Will Laal Singh Chaddha be able to make a mark in the audience? It will be known only on August 11, but there is a film which Aamir considers relevant, and which is releasing along with his film.
Priyanka Sharma: There was a lot of activity on Sunday evening at Mehboob Studio in Mumbai. There was no shooting going on here, just a bunch of desperate journalists, who seemed a little nervous about spending the only day of their vacation waiting for a superstar. However, when there is an opportunity to talk to an actor who appears in public only during the release of one of his films, and it has been four years since he last interacted with the media, this opportunity is a bit uncomfortable. So it gets bigger. And Bollywood actor Aamir Khan understands this very well.
After the failure of the 2018 fantasy drama Thugs of Hindostan, Aamir Khan is back in theaters this time with Laal Singh Chaddha, the official Hindi remake of the 1994 Oscar-winning film Forrest Gump. Now there is double pressure on Aamir. It was not only a world famous film. It had stars like Tom Hanks, there is pressure to remake that film, but it is also that the first glimpse of Laal Singh Chaddha is not a special brother to the people, which has become a cause of concern for Aamir.
Media’s uncomfortable questions and Aamir’s cheeky answers
Hence, the media waiting outside his vanity van is also rife with speculations about the film, and especially Aamir’s work in it – which has been a buzzword ever since the film’s trailer was released two months ago. Aamir has also derailed its promotion by banning its other videos. So when Aamir meets disgruntled journalists after more than two hours of the scheduled time, he is ready for uncomfortable questions right from the start. Answers those questions in a funny way. Along with sharing personal experiences, turn this conversation into a story session.
Lal’s performance will also look as innocent as PK
Social media is flooded with comments that your performance in Laal Singh Chaddha is exactly the same as you did in PK (2014), with a reporter referring to the negative reaction Aamir received for his gesture in the trailer, which People have compared the character of Alien of his own film PK.
Aamir (laughs), I think you should decide after watching the film. But let me tell you why. There is definitely one similarity between the two characters, that is their innocence. The difference that you will feel after watching the entire performance, you might not see it by watching just one trailer. In my opinion, when you see Laal’s performance, I hope you find him equally innocent. But his innocence will make you different from PK.
Why did Aamir agree to a remake of Forrest Gump – when he himself admitted that he refused to listen to writer Atul Kulkarni’s story for years because of the film’s cult status? Well aware that comparisons with the original film are inevitable, Aamir said that he wanted the innocence of Forrest Gump to be brought to the Indian audience through a homegrown story, as it usually does. Totally different from the qualities associated with onscreen heroes.
We usually see that our heroes are physically strong when they beat up 100 people. Or else, our heroes have moral strength, and they stand up against oppression. Here, the hero’s strength is his innocence, and he doesn’t use it as a force. But he is so powerful that everyone surrenders to him. That is the quality of an innocent person. When you meet someone like that, you want to help them. I just wanted the Indian audience to experience it, and that’s why I made this film, because it’s rare.
Streaming platform becomes threat to theater release
Aamir also knows that the Forrest Gump adaptation may not look as exciting in 2022 as it might have been five years ago, when the popularity of OTT platforms had not grown so fast in the country. When annual subscriptions to this Tom Hanks-Robin Wright classic are available on a streaming platform for cheaper than a theater ticket, it will be hard to attract people to Laal Singh Chaddha.
But the impact of OTT is not limited to being an adaptation of Lal Singh Chaddha. Streaming platforms have already become a threat to theatrical releases, as people are preferring to wait for a mediocre film to appear on their phone screen instead of going to a cinema hall to watch a movie. Isn’t Aamir worried that the new habits of the audience have changed since his last release?
I am always worried, because I usually come after four years, and the audience trends change every four years. OTT has made the audience test even better. They have started liking the best things. If your script is weak, they will walk away from you. This is because they are watching Indian and foreign content in different languages. Due to this the audience is becoming more intelligent. The motivation of the audience to go to theatres has gone down, and I believe one of the primary reasons for this happening is that movies come on OTT very fast. So, I have tried to keep a gap of six months for my films between their theatrical release and streaming.”
Aamir told what needs to be done for better performance of Hindi cinema
The Dangal star insists that if Hindi films are to do well at the box office, then it is important to respect this difference.
The poor performance of Hindi films has been a cause of concern since early 2022. Big films like Bachchan Pandey, Shamshera, Runway 34 have failed at the box office, while small budget films like Jhund, Badhaai Do are being appreciated but on OTT. The number of hits is negligible. Aamir, who for the past 30 years has not only been one of the country’s biggest stars but also a producer and director, believes in looking at the present time from his simple, old-fashioned perspective: A good film will always succeed. A bad film will never succeed in any time or situation.
Historically, films which are not good or are not liked by the audience, they do not play. Movies only play what the public like, and that is still happening. You are liking Pushpa, that’s why she is running, films like Gangubai, Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 are being liked by people and that’s why they are running. I believe this is an ever-present trend, whatever the timing.
Good movies do, bad movies don’t…
But isn’t it subjective to be ‘good’ at something? Of course, it is subjective for something to be ‘good’, says Aamir, but it is the audience that decides what is good. There is nothing new in this. He believes that the notion that Bollywood does not make big films is wrong. Bollywood has also made big films. Rohit Shetty makes big films. We make all kinds of films. There may have been fewer films in the last few months, but if you ask me what the trend is, it is simple – good films do, and bad films do not.
The dent in Bollywood’s hold at the box office is being felt more because South Indian films have been successful in grabbing the audience’s attention in different languages. After films like RRR, KGF: Chapter 2, and Pushpa: The Rise broke box-office records across India, people are ready to bet on South films, but doubts remain about any Bollywood film.
Aamir Khan’s opinion on South vs Bollywood
However, Aamir feels that the South vs Bollywood debate is pointless, because, as a viewer, I don’t care which part of the country the film is coming from. Why should I matter? If I am getting emotional gratification or entertainment by watching a Tamil, Malayalam, Marathi, or Punjabi film, what is wrong with that? I don’t understand that if South films are going on today and people are liking it, then what is the problem with it? I think it’s a good thing. If we want our films to be liked by more and more people, then we have to make such films which can attract more people.
So why is Bollywood, infamous for making commercial films, today struggling to make films that appeal to the audience? This is because of the widening gap between what the producers want to say and what the audience wants to hear.
They say, directors, actors, writers, producers of the Hindi film industry – those who are qualified, can control what is being created. Perhaps what is relevant to them is not relevant to the audience. If I like a topic, but I know it is not relevant to the audience, but still I want to make a film on the subject, then I will. But if I think that what I am making is for a mass audience, then I have to reconsider my choice.
Emotional films connect with people
Elaborating on the relevance of the subjects, Aamir also dismissed the notion that now only action films will play in theatres. Aamir, who has built his filmography based on emotional stories, says that any filmmaker today who is able to win over the hearts of the audience will be successful.
Producers are choosing topics that are relevant to them. They should do the same. I am not saying that they should not do this. But if they want a bigger audience like I always want a bigger audience… then it doesn’t have to be an action film. It is lack of foresight that only action movies are liked by the audience. Emotional movies connect people. You stir up a sense of anger in them, watching such movies ignite violence within you, and it’s a satisfying feeling, then you are really tapping into people’s emotions. If I want to instill a sense of humor in you, I have to do it successfully.
Aamir admitted that the challenges have increased for Hindi filmmakers as audiences no longer take his work in the way it was before. Aamir also advises creators to go back to basics. We, as Hindi filmmakers, have to hone our skills and choose topics that are relevant to the audience. The better my ability as a filmmaker, the better I will be able to control you as a viewer. The connotation of tame is negative, but I am not using it in a negative way.
“A filmmaker stirs emotion in you, makes you laugh, cry, and if you are Rajkumar Hirani, you do both at the same time! What matters is how you express what you want to say. With OTT, viewers are now rejecting what they used to accept. For example, if they are watching action movies from around the world, your action should be at that level to entertain them, or you have to see that your story evokes any kind of emotion in the audience.
Aamir praises Rakshabandhan movie
Will Aamir’s production Laal Singh Chaddha be able to make a mark in the audience? It will be known only on August 11. But there is one film which Bollywood actor Aamir considers relevant, and which is releasing along with his film. Raksha Bandhan is one such film which is relevant. Here is the story of a common man, who is struggling with economic issues. I hope the film is well made, but it is definitely a topic that is relevant to us.