Laal Singh Chadha at the movies: Bollywood’s Forrest Gump is “a cultural bridge between our…

This week in theaters, Bollywood film star Aamir Khan reprises the role of Tom Hanks/Forrest Gump in the remake “Laal Singh Chadha.” An epic through contemporary India, with universal emotion. Meet.

“Life is like a golgappe box. When you start, you can’t stop…” If this Indian snack has replaced chocolates and the hero now tells his story on a train rather than on a bench, the emotion and beauty of Laal Singh Chadha have nothing to envy Forrest Gumpof which this remake from Bollywood takes up the purity and innocence of the character to tell India today through his eyes.

In the title role, Aamir Khan takes over from Tom Hanks, and crosses (sometimes running, of course) all the political, social and cultural events of his country to find his dear Rupa. Large-scale project, filmed in more than a hundred locations across the country, Laal Singh Chadha arrives this week in cinemas around the world, and in particular in France. Meeting with his hero and producer, the perfectionist Aamir “Laal” Khan.

AlloCiné: You are one of Bollywood’s biggest stars, but the French public doesn’t necessarily know you. How would you introduce yourself?

Aamir Khan : I’m a Bollywood actor and I’ve been in the business for over 35 years. I’ve been lucky enough to have an amazing background and work with so many great people. All this allowed me to learn a lot about my job. I’m so grateful for all the success I’ve had in my career… I especially loved playing in Lagaanin 2001. Another film of which I am proud is Three Idiots released in 2009. Without forgetting PK in 2014 and Dangal in 2016. And I am touched today by the success met by Laal Singh Chadha.

Laal singh chadha at the movies: bollywood's forrest gump is "a cultural bridge between our...
Paramount Pictures France

Aamir Khan

How did you get into the shoes of this character, inspired by Forrest Gump? Have you talked about it with Tom Hanks?

I met Tom Hanks a very long time ago, and long before acquiring the rights to remake his film. A 45-minute exchange that touched me a lot but we hadn’t talked about Forrest Gump because I didn’t have the rights yet. Playing Laal was fun but also presented an interesting challenge. He is very different from Forrest who is American: he is similar in essence but he is different enough to be a unique and moving character.

Laal talks a lot about the history of India and its many religious conflicts. Do you think this film can help reconcile India with itself?

It is certainly a message of love. Laal is a character with a pure heart… He is so innocent. He has no negativity in him and this character can only inspire us with a lot of love. This is what we keep inside us at the end of the film, all this love he gives us. I hope this will have a positive impact on the public.

Laal singh chadha at the movies: bollywood's forrest gump is "a cultural bridge between our...
Paramount Pictures France

Kareena Kapoor and Aamir Khan

Another theme in your film is violence against women, is this an important subject for you?

Absolutely even if it’s the writer’s idea, Atul Kulkarni, which adapted the original film. But it’s clearly an important subject for me that touches me a lot and that is so topical…

Tell us also about the boy who embodies young Laal, Ahma Ibn Umar?

It was a major choice because we had to find a boy who could look like me and who could play in a similar way to my interpretation of adult Laal. It was lucky to find Ahma, who is perfect in this role.

Laal singh chadha at the movies: bollywood's forrest gump is "a cultural bridge between our...
Paramount Pictures France

Ahmad ibn Umar

By taking such an important character in Western film culture, and giving him an Indian look, do you think that “Laal Singh Chadha” can become a cultural bridge between these two audiences?

As you know, Forrest Gump had enormous success in the West. At the beginning, we wanted to make a film for the Indian public. From then on, it surprised me that the executives at Paramount, once the movie was finished, liked it so much that they now want to release it all over the world besides India. It was then that I realized that the film connects, beyond India, with an international audience. Yes, it can serve as a cultural bridge between our two worlds. It totally enchants me.

Within your rich career, what does this new film represent, how important is it?

I hope the public will remember Laal’s purity and innocence. I would like, myself, to look a little more like him… I hope that the spectators will feel the same thing.

Forrest Gump’s racing scene revisited by Laal Singh Chadha

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