Laal Singh Chaddha Hindi Movie

Feature Film | 2022 | UA | Comedy, Drama, Romantic | 2h 45min
Laal Singh Chaddha appeals more to the heart and is a bit too long, but there is enough in it to leave you teary-eyed. The movie works like a warm blanket from head to toe on a cold Sunday morning.
Aug 15, 2022 By Sreejith Mullappilly

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Advait Chandan's Laal Singh Chaddha is an adaptation of the Oscar-winning film Forrest Gump. It is a sweet and sweeping story of a naive Sikh boy, his hardships in childhood, the people he meets along the way, and his remarkable rise to fame. While Forrest Gump places Tom Hanks' character amid significant moments of American history, India's historical events are chronicled from the viewpoint of Aamir Khan's Laal Singh Chaddha in this adaptation.

This film has a structure that shows Laal Singh's part in each historical event in India as a vignette or an episode, be it the Kargil War or the more recent Anna Hazare fast. Laal Singh somehow finds himself in each of these episodes; while some of it seems quite believable, others seem a bit too good to be true. As in, Laal Singh seems to be randomly running through some key moments from India's past, like a political poster that reads "Abki Baar Modi Sarkar" (This time, it is the Modi Government). It does not seem as organic as Forrest Gump's presence in American history. But it is a movie, after all, and not a strategic case of visual narrative or placement.

Where Laal Singh Chaddha works is in its emotions. The movie may not be as poignant as Forrest Gump but has its heart in the right place and is quite moving in a lot of places. A common theme in Robert Zemeckis and Eric Roth's original film and the Hindi adaptation is fate. It is evident in a lot of aspects, including the feather that happens to move along in the air and fall at the feet of the protagonist. There is a clever touch about how a young Laal Singh teaches a particular dance move to someone, which then goes on to be the signature move of a famous movie star.

Perhaps the protagonist's tryst with fate starts as his childhood friend tells him to run from those who try to bully him. It is fateful that Forrest/Laal Singh runs so fast that it breaks his braces, thus allowing him to run like the wind. A child with leg braces for polio cannot run, but, hey, this is a fantastical movie.

In Forrest Gump, the characters of Bubba and Lieutenant Dan are quite well written. While their equivalents, Bala played by Naga Chaitanya and Mohammad played by Manav Vij, do not have the same depth as them, the characters have an endearing quality to them that complements Aamir Khan's Laal Singh. I quite liked the chemistry that Aamir Khan shares with Manav Vij's and Naga Chaitanya's characters.

Robin Wright's Jenny Curran is probably a little more endearing than Kareena Kapoor's Rupa. However, both characters have one thing in common: their affection for the protagonist, and their need to let him be his own person. Kareena Kapoor's character is full of broad strokes, characteristic of mainstream Hindi cinema. Rupa's story involving a powerful person in the UAE is a bit too loaded for a film as simple as Laal Singh Chaddha, but the actor Indianizes it. Further, Kareena Kapoor shares great chemistry with Aamir Khan, even though the film makes you wonder whether it signifies deep friendship or true love.

Aamir Khan's effort to play a so-called dimwitted person shows, and some of his mannerisms as the young Laal Singh are a bit cartoonish. De-aging technology does not produce the same results as you wish it would, either. In many scenes involving the younger Laal Singh, it seems that Aamir Khan has a bigger-than-necessary face in a slimmer body. Nevertheless, Aamir Khan summons the right emotions where necessary in both versions and is especially convincing as the grown-up Laal Singh Chaddha.

Considering they are still young in their respective roles here, Atul Kulkarni's writing and Advait Chandan's direction are quite good. Kulkarni's writing becomes a tad too repetitive in the second half of the film, but he deserves plaudits for how he makes a foreign film rooted in Indian culture. Advait Chandan's direction ensures that the movie does not become sluggish, even as it gets slightly repetitive. Another aspect that makes the movie quite enjoyable is Pritam's music, which is equal parts profound and easy-on-the-ears.

When it comes to the technical aspects of the film, Laal Singh Chaddha borrows heavily from Forrest Gump. While beautifully shot, even the portions that visually describe Laal Singh's experiences and journey are identical to those in Forrest Gump. But a lot like the original, this is a film that appeals more to the heart than the mind. It may seem a little long at around 3 hours, but there is enough in Laal Singh Chaddha to leave us a bit misty-eyed. The movie works like a warm blanket from head to toe on a cold Sunday morning.

Sreejith Mullappilly