blunt, no aspect of film making actually worked for it.