Interviews

Interview: Mona Singh talks ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’

MONA SINGH IN LAAL SINGH CHADDHA - PARAMOUNT UKIndian actress Mona Singh has teamed up with Bollywood legend Aamir Khan again, this time for Paramount’s new Bollywood film, Laal Singh Chaddha. The 40-year-old actress has previously worked with the ‘perfectionist’ in 2009’s blockbuster 3 Idiots

Laal Singh Chaddha is directed by Advait Chandan, from a debut screenplay written by Atul Kulkarni and based on both the Forrest Gump screenplay by Eric Roth and Winston Groom’s original novel. The film also stars Kareena Kapoor Khan and Naga Chaitanya.

The film weaves through Laal Singh Chaddha’s epic journey of overcoming childhood disability, serving in the military, experiencing heart-warming friendships and love, kindling an entrepreneurial spirit, peering into India through the ages – including world wars, independence, partition, conflicts and development; and lots of running!

In this film, Singh plays mother to Aamir’s character Laal, something the actress was disturbingly trolled for on social media.

Speaking to BollyNewsUK, Singh opened up on joining the cast of the film, the experience of playing the role, and more…

What was your reaction when you first heard about the Indian adaptation of Forrest Gump?
I knew Forrest Gump and I was shocked to know that there is going to be an Indian remake of that classic. Aamir Khan has also been saying the he couldn’t believe that Atul Kulkarni was attempting to adapt the film. I was blown away when I read the script. It’s so simple, so ‘Indianised’, and has such different takes from the original film. It’s a whole new movie altogether. I think, it’s really important to make a film like this in today’s time when there is a whole generation who might have missed that classic. It’s important for them to watch it.

Kareena Kapoor Khan had to audition for the film. How was that process like for you?
I had a call to audition for the mother’s role. Like I said, I was really surprised that Forrest Gump is going to be adapted in India. They told me to come for the audition and then they’ll tell me who is making the film. I had no idea what was really going on. I did two scenes in my audition; the dying scene, and the scene with the school principal. They just asked me to be this strong Punjabi woman, who doesn’t plead nor begs, but holds her ground. I tried my best and three-four days later, the director Advait and Aamir Khan called me. They both didn’t stop talking about my audition and telling me how good it was. They then called me to their office for a script narration. All the actors came together for the reading and we just had a great time. It rarely happens that a movie can touch you in this way. It was an instant yes from all of us and it’s been the most memorable journey of my life so far. 

WATCH: Mona Singh talks about an emotionally draining scene from Laal Singh Chaddha

Mona Singh talks about the crucial scene of cutting the hair of a young Sikh child in Paramount Pictures’ new Bollywood film Laal Singh Chaddha

You are Sikh, Punjabi and have an Indian Army family background. Did that make it easier for you to identify with the character?
It made it easier to identify with the character but portraying it wasn’t as easy. I’m playing a mother, which I’m not. I’m playing an age, which I’m not. It was very emotional and I was nervous, and challenged. That is the best part of being an actor, when you have sleepless nights and are constantly challenged. When working with Aamir Khan, you’re automatically challenged as he is a perfectionist. He used to sit down with me in between takes and would give me notes on my scenes. The journey was fantastic and I had a great time. 

The film is getting the widest-ever release for an Indian title in the UK. Do you think it will resonate with a non-Hindi speaking audience? 
It’s happening already. We’re getting such positive reviews from international media outlets. Some have called it better than the original, which is massive for us. Language is no barrier when the content is good, specific and simple. We watch so much international content with subtitles in India. I watch Italian, French, and Spanish movies because of their content. Laal Singh Chadda is getting so much love and I’m very excited with Paramount coming on-board. It’s never happened for an Indian film like this before. Fingers crossed, I really hope the film does well at the Box Office and that people love it. 

WATCH: Mona Singh discusses the negative social media campaign against Laal Singh Chaddha

Mona Singh talks about the social media trolling towards her for portraying a mother to Aamir Khan in Paramount’s Laal Singh Chaddha.

Laal Singh Chaddha is released by Paramount Pictures UK and is in cinemas now.

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