Laal Singh Chaddha is for those who have been yearning to watch an authentic drama on the big screen after a very long absence.
Last Updated: 05.42 AM, Aug 11, 2022
In Laal Singh Chaddha, starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan, a wonderful journey of love, adventure, hope, and amazement is revealed via a number of historical events.
Soon after I completed watching Laal Singh Chaddha, the first thing I did was Google search for the distance between Pathankot and Chandigarh if travelled by train. It takes about 5 hours and 40 minutes to reach the destination. Why did I do so? Because Laal Singh Chaddha's story is hands down so long that a garden bench conversation is not enough. Forrest Gump narrated his story by sitting on a bench, but this is India, where train journeys make up for such conversations and storytelling.
We Indians like to make our stories into visual spectacles, and when there's a crowd listening to it, it's fun to narrate it. The story starts in 1977, when the Emergency was withdrawn in India, and around the same time, a mere six-year-old Laal got his legs braced so that he could walk independently and finally go to school. We see him trying to fit in, but only two females in his life—his mother, Gurpreet Kaur (Mona Singh), and Rupa D'Souza (then played by Kareena Kapoor Khan)—assure him that he can do everything and measure up to the world.
With these two women, Laal's journey kickstarts and he interestingly witnesses all the country's historical events since then, be they good or worse. And, we have to give it to the beautiful adaptation made by Atul Kulkarni for showing how eventful India has been in the 20th century and how it has continued to be so in the new century too.
There are so many things to be discussed about the film, but I am sure it would be stale as the film is an epitome of visual talk, how cinema is supposed to be. When Laal talks about his life, it's not with the pointers in his hand like he will first talk about his braced legs, meeting Rupa, running like the wind, or anything. Just when someone chimes in about having relatability with his story, Laal starts his new chapter and makes sure it's all about him.
Well, it's a story worth telling, and he could have been a TED speaker, but instead he makes the passengers of the Indian Railways his audience.
Although we know Forrest Gump's story, we wish to know how Laal lived his life, which deserves an attentive ear. And the film succeeds in it. As and when we go ahead with the story, Laal's life becomes interesting because of the nostalgia trip it takes to the history of India.
And the best-shown sequences are more about the communal violence that takes place in the country, which Laal is made unaware of.
We see an adult Laaal, played by Aamir Khan, joined by his Rupa (Kareena), who moves to Delhi for college. It's 1990, the final decade of the century, when a lot more began to change in the country. And what a fantastic job the de-aging department has done on both the actors. We see them straight from the 90s in terms of looks as well as behaviour.
And lo! The incredible performances of both actors begin here. Both Aamir and Kareena are known to deliver top-notch performances when it comes to highly dramatic scenes. And this film has just fitted perfectly into their resume and can be called a perfect add-on. Although we see Aamir being doe-eyed throughout the film, it doesn't cause discomfort as shown in the trailer (the PK eyes were present but not as irritating as they were anticipated to be).
The actor brings natural tears and laughter with his innocence that you will just be in awe of. There are hardly any moments in the film that are forgettable, and knowing of a senior actor like Aamir's calibre, there's no scope for having anything caricaturish in the film. The actor's constant hmms might bother you at first, but you gradually accept that it's Laal who is on screen and he is just the way he is.
But hands down, I must say, it's Kareena's best performance till date. The actor is just ageing beautifully in real life (and in the film too) and the depth she brings to her characters is applaudable. Kareena, who was praised for her roles in Chameli (2003) and Talaash: The Answers Lies Within (2012), was brought back to life by the actor in this film. It's a tough character, and it's fascinating how the underworld connections in Laal Singh Chaddha completely changed the hippie culture in Forrest Gump.
Moreover, it didn't seem like de-aging was needed on Kareena as she was flawless, so to speak. The actor has surprised me in every possible way, and I can say that she is indeed a surprise package from Laal Singh Chaddha.
We can't miss talking about Mona Singh. Although it seems odd to see Mona playing Aamir's mother onscreen, as an individual, the actor has done a stupendous job.
When it comes to the Kargil War sequence, the film begins to have some minor issues. Firstly, Naga Chaitanya's character as Balaraju. The actor couldn't create the intended impact with his special appearance. His presence seemed to throw off so many things that his sequence was less enjoyable.
Manav Vij has stepped into the shoes of Gary Sinise's character as Lieutenant Dan Taylor, but not in the same role. His character seemed questionable because of where he came from (no spoilers), but you might end up wondering too.
Laal Singh Chaddha grows on you and the songs play a huge part in it. The music was composed by Pritam Chakraborty, and every song, even the placement, is pitch-perfect. We see Tom Hanks running for a year across the US with his narration and also TV channels giving it mass coverage. But in the Hindi version, Tur Kalleyan gives the whole sequence more depth and makes the country look more beautiful.
Same with Phir Na Aisi Raat Aayegi, which is hands down the best song from the album, talking about unrequited love. We see that happening between Laal and Rupa from the beginning of the film, but the song sums it up in the most heart-touching way.
Kudos to Atul Kulkarni for penning the adapted screenplay for Laal Singh Chaddha, keeping in mind how our country has shaped in the last five decades. Also, congratulations to Advait Chandan, who took on the challenging task of directing this film and succeeded admirably. I also have to give it to Aamir, Kareena, and Mona for taking charge of the film and excelling in every moment they have been a part of it.
A special mention and a thank you for having Shah Rukh Khan's special appearance, which was more of a tribute to the superstar's illustrous career in the movies.
Laal Singh Chaddha seems longer as it inches towards the climax, but like Gol Gappas, it grows on you and leaves you wanting more.
Ignore the naysayers. Laal Singh Chaddha is for people who are craving to watch an out-and-out drama, which has been a miss on the big screen for a very long time. The film makes you cry, laugh, and leaves you gasping at the way our country has changed over the years.