Atul Kulkarni reveals Aamir Khan refused to read his ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’ script for two years
Forrest Gump, the Oscar-winning 1994 movie, has frequently been described as a true-blue American story. The movie is as much the story of a man as it is the journey of the country. So, to adapt it in a different nation sounds unusual. However, Atul Kulkarni has dealt with it. The actor is turning screenwriter with Laal Singh Chaddha, which features Aamir Khan in the lead role. In a recent interaction with Hindustan Times, Atul talks about the ‘daunting’ task of adapting Forrest Gump and why Aamir refused to read the script for two full years.
The genesis of the adaptation occurred back in 2008 after the premiere of Aamir’s production Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na. Atul Kulkarni recalls, “There was a premiere, after which we went to Aamir’s place. And during the chat over dinner, the subject of favourite films came up. We both mentioned Forrest Gump. The next day, I was to go for an outdoor shoot for 10-15 days, which got cancelled. I saw the Forrest Gump DVD at my home and it was fresh in my mind, so since I had free time, I decided to watch it. After some time, I wondered if this incident took place in India, when would it begin and I began taking notes. One hour through the film, I said why not attempt a screenplay.”
Atul recalled when he approached Aamir with his script, the actor just didn’t give him time for a reading. “First two years, Aamir didn’t read the script. It’s not that we were not meeting or we weren’t in touch. All the time, he would say, ‘haan padhte hain (yes we will do a reading)’,” shares Atul. Eventually, a frustrated Atul asked his friend and former co-star about the delay and Aamir promptly dropped a bombshell on him. Atul says, “After a couple of years, I asked him when will we read. And then said let me confess something. He said, ‘you are not a writer and you tell me you have written a Forrest Gump adaptation in 15 days. You are a close friend and I don’t want to disappoint you by saying you have written very badly’. That’s why he wasn’t listening to the script.”
Atul said that he finally convinced Aamir to give him a reading by saying he didn’t care if Aamir ‘trashed’ the script after the reading. As it turns out, Aamir liked it so much that he chose to act in as well as produce the movie.
Laal Singh Chaddha likewise features Kareena Kapoor, Mona Singh, and Naga Chaitanya. The movie, produced by Aamir Khan Productions, Kiran Rao, and Viacom18 Studios, is ready to be released on 11 August 2022.