Social media went berserk once the trailer of Aamir Khan-Kareena Kapoor starrer Laal Singh Chaddha was released on YouTube on May 29, 2022.
As I jot down these lines, the trailer garnered over 2.5 million views, which will increase by the time you finish reading this article.
Laal Singh Chaddha is an official remake of Tom Hanks starter Oscar-winning 1994 film Forrest Gump, which was directed by Robert Zemeckis.
While some are calling this a needless remake, a few feel this movie is going to change the "perception of filmmaking" in the country.
Though it is extremely early days to say anything as to how the audience will receive this movie, I feel three factors will determine both the success and failure of Laal Singh Chaddha.
I know, I sound extremely stupid for even bringing in this comparison, but being a remake comparisons are bound to arise.
As bibliophiles hardly miss out on the classics, I am sure there is hardly any cinephile who has not watched Forrest Gump at least once in their lifetime.
Most cinephiles, in my opinion, might skip the remake as remakes in India- especially the Hindi film industry aka Bollywood- have been disastrous.
Much will depend on the reviews from those cinephiles who will hit the theatres. A change in the script from the original to match Indian sensibilities might hold the key for Laal... to win praises from these cinephiles.
Songs and over-the-top melodrama could spell doomsday for Laal...
Forrest Gump is loved for its simplicity and freshness.
And then again, there is a section of the audience who is oblivious to Forrest Gump and Tom Hanks. For them, Laal... is a Hindi film with one of the biggest stars of Indian cinema. This simple fact is enough to pull the audience to the theatres, adding to the film's success.
But as said earlier, if the comparison draws negative reviews, then the percentage of the audience from the oblivious group will also dwindle, adding to the film's loss.
Aamir Khan's last outing, Thugs Of Hindostan was a big box office flop. Neither his "perfect acting" nor the charisma of Amitabh Bachchan could save the Thugs' ship from sinking.
Hence, much is expected from him from Laal... The question is- will his performance as Laal Sing Chaddha be powerful enough to keep the audience hooked till the end and make the movie superhit?
"He looks more like a retarded version of PK and Samar Khan from Dhoom3," said a friend after watching Laal... trailer.
And he was not the only one to say so. Several others have pointed out this and called Laal Singh Chaddha's CGI amateurish!
Aamir Khan, no doubt is a talented actor, but at times he tries too many things. In his earlier films, he had an innocence, which, I feel is lost these days.
And after watching the trailer I strongly felt that Laal Singh seems to be another addition to his list of repetitive performances and expressions.
His performance holds the key. It can either become the X factor or also become the break factor.
The movie also marks the Hindu debut of Telugu superstar Naga Chaitanya, who commands a fan following of his own.
Chaitanya should be reprising the role of Benjamin Buford Blue (Bubba) portrayed by Mykelti Williamson.
Williamson's performance as Bubba is a masterpiece and draws equal respect as Hanks' Forrest Gump.
Chaitanya is an excellent actor and he will certainly give Khan a hard run for his money.
But then again, Aamir Khan is infamous for chopping roles of his co-stars if their performances overpower his.
Chopping out Chaitanya's role means chopping out Bubba, which may not go down well with the audience.
But then again, it is early days. Let's wait for the release.
The third and according to me the most important factor that stands between Laal Singh Chaddha and its success is the rise of the non-Hindi industries- especially Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam.
These industries, over the last few years, have not only produced engaging cinema but most importantly delivered original content.
These days, the originality of content matters the most.
As Laal is a remake of a classic, the audience might be tempted to skip it over original content-driven cinema.
I am not saying that Laal... is not content-driven, but it is not original.
But then again, the rise of the non-Hindi industries has become possible only after these movies were dubbed into Hindi.
Today, several dubbed versions of non-Hindi films are ready for release and the audience might want to see a change as well.
Taking a non-Indian story, giving it an Indian touch and then making it in Hindi/Punjabi might work in favour of the Hindi film industry and the makers of Laal...
Laal Singh Chaddha could become a gamechanger for the faltering Hindi movie industry.
Early days to predict anything. But we can definitely make assumptions!
Partha Prawal (Goswami) is a Guwahati-based journalist who loves to write about entertainment, sports, and social and civic issues among others. He is also a published author.