Laal Singh Chadda depicts the political turmoil of its time better than Forrest Gump and Aamir Khan is the showstopper indeed.
Laal Singh Chadda is the Indian remake of the award winning movie Forrest Gump and it didn’t leave a stone unturned in doing justice to the film. While most of the scenes and dialogues were exactly the same like the original film, the political turmoil of India which served as the backdrop of the film is explicated very well.
*Some spoilers alert
Laal is shown to grow up witnessing all the political turbulence that was going on in the country at that time. Be it operation Bluestar, Anti-Sikh riots, the Kargil War, Bombay blasts or the Bombay attack of 9/11, all these events deeply impacted Laal and are an integral part of his journey.
Laal for the first time encountered communal violence when he visited his maternal aunt’s house in Amritsar and became a witness of operation Blue Star. While the innocent Laal couldn’t decipher the reason behind the tears of his mother, baffled when he asked his mother why she was crying, she replied, “bahaar malaria phela hua hai”.
Malaria stands for the word communalism and throughout the film Laal used the word ‘Malaria’ whenever he recalled and narrated incidents of his past steeped in communalism.
The second time he witnessed communal riots was when he again revisited his maternal aunt’s house who shifted to Delhi after operation Bluestar.
On that very day when Laal and his mother set out to return to their village, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi got assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards who avenged upon her for the operation Bluestar that took place on her order in the shrine of Sikhs (Golden Temple) hurting the sentiments of millions Sikhs across the country. This whole incident gave rise to Anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, in which thousands of innocent Sikhs were killed.
One such scene is depicted when Laal and his mother get surrounded by rioters who were slaughtering Sikhs. The whole scene chilled my spine, bringing tears to my eyes especially the way petrified Laal’s mother saved him by hiding in a corner of the street and cutting his “joora”( a symbol of devotion to God, reminding Sikhs that the should obey the will of God) thus eradicating the signs of his Sikh identity.
Hailing from a family of soldiers who became martyrs fighting for the nation, Laal had to join the army but he was too good a human being to kill someone. Therefore in the Kargil War using the advantage of his skills of fast running he saved people even his enemies instead of killing people and therefore got awarded by the Vir Chakra Award.
In Forrest Gump we don’t get such detailed synopsis of the political situation surrounding Forrest’s growth from childhood to adulthood except the Vietnam War in which Forrest was a soldier and its devastating aftermath, but Laal Singh Chadda showcases all the important political events in the country which in a way paved the way towards Laal’s evolution.
Aamir Khan is perfectly cast
Laal at times seemed like a divine messenger who was naive enough to be beyond caste, creed, religion and sex. A man who wasn’t smart but who knew how to love and who was too good to be a human being. I bet I cannot imagine any actor other than Aamir Khan in this role. He is irreplaceable and is a treat to the eyes. From his Punjabi accent to bringing out all the emotions matching each and every phase of the character, I both laughed and cried with Laal from the other side of the screen in his journey of life full of ups and downs, signifying Aamir’s sheer hardwork, devotion and passion towards his work.
The character of Laal even surpassed Forrest at times due to Aamir Khan’s intense portrayal of emotions in certain scenes especially when his mother lying on her deathbed advised him, “Zindagi Golgappe Jaisi Hoti Hai, Pet Bhale Bhar Jaye Par Man Nahi Bharta” (Life is like golgappe – even when our stomach is full, we want more), and he held her tightly crying, “tussi kyon jaa rahe ho mummy” (why are you going away, Mummy)? Also in another scene when he visited Rupa’s grave on her one year death anniversary, the way he conversed with her sitting beside her grave was heart-wrenchingly beautiful in its own way and will be etched in my heart for a long time.
Kareena Kapoor Khan
Also the character of Rupa played by Kareena Kapoor is much more fleshed out than the character of Jenny in Forrest Gump. While the reasons for Jenny embracing a life of hippie steeped in drugs remained unclear throughout the film, the reason for Rupa’s quest to be a part of the glamour world in order to earn money lie in the domestic violence her mother endured. Rupa grew up in a financially insolvent family being a witness to the abuses her father hurled upon her mother when she refused to gave him money and one day succumbing to death over such a fight with her husband.
Rupa therefore wanted to marry a rich man thereby pushing away Laal from her life. But eventually she realizes that happiness and peace can never be achieved from materialism as it resides in the love and care of one’s near and dear ones. It was Laal’s selfless and pure love that gave her a sense of contentment and belonging.
The character arc of Rupa is more refined and well justified with the depiction of proper circumstances that led her to make the decisions of her life along with the consequences she suffered and as a result, the self-realisations she underwent, enlightening her in journey of life unlike the character of Jenny whose character arc is not so well developed. Moreover Kareena Kapoor infuses life into the character as usual with her soulful acting, and she has done justice to her character in a far better manner compared to Robin Wright. Rupa is indeed more powerful and left a deep emotional impact on me which the character of Jenny failed to do.
Laal Singh Chaddha might be an adaption of a classic movie but has it’s own desi essence which kept me hooked till the end, taking me on a roller-coaster ride of emotions with Laal and Rupa in their journeys of life and love.