Laal Singh Chaddha, starring Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor is set to release in theatres on 11 August 2022. Directed by Advait Chandan, the film is an adaptation of the famous Tom Hanks film Forrest Gump.
Challenges of Essaying a Role Like Laal Singh
Speaking about the challenges that come with essaying a role such as this, Aamir Khan said at a press event, "I had to grow my beard. Getting into the mind of the character was the main job." He also spoke about portraying Laal Singh's essence and said, "To get the innocence is very difficult, especially when you have been through so much in life."
"I wanted to make this film because I saw his (Laal Singh's) strength is his innocence. It's not just an actor beating up men. I wanted Indians to see this," he said while talking about doing an unconvential role."
On Boycott Calls For Laal Singh Chaddha
Old statements of Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan taken out of context resulted in #BoycottLaalSinghChaddha going viral on Twitter.
Aamir Khan has responded to the controversy and asked the audience not to boycott his film.
"Yes, I feel sad. Also, I feel sad that some of the people who are saying this, in their heart, they believe that I am someone who doesn't like India. In their hearts they believe, but it is untrue. It is rather unfortunate that some people feel that way. That's not the case. Please don't boycott my film. Please watch my film," said Aamir.
The Casting Process of 'Laal Singh Chaddha'
Talking about Kareena Kapoor Khan's casting, he explained how that came to be. "The casting director showed us some actors and we saw Kareena by mistake there. We wanted to cast as 26 year old who can look both young and old. And then we decided on her. I am very happy she’s our Rupa."
Aamir Khan also pointed out that alterations had been made to Kareena Kapoor's character. In the original Forrest Gump, female lead Robin Wright's character, Jenny, is portrayed to be a lot more free-spirited and open-minded. "We don't have that culture here. (Kareena's role has been) altered as per what is relevant to our society."
On Being Compared to The Original 'Forrest Gump'
Aamir Khan conveyed how he was comfortable with comparisons and how they were a part of adaptations such as these "There will always be comparisons. I hope people like the film."
Khan also addressed how his character Laal Singh was compared to a previous character he played in Rajkumar Hirani's PK. "There is a similarity in both my films because the characters are innocent. But Laal is different. We have managed to make the film we want to. Let’s see what the audience says.
He admitted that adapting a film like Forrest Gump comes with its own challenges, which is why he was reluctant to even hear the script for 2 years. "A film like Forrest Gump that is a cult classic is difficult to adapt. That is why I didn’t listen to the script for 2 years. It like saying 'let’s remake Mughal-E-Azam'. But when I heard the script, I was blown."
He also added that he was conscious of not imitating Tom Hanks.
Taking Feedback From Industry Leaders
Aamir Khan revealed that famous South director SS Rajamouli, Chiranjeevi, Sukumaran, and Nagarjuna have watched the film and loved it. The makers have also made it a point to incorporate their feedback into the film.
"They said something and we changed that in the film because it was the right thing and it works," said Aamir Khan.
He also added that the folks at Paramount Productions have loved the film too and have shown interest in releasing it worldwide.
On the Rise of OTT And South Indian Films
"OTT audience has become less forgiving. (There is) just great content across languages. The audience has evolved," he said when asked about the transition of the audience from theatres to OTT.
Speaking about the growing influence of the south, which has become an increasingly common discussion in the industry today, Khan said:
"I don’t see a shift in the phase. Historically, the films that people don’t like simply don’t work. And that’s what happens. People have liked Kashmir Files, Gangubai Kathiawadi and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 too. If it’s good it will work."
He also added that it was unfair to draw comparisons and that the success of any film, be it Bollywood or a film from the south, is cause to celebrate. "I don’t believe in comparisons. Everyone is trying to do their best. At the end of the day, as an audience member, it does not matter which part of the country the film is coming from. If south films are working, what is the problem? It’s a good thing."
Junaid to Embark Upon Bollywood Debut?
Aamir Khan was also asked about his son Junaid making it to Bollywood and he said that his 23-year-old son had started doing screen tests. "He has given a lot of auditions. He is on his own journey," said Khan.
Khan also revealed that Junaid was in Los Angeles at the time and flew done to shoot a couple of scenes with director Advait Chandan on Aamir's request. "I told Advait to Shoot 6-7 scenes and told Junaid to show me how he'd do it."
According to Aamir, Junaid shot them very well and him and Kiran Rao were "blown" by his performance. But eventually, they decided to take Aditya Chopra's advice and not cast Junaid because Laal Singh Chaddha was an "episodic film."
"I didn’t expect him to be better than me. I got influenced by Junaid and got the sur to act. Not Tom Hanks," said Khan.
He also spoke about daughter Ira Khan's directorial debut, a play called Medea which is based on a Greek tragedy and stars cricketer Yuvraj Singh's wife Hazel Keech. "The film was quite good. It was a difficult subject to pick," said Khan.