Laal Singh Chaddha (2022): The Disastrous Adaptation of Tom Hanks’ “Forrest Gump”

Robert Zemeckis’ 1994 romantic comedy Forrest Gump now has its Hindi adapted version in the form of “Laal Singh Chaddha”! Starring Bollywood’s veteran superstar Aamir Khan in the titular role of Laal Singh Chaddha, this romantic comedy-drama has been produced by Aamir Khan himself and directed by Advait Chandan. It theatrically released worldwide on August 11, 2022.

Laal Singh Chaddha is the verbalization of Forrest Gump’s musings on life, morality, and destiny. This in fact is Bollywood’s “energized” remake of Forrest Gump which conveyed matters in a soft and unspoken manner.

Featuring Aamir Khan as Laal Singh Chaddha and Kareena Kapoor as his crush Rupa

Laal Singh Chaddha (2022) Synopsis:

If you are already familiar with the story of Forrest Gump which released in 1994, I need not narrate this movie’s plot to you because it is entirely the same! Even the scenes showcased in this movie are exactly similar to those in Forrest Gump, and have been sequenced in a similar pattern. The only difference is that the role of Tom Hanks has been carried out by Aamir Khan, and Robin Wright’s role has been played by Kareena Kapoor.

Through Laal Singh Chaddha’s perspective, you will experience events in Indian history unfold throughout the movie. Laal Singh happens to be a dim-witted man who has a great understanding of emotions. His only desire is to be reunited with his childhood crush Rupa, who is a struggling actress in Bollywood. Will Laal Singh’s fate allow him to be reunited with Rupa, forms the base of the story.

Laal Singh Chaddha (2022) Official Trailer:

The Good:

Beautiful Cinematography

Laal Singh Chaddha has a wonderful cinematography done by Satyajit Pande. The film has been shot across different locations in India, and some of the locations and their landscapes are breathtaking. The backgrounds and landscapes are so beautiful that you would agree to the fact that their picturization is similar to that of a picture postcard!

Child actor Ahmad Ibn Umar as young Laal Singh Chaddha

Heart-Touching Yet Funny Dialogues

If you do not understand the Punjabi language, the dialogues of Laal Singh Chaddha won’t appeal to you because many dialogues in this movie are in Punjabi. So here, I will narrate some heart-touching yet funny Punjabi dialogues from this movie and translate them to English.

An inspiring dialogue from the movie goes, “Dil Changa Te Sab Changa” meaning, “Everything becomes lively if you are lively at heart”. Another funny one goes, “Meri Mummy Kahati Thi Ki Zindagi Golgappe Jaisi Hondi Hain. Pet Palehi Parjawe, Mann Nahi Bharta!” which means, “My mother used to say that life is like a Golgappa (a type of Indian snack). Even if you eat to your fullest, your craving for it still remains”.

A very thought-provoking dialogue from this movie is, “Mummy Kahati Thi Ki Har Ek Ki Apni Taqdeer Hondi Hain, Ki Sara Kuch Likhiya Honda Hain” meaning, “My mother used to say that every person has his or her own destiny, which is predetermined”. These dialogues where Laal Singh remembers his mother’s words also showcase his everlasting affection for his deceased mother.

The Bad:

A Mindlessly Adapted Screenplay

Laal Singh Chaddha is the official Hindi remake of Hollywood’s 1994 romantic comedy Forrest Gump featuring Tom Hanks. The Indian adaptation of the screenplay has been written by Atul Kulkarni. Kulkarni has also written the dialogues for this film.

Mona Singh as Laal Singh Chaddha’s mother

The screenplay of Laal Singh Chaddha has been highly stretched. The 2-hour 20-minute screenplay of Forrest Gump has been extended to cover a duration of 2 hours and 40 minutes by adding extra scenes. So when Forrest Gump as a romantic comedy was so boring then how can one possibly tolerate an extended version of it in the form of Laal Singh Chaddha? In Forrest Gump, if Forrest (Tom Hanks) met his crush Jenny (Robin Wright) one time then in Laal Singh Chaddha, Laal Singh (Aamir Khan) meets his sweetheart Rupa (Kareena Kapoor) five times. In Forrest Gump if Tom Hanks ran with a football one time, here Aamir Khan runs with a football ten times! In short, the screenplay of Forrest Gump has been stretched out like a chewing gum in Laal Singh Chaddha with irrelevant scenes.

The scene opens and we see a feather floating for quite some time till it lands on Laal Singh’s feet who is seated inside a train. Laal Singh picks up the feather, looks at it, and starts narrating his life story to his fellow passengers inside the train. So, upon watching the starting scene itself you will be able to feel how boring the rest of the movie can be. As Laal Singh starts narrating his story to the passengers, his conversation style and body language will surely make you feel that this person is crazy! I have a question for the filmmakers. When Laal Singh Chaddha has been depicted as a mentally challenged guy, what was the necessity to portray him as a Sardaar? Do you want to prove that Sardaars are funny and crazy at the same time?

This “no logic” screenplay of Laal Singh Chaddha shows Laal Singh to be a handicapped and mentally retarded kid who one day packs up all his energy and enthusiasm. He breaks free from his leg calipers, and starts running. This mental patient grows up and even joins the Indian Army! I would like to make the filmmakers aware that the Indian Army has no room for mentally retarded individuals. You have to be physically and mentally sound in order to join the Indian Army. So here, I feel that the story of Laal Singh Chaddha has been recreated by the filmmakers sans any logic.

Laal Singh Chaddha in his graduation ceremony

The screenplay of Laal Singh Chaddha has been extended unnecessarily in the favor of Pakistanis. The filmmakers might have wanted to show how good Pakistanis actually are. The mentally challenged Laal Singh after joining the Indian Army went to fight the Kargil War with Pakistan. Hundreds of Indian soldiers got injured during the war and Laal Singh is shown trying to save many of them. While rescuing the injured Indian soldiers, he happened to save an injured Pakistani soldier named Mohammad (Manav Vij) who as lying among them. After being admitted to the hospital, Mohammad’s both legs got amputated in order to save his life. Following this he is set free, and he starts living his life happily in India. The story reveals that the Indian military and intelligence agencies are least bothered that an “Anti-Indian” Pakistani who attacked India during the Kargil War is now roaming freely in the country without any legal documents.

Naga Chaitanya plays Laal Singh’s fellow soldier Bala during his tenure in the Indian Army. Bala tells Laal Singh that he wishes to resign from the Indian Army, and start an undergarment business. He even asks Laal Singh to do the same and become his business partner. Laal Singh accepted Bala’s offer. After Bala died in the war, Laal Singh resigned from the army and started his own undergarment business. And guess who his business partner was? It was none other than the Pakistani dude Mohammad who was after India’s blood a few moments back! Laal Singh knew how to design undergarments but he had poor marketing skills. So Mohammad became the marketer of his business, and together they made crores selling undergarments. What a terrific story!

The name of their undergarment brand was “Rupa” which is actually a very popular Indian undergarment brand. I personally feel that the Rupa undergarment brand has made a terrible mistake by associating itself with this disaster. However, I think that Laal Singh had named his undergarment business as “Rupa” because that was the name of his childhood sweetheart. But over here, that name coincided with a very popular Indian undergarment brand which is indeed shocking!

Laal Singh Chaddha serving in the Indian Army

After making crores, one day Mohammad decided to leave for Pakistan as he was missing his country. So he sets out for his country never to be seen again. The Indian government and national security agencies like NIA, RAW and CBI have absolutely no hint that a Pakistani was residing unofficially in the country for a long time, and has now left. As per this story, a Pakistani can come to India and go whenever he wants which is absolutely absurd! At least the filmmakers could have made some sense out of this story.

Kareena Kappor who plays Laal Singh’s crush Rupa has been depicted as an ambitious girl who wants to try her luck as a Bollywood actress. Rupa has friendzoned Laal Singh whereas Laal Singh loves her dearly. She has been shown getting used by the Bollywood industry’s filmmakers. She even became a mistress to one of them. Everybody knows this is what actually happens secretly in Bollywood! So over here, Laal Singh Chaddha has revealed the dark secret of the Bollywood industry. This film has revealed what happens to women who are struggling actresses in the Bollywood industry which I think is a serious degrading factor to the image of the Bollywood film industry.

Naga Chaitanya (Left) as Laal Singh Chaddha’s fellow soldier Bala

Now, Laal Singh’s mother (played by Mona Singh) died and his childhood sweetheart has become the mistress to a Bollywood biggie. So, out of frustration, Laal Singh sets out on a cross-country race covering the whole India for five long years. The amusing part is that while he is running, dozens of people from the public have been shown running along with him foolishly for no reason. For five long years he has been shown running across the country, and then he suddenly stops! When these people who were following him asked him the reason why he was running and why he stopped all of a sudden; he simply replies, “I have no idea!” In Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks ran for three years and in this exaggerated remake, Aamir ran for five!

Bala and Laal Singh Chaddha plan to run an undergarment business

Aamir Khan along with screenplay writer Atul Kulkarni and director Advait Chandan might have decided to showcase all incidents that had occurred in India’s history in Laal Singh Chaddha, thus stretching and distorting its screenplay immensely. The historic incidents shown in the movie are, the occurrence of the 1975-1977 Emergency, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984, the 1984 Anti-Sikh Riots where thousands of Sikhs got killed, the demolition of the Babri Masjid which took place in 1992, the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Indian social activist Anna Hazare’s protest movements, the Kargil War of 1999, and even actress Shilpa Shetty’s item song “Main Aayi Hoon U.P. Bihar Lootne” which rose her to fame! You can just imagine, these incidents have been showcased in separate sequences in the movie. I believe showcasing all these incidents made the screenplay utterly melodramatic which ultimately led it to become a master disaster in the history of Indian cinema.

In this modern era, the world has gone online. Nowadays, life has become fast-paced! In this era of social media and digital technology, how can someone design a screenplay as foolish and absurd as this? I can understand that Forrest Gump was released in 1994 when digital technology was far-fetched, and people during that time could tolerate such a slow, easy-going, and melodramatic screenplay. But now, the taste of the audiences have changed! When you are releasing a remake of that film in the age of digital technology, the audiences are for sure to get impatient while watching such a stretched-out and illogical screenplay.

Manav Vij as Mohammad in Laal Singh Chaddha

An Unacceptable Casting

Aamir Khan’s melodramatic performance can be irritating. His odd facial expressions and eccentric dialogue delivery can surely get on your nerves. When Forrest Gump released in 1994, Tom Hanks was around 35 years old. He played a guy named Forrest who was a young man in his twenties, and he looked convincing. But in Laal Singh Chaddha, Aamir Khan who is nearing his sixties plays the role of a 20-year-old! Even with ultra-VFX technology and makeup, a 60-year-old can never look like a 20-year-old. Like I said in my previous reviews, aging Bollywood actors really miss their younger selves, and are very much eager to portray themselves as young lads in their movies. Not only do these aged actors look absurd as 20-year-old men, but utterly unconvincing too! Even the Emperor of Bollywood, Shah Rukh Khan made a special appearance in this movie and with ultra-VFX and makeup, he too was depicted as a 20-year-old!

Kareena Kapoor and Aamir Khan in a scene from Laal Singh Chaddha

Moving to Kareena Kapoor who played Laal Singh’s crush Rupa, and Mona Singh who played Laal Singh’s aged mother, both happen to be of the same age! Kareena who is a year older than Mona Singh, has been portrayed as a 20-year-old girl while Mona Singh has been depicted as the aged mother of Laal Singh. I feel that the female cast in Laal Singh Chaddha were randomly selected which is the reason that they failed to live up to their respective characters.

Naga Chaitanya had a very short role as Laal Singh’s fellow soldier Bala and I thank God for that because I personally find it very hard to tolerate his performances on screen. However, Manav Vij as the Pakistani Mohammad lived up to his role. The child actors who played little Laal Singh and little Rupa in their early years appeared cute.

The Verdict:

Even if director Advait Chandan knows the art and craft of filmmaking very well, his unique directional style in Laal Singh Chaddha got covered up by a slow-paced narration and script. So, I can say that Chandan’s style of direction in Laal Singh Chaddha will only appeal to the classes, not to the masses! The action sequences in Laal Singh Chaddha have been choreographed by Parvez Shaikh and they are typical, nothing to shout about.

Laal Singh Chaddha running a cross-country race

The background score in Laal Singh Chaddha is soothing to the ears. The songs in Laal Singh Chaddha have been composed by Pritam Chakraborty, and their lyrics have been written by Amitabh Bhattachrya. Tracks like “Kahani” sung by Mohan Kannan, “Main Ki Karaan” by Sonu Nigam, and “Tur Kalleyan” by Arijit Singh are soothing and may gain popularity with time but again, they are more class appealing and only some selected category of the audiences might appreciate them, not everyone.

The editing in Laal Singh Chaddha by Hemanti Sarkar is crisp and sharp. Now you would probably ask me that if the editing is sharp, how come you say that the film is stretched-out and boring? I would say that Laal Singh Chaddha is boring not because of the editor’s fault. The movie is stretched-out and boring because of the way its screenplay has been written and the way the narration has been carried out.

Aamir Khan himself revealed during an interview that he and Naga Chaitanya had gone to Kargil where they filmed the action sequences of the Kargil War for a period of 35 days. However, that 35-day-long shooting has been showcased in just a five-minute sequence in the movie. Also, Aamir Khan has been shown running a cross-country race across several exotic locations in India. His running scenes all over India covered only a few minutes of the movie’s duration. Traveling and shooting at those locations itself involves huge expenses. So, you can imagine the gross budget of making this disastrous comedy which amounts to a whopping INR 180 crores! I must say, all that money may go down the drain after seeing the responses of the audiences towards this movie.

Aamir Khan in a scene from Laal Singh Chaddha

You will probably fall off your chair after coming to know that Atul Kulkarni took almost 20 years to write the script of Laal Singh Chaddha and purchase the remake rights from Paramount, which is the original maker of Forrest Gump. So the planning for this film had started 20 years back and finally it released now, on August 11, 2022!

Overall, Laal Singh Chaddha is a mega disaster in the form of a romantic comedy-drama. In short, this movie is like a 2-hour and 40-minute vicious terrorist attack on the audiences. You will have to bear the torture sitting in your theater seats crying in pain and pleading for the movie to be over. You will be mentally harassed and ultimately will come out of the theater hall transformed as the lunatic Laal Singh Chaddha himself!

Behind the scenes: Aamir Khan with director Advait Chandan on the sets of Laal Singh Chaddha

 

Comment with Facebook
  • Acting - 2.5/10
    2.5/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 9.5/10
    9.5/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 3/10
    3/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Watchability - 4.5/10
    4.5/10
  • Rewatchability - 0/10
    0/10
Overall
4.5/10
4.5/10
Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

About Subhadeep Kumar Ganguli

Meta film critic. Never make the same mistake twice. Make it three or four times just to be sure 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.