Laal Singh Chaddha perhaps is symbolically a seagull – Jonathan Livingston’s Seagull. In flight. A flight engineered by not even self-desire but by a compelling physics and an insatiable urge. Yes, Forrest Gump and Tom Hanks is also about an inexplicable man with a unique persona of passion and nativity. Built selflessly and with amazing […]
Laal Singh Chaddha perhaps is symbolically a seagull – Jonathan Livingston’s Seagull. In flight. A flight engineered by not even self-desire but by a compelling physics and an insatiable urge.
Yes, Forrest Gump and Tom Hanks is also about an inexplicable man with a unique persona of passion and nativity. Built selflessly and with amazing energy.
Can we see Laal Singh Chaddha dehorse Forest Gump? Can we perceive the product without reference to the earned or given socio-political space? Two huge challenges indeed.
It was in 1994 that the brilliance of Robert Zemeckis and the magic of Tom Hanks gave the cineaste the classic original. Credit to the makers of its Indian version for crediting the original. Aamir said that very early when someone came up with the script that he reacted with disdain and for long nurtured the disbelief that the Hollywood classic can even be made. The next challenge was its release. Time will tell whether the effort was worth it.
To the uninitiated, the story deals with a naïve, part innocent protagonist Laal (Aamir Khan) born with a physical deformity. A strong willed single parent – Mom (Mona Singh) instils in him self-reliance and self-belief. Rupa comes into his life with a fractured family. She defies poverty and dreams to be rich. A meandering narrative shows how Laal with the talent of a natural gymnast joins the armed forces and is part of the Kargil war. In the army he runs into friend Bala (Naga Chaitanya) and a new camaraderie between the two soldiers who hate to kill grows fast.
It is however in the post interval narrative that the film maker and Aamir Khan come into their own and give a purpose to a film where life and its story is more associated with the Indian milieu than the stylized content of Forrest Gump. One is bound to compare the two if for nothing because unlike most copies, this is a stated adaptation.
Given Aamir Khan’s cinematic talent the zonal space for creating a desi Forrest Gump could have got in and actually should have a slightly more indigenous central character. However, Atul Kulkarni, Advait Chandan and Aamir are happy in reiterating and reproducing rather than recreating Laal Singh Chaddha. Multiple nuances differentiating Chadda from Forrest Gump would have given the tale a desi flavour.
In the post interval story within the parameters of domesticity, love, human relationships, Laal is not just unique but a heart chocking character. Evolving from part PK part Tom Hanks, Aamir takes his own time to feel the warp of Laal Singh Chaddha. Once he does that, he excels in the central character. Nourishes and nurtures the central character in a manner only he can. The rest in the cast aren’t given space or time. However, Mona Singh as the mother leaves an impression. Naga Chaitanya in a cameo proves that actors need directors. He is promising and interesting. Kareena essays with consummate ease what is expected of her.
It is indeed a tad sad that Laal Singh happens to Aamir after PK. The uninformed are bound to see just a pattern. Knowing that the Forrest Gump script was under preparation, AK could have chosen to interpret either of the roles differently. That however is an artistic choice and perhaps just too much coincidence too close. Yet there is no gainsaying that the actor has an image of being a thinking actor.
Obviously more was expected. Perhaps the milieu of the advantage of being the first, Forrest Gump moved with far more ease than Laal Singh Chaddha which sometimes gets laboured.