Laal Singh Chaddha: Why 'Forrest Gump' Is So Loved & The Many Challenges For Aamir Khan

There's a lot of technical soundness in Forrest Gump that one might miss during the first viewing, something Aamir Khan should be paying attention to.

Aamir Khan has released the official poster for his next film, Laal Singh Chaddha. The film is an official remake of Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump (1994), which starred Tom Hanks in the titular role. One of Hollywood’s most-loved films of all time, the film follows the journey of a socially awkward man from Savannah, Georgia. Making his way through school with a less-than-desirable IQ of 70, standing up to bullies from his neighbourhood, and becoming a Vietnam veteran along the way… the journey is sweet and serendipitous.

The film won Tom Hanks his second consecutive Oscar for Best Actor in 1994, after his ’93 win for Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia. Essentially the journey of an oddball through some of the most important events of American history, it’s easy to see the sentiment that Aamir Khan will be chasing in his adaptation for the pan-India masses, especially after the tremendous success of Rajkumar Hirani’s PK. Khan has already played the less-than-wise oddball, blurting out society’s hypocrisies to its face.

But there’s a lot of technical soundness in the Hollywood original that one might miss during the first viewing. The tasteful use of VFX is one of the first things that comes to mind, right from morphing Hanks’ character with former presidents in the White House, to him meeting John Lennon on a chat show. Forrest Gump playing table tennis too was a good mix of practical effects, VFX and clever editing.

Add to this the way Zemeckis chooses to begin the film, by showing a feather that floats over a town with Alan Silvestri’s iconic score playing in the background. Compare this with Laal Singh Chaddha‘s snippet of a video announcing the film’s release date, and you’ll realise how Zemeckis’ effects are qualitatively superior… even today.

Forrest Gump also has some of the most oft-repeated lines in a Hollywood movie of all time. “Stupid is as stupid does…”, “Life is a box of chocolates…”, “Lieutenant Dan got new legs… magic legs” – are only some of the most famous lines from the winner of the Best Picture Oscar for that year. Gump’s beautiful bond with his mother (Sally Field), his friendship with Bubba (Mykelti Williamson) and Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise) and his heartbreaking love story with Jenny (Robin Wright), Zemeckis’ film had saga-like quality emerging from Eric Roth’s superb script. It’s been reported that Vijay Sethupathi has been cast in the role of Bubba, and it will be interesting to see how Aamir Khan’s version reinterprets the friendship.

Lastly, the film worked because of Tom Hanks’ unabashed earnestness. Playing the role of a socially inept young man, Hanks brought an undeniable warmth and likability to the character. There’s no doubt about Aamir Khan’s potential as an actor, but will he be able to tug at our heart-strings quite like Hanks did with the pan-American audience? We’ll have to wait and watch whether writer-director Advait Chandan does justice to the massive shoes he’s chosen to fill.

Till Christmas next year then.