When I got tired, I slept. When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go, you know, I went.- Forest in Forest Gump
My History with Forrest Gump
If I had to categorise myself as someone before and after, then there couldn't be any better period than my sailing days. I had undergone not just a physical transformation but also a psychological change where my outlook on life had changed phenomenally. If someone tells me today that I don't take a lot of things seriously, then I attribute it to the lessons and events during my sailing days.
From the harsh working conditions to the racial slurs, a two hundred metre ship with its twenty-five nations crew has taught me more in a couple of years than what the rest of my life would never be able to catch up on. I can go on and on with my sailor tales, yet this blog is not about that but about something which also had a role in making me who I am today. I am speaking of Tom Hank's starrer "Forrest Gump".
It was perhaps the first movie I saw on the ship, alone in the mess after my late dinner one day. I enjoyed watching movies but was never a critic or someone who tried to visualise them beyond the screens. It starts, and it ends, and I move on. Forrest Gump was, however, different. I am unsure if it was my working conditions or solitude, but the movie made me emotional at several points. It kind of inspired me, and I am yet to zero in on the exact reasons.
This movie witnessed the beginning of a film lover and also a film critic inside me. Thanks to the multi-national crew, I also ended up indulging on movies from various countries. I realised that in no time, I became the film consultant for the ship's crew, who recommends and reviews movies to them on request.
Starting then till now, I don't think I have missed any masterpieces or classics. However, with the advent of OTT platforms, things have got too diluted for my interest. So far, I haven't seen much shuffle in my all-time favourites list for the last several years.
The Indian Version – Laal Singh Chaddha
I had to recall all my shipping memories just because I ended up watching Forrest Gump again, and this time it's an Indian Version starring Amir Khan and named "Laal Singh Chaddha". When I read somewhere that Aamir Khan was planning to remake Forrest Gump in Hindi, I had mixed feelings. I don't want the sanctity of the original to be lost, yet I was curious about its Indian version. I was pretty sure it was in good hands, and there will not be a possibility of a blunder.
Remaking a movie like Forrest Gump has its own share of pros and cons. It's already a well-made and well-received movie, and I believe the makers must have thought there was little chance for them to get it wrong. On the other hand, I presume the generation who can appreciate Laal Singh Chaddha would have been a fan of Forrest Gump, indicating they all must have watched the original.
This puts the makers as well as the makers in a fix, and I assumed more than an exact remake, an inspired remake would have been the best option. Thankfully, it was more on those lines, yet the makers didn't take that extra step to make it Desi Indian to cater to all the segments of the viewers.
Music, Melodram and Melancholy
I always say that one has to review something based on what he feels and not on what he expects the world would feel. Going by that definition, Laal Singh Chaddha touched my heart on several occasions, and I was airlifted into my ship one more time. The music, the melodrama, and the melancholy were poised to give a pleasant and satisfying watch. The movie took its own sweet time to take its viewers on a trip with Laal Singh Chaddha.
I loved the journey, especially during his later years, i.e., the second half. I felt that the jaddi baniyan term was the most used noun in the movie, and it started to get annoying at some point. Music was on the money, which also sets the film's tone.
Most of the aspects in this movie have been inspired by the original version, and I must say it did help the movie, although I am not sure if this is what the bottom segment of viewers would have expected out of it. The equilibrium was so perfect in the movie that there were few chances to introduce an earth-shattering scene that could raise applause or wet more tissues.
I was amazed at the technology that made Aamir and Kareena look young and genuine in their younger days. I firmly believe that making a simple movie without a thunderous VFX and yet ending up grabbing the eyeballs is a big success. Laal Singh Chaddha definitely deserves that appreciation. I loved the naïve sounding narration of Aamir Khan, and it somehow resonated beautifully with the story, especially the Hmmm…
The Boycott of Laal Singh Chaddha
I am clueless about the exact reasons for boycotting "Laal Singh Chaddha." Still, going by the movie's content, it was laced with patriotism at all possible levels, and I don't have an eagle eye to see something beyond my visual limit.
The movie took through Indian history along with the main protagonist, just like in Forrest Gump. I enjoyed it, although it only touched upon the history at a superficial level. The only reason I skipped watching this movie in theatres was that it was the remake of Forrest Gump and the only reason I rushed to watch it on Netflix was that it was a remake of Forrest Gump.
The one critical aspect Laal Singh Chaddha managed to hold up to was maintaining the film's soul, which was the protagonist's innocence. The way his character was etched will be remembered forever by film lovers. The vulnerable yet determined individual who can run to the last mile of the earth to make things happen inspires me.
I know it's fiction, yet seeing someone making it big without getting adultered by worldly evils is beautiful. I feel I loved the movie because of its naïve and honest narrative, just like its protagonist.
I firmly believe the world still holds strong not because of its strongest or most powerful people but because of its innocent and its fragile individuals. They make everything possible and represent the true nature of unadultered humans.