Following a CGI opening sequence reminiscent of Robert Zemeckis’ 1994 film, we are introduced to Laal (Aamir Khan), a charming Sikh man who boards a train with a little red box. Audiences may be tempted to imagine “Forrest Gump” as Laal strikes up a conversation with a disinterested seatmate while they wait for him to open a traditional mithai box and distribute sweets to his fellow travelers.
It turns out that there is gol gappe inside the box, not sandesh, barfi, soan papdi, or any other dessert. The movie then engages us further revealing how Laal is a unique and interesting character.
Laal Singh Chaddha does not lends itself to full-on Bollywood melodrama, but manages its emotional beats strategically and sprinkles in poignant punches here and there. Knowing the main plot points and broad arc of “Forrest Gump” does not lessen the impact of this adaptation in the least, as screenwriter Atul Kulkarni creates a complex world for Laal that feels entirely separate from Forrest’s.
While it’s easy to just change the setting and characters when adapting a movie for a foreign audience, Kulkarni goes to great lengths to not only discover the “Indian version” of each “Forrest Gump” beat but also to give it the same charm that made the 1994 film so remarkable.
The direction by Advait Chandan is praiseworthy. The audience will like a film that is filled with love and emotion. It is more reminiscent of a Bollywood film when the plot is told from the beginning, starting on a train, till the very conclusion. Yes, the plot is more intriguing before the intermission than after. In some scenarios, the audience may feel that the story is losing momentum at one point, but slowly, it recovers and wins the audience over. Overall proceedings remain slow for today’s time.
Aamir Khan, known as “Mr. Perfectionist” in the film industry, fails to hit the mark this time around. He overacts and fails to leave an impact.
The audience will undoubtedly like other actors’ and co-stars’ performances. Despite Kareena Kapoor’s best efforts, her main role didn’t have much of an impression. Manav Vij, who starts as a terrorist and ends up becoming close friends with Aamir has a significant role in the movie and he delivers it with utmost perfection. Mona Singh as Laal’s mother is the perfect cast. Telugu actor Naga Chaitanya makes a triumphant Hindi-film debut.
Cameo of Shah Rukh Khan makes everyone smile and will be loved by everyone.
The music of Laal Singh Chaddha is its USP. From the background score by Tanuj Tiku to all the songs by Pritam, everything is in place and is beautiful.
Laal Singh Chadhda is widely believed to be rare misfire from Aamir.
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