Laal Singh Chaddha (2022)
August 15, 2022 11:29 AM - Subscribe

Events in India's history unfold through the perspective of Laal Singh Chaddha, a slow-witted man who has a great understanding of emotions. If this sounds like Forrest Gump that's this is a Hindi remake of that film, with Indian star Aamir Khan in the lead role.

Also starring Kareena Kapoor Khan, Naga Chaitanya, Mona Singh, and Shah Rukh Khan, in a cameo as himself.

Rated 60% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It's uh, not doing so well.

Now playing in theaters.
posted by DirtyOldTown (2 comments total)
I don't think Forrest Gump has aged particularly well. And some of the thornier, trickier parts of the original that undercut its schmaltz (how Forrest's mom got him back into school, Jenny's travails, Lt. Dan's alcoholism/suicidal ideation/depression) seem all but certain to get whitewashed. So the mixed reviews don't surprise me much.

If this truly is a stinker, as is rumored, it--along with Thugs of Hindustan--probably cements the end of Khan's golden age, during which he could basically do no wrong.

If you aren't familiar with Khan, try one of these, all available on Netflix:
-Lagaan - massive historical epic. In 1890s India, an arrogant British commander challenges the harshly taxed residents of Champaner to a high-stakes cricket match. If the villagers win, they will owe no taxes for three years, which would deliver them from poverty in a time of drought. If they lose, they will owe three times their normal taxes, which would mean ruin for all of them. Complication: the villagers do not know how to play cricket. One of my very favorite movies ever.
-3 Idiots - From the moment Rancho arrives at India's most prestigious engineering university, his outlandish schemes turn the campus upside down--along with the lives of his two newfound best friends. This Hindi language blockbuster comedy drama unfolds in two parallel stories, ten years apart and incorporates a number of real Indian inventions.
-Taare Zameen Par (Like Stars on Earth - An eight-year-old boy is thought to be a lazy trouble-maker, until the new art teacher has the patience and compassion to discover the real problem behind his struggles in school.

These are all broad audience crowd pleasers, but of an ilk that the US hardly bothers with anymore. Very fun movies.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:40 AM on August 15, 2022 [2 favorites]

I finally saw this. It's very sweet.

So many of the same beats are there as the original that it's less a remake than a translation. This kills a lot of the surprise/delight, even though it becomes a sort of game to guess how they will cover the next beat.

Many of the changes are just sort of hot-swapping something for an American story for something for an Indian story. He doesn't teach Elvis his signature dance, he teaches Shah Rukh Khan. He doesn't have a box of chocolates, he has a box of golgappas.

The few things they do change that are more substantial fall into two categories: things that downplay the "lucky idiot" aspects of the original (and are thus welcome) and things that defang the more challenging aspects of the original (less welcome).

As an example, Laal doesn't succeed in business because of a hurricane making it seem like God wants that for him. He succeeds (this time with an underwear company) because he works hard and his kindness attracts the right people for him to succeed.

From the other spectrum, Rupa (this film's Jenny) isn't sexually abused by her father, her mother is beaten. She does not become a stripper and a drug addict, but a model drawn in by a gangster. I sort of expected this bit to change, but it ends up making her less interesting.

The aspects where Forrest is, by pure luck, an important figure in history, are mostly gone and it works better for the removal.

It's a marked step down from the original, but very sweet and very watchable.

In the end, the highs aren't as high and the irritating aspects are mostly cleaned up. It makes it a very sweet moderately enjoyable collection of mids.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:33 AM on November 4, 2022

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