Laal Singh Chaddha Review: Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor & Naga Chaitanya’s film has its heart in the right place
Planning to watch Laal Singh Chaddha this long weekend? Read Pinkvilla’s review of this Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan & Naga Chaitanya starrer.
Name: Laal Singh Chaddha
Director: Advait Chandan
Cast: Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Naga Chaitanya
Rating: 3 / 5
One of the most difficult things about an adaptation is its comparison with the original. What is even more tough is convincing the loyal fans of an already celebrated film to see another version of it, and only Aamir Khan could have taken up a mighty task like that. His new release Laal Singh Chaddha is the official Hindi adaptation of Robert Zemeckis’ Tom Hanks starrer 1994 comedy-drama, Forrest Gump, which has bagged numerous accolades including six academy awards. It was made in a completely different era, focussing on a separate diaspora, and a distinct milieu.
However, in terms of the social environment, director Advait Chandan and writer Atul Kulkarni have been successfully able to adapt the narrative in a way that will appeal to the Indian audience. Laal Singh Chaddha is primarily a human story and how different can our conditions, situations and reactions be irrespective of the setting. So in a way, Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Naga Chaitanya starrer is same, same, but different. For instance, the protagonist’s mother (played by Mona Singh) attempts to get her child admitted in a school.
This situation in the Hindi film has been very differently treated as compared to the original, showcasing the filmmaker’s understanding of our instincts and emotions. They have got that right throughout the film. Though what doesn’t appeal to me is how, many scenes especially in the first half have been shot just like the original. Maybe, Advait and cinematographer Satyajit Pande could have executed those scenes differently to help the audience forget the 1994 film, and relish the new version. Nonetheless, the visuals are still stunning.
Much like Forrest Gump, Laal Singh Chaddha’s personal journey also goes through several socio and political situations including the emergency, riots, bomb blasts, political rallies, massive paegent wins, blockbusters, chartbusters, and even bold photoshoots, but at heart it remains his own voyage of acceptance, self discovery, and destiny that every common man will be able to relate with. The first half of this Aamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Naga Chaitanya film is crisp with periodical high points and lots of humour, but it is the second half that seems long and needed some sharpening by editor Hemanti Sarkar.
Laal Singh Chaddha stays true to the setting of every phase it showcases in the film, and all credit for it goes to production designers Imran Manzoor and Mustafa Stationwala, and art directors Bilal Hashmi and Pravin S Kadam. In a film that spans several decades, costumes play an important part in the narrative and designer Maxima Basu does a fair job at that. As far as the music goes, Tanuj Tiku’s background score helps to elevate the scenes, but Pritam’s compositions don't do much for the project. Lyrics penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya help understand the situations better.
As far as the dialogues are concerned, some of them are beautifully written. Like ‘Zindagi gol gappe jaisi hondi hai Laal, pet bhar janda hai par man nahin.” Though the line is a direct reminder of the chocolate reference in the original. These reminders kept coming back when carrots and peas became aloo and gobhi, and local idiot became khota.
As far as the performances are concerned, Aamir Khan aces as Laal Singh Chaddha. He really lives the part, and that evidently comes across in the movie. Though a certain unintentional habit of his character becomes too repetitive after a while. Kareena Kapoor Khan as Rupa is phenomenal. Probably it’s only her and Manav Vij’s character Mohammad that has several layers of emotions, which both of them have portrayed effortlessly. Naga Chaitanya who plays Bala is outstanding in the funny scenes. Mona Singh as Aamir Khan’s on screen mother is the heart and soul of this Advait Chandan directorial. Shah Rukh Khan’s cameo is the most endearing part of the film, probably the biggest highlight too.
Sometimes what we seek is right there, we just need to look harder and stop complicating things. That’s one of the most important messages that Laal Singh Chaddha conveys, among several other statements that it makes through its narrative.
Considering the stature of the original, it’s hard to not compare Laal Singh Chaddha with Tom Hanks’ Forrest Gump. But even after that, Aamir Khan and his team manage to live up to the original and present an entertaining watch. Those who will be seeing it as a standalone film will be pleasantly surprised. The Hindi version is not flawless, but isn’t perfection overrated anyway? Maybe, Aamir would agree to that this time…