Why did Aamir Khan meet Steven Spielberg before making Laal Singh Chaddha?

Actor's quest to meet with the legendary director took him all the way to Germany

Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan returns to the silver screen this week with his latest epic, Laal Singh Chaddha. But the journey is much longer and more painful than just the past four years of casting and shooting and it even prompted the actor to seek an audience with one of the legendary directors in Hollywood.

Laal Singh Chaddha, Aamir’s first film in four years, is an official adaptation of the 1994 Oscar-winning movie Forrest Gump which starred Hollywood superstar and Oscar winner Tom Hanks.

But according to the Hindustan Times, Aamir’s quest to remake the Oscar-winning movie began over a decade ago.

“I am talking about 14 years ago,” Aamir said, as he detailed the journey of acquiring rights for the movie.

At the time, the Bollywood actor said that the producers of Laal Singh Chaddha Viacom (a multinational mass media conglomerate) on the behest of Aamir, had approached Paramount Pictures in the US. Paramount owns the rights to Forrest Gump.

“We approached Paramount, which is the company that owns and has made the original (Forrest Gump),” he said on Koffee With Karan 7. Initial talks went well and Paramount were open to Indian remakes of any of their films.

“You can take any rights from us,” Aamir told of Paramount’s response to their query.

But things then came unstuck.

“There was different management then. Not only in Paramount but also in Viacom. That time for some reason it was not working out.”

This, however, did not deter Aamir, who continued to chase after the movie.

In this regard, he reached out to legendary Hollywood director Steven Spielberg.

While Steven Spielberg, who is known for films such as ET, had nothing to do with Forrest Gump, he was approached by Aamir with a different agenda in mind.

“I flew to Germany, to Berlin, and met Spielberg in the hope that he might put in a word to Mr Zemeckis (Forrest Gump director Robert Zemeckis); they are very close,” he said.

Eight years later, he finally managed to acquire rights for the film.

What did Spielberg do for Aamir?

The meeting did not just ultimately lead to movie rights for Aamir. It also became a route for praise and introductions from the legendary director.

While Aamir could not convince Zemeckis to meet with him and discuss the film, his travel to Germany to meet with Spielberg did yield a different benefit for the Bollywood actor, Bollywood Hungama reported.

Spielberg was so impressed by Aamir and his desire to remake Forrest Gump, that he decided to introduce him to Mr Forrest Gump himself, Tom Hanks.

Hanks and Spielberg were filming for the latter’s film Bridge of Spies in Berlin at the time and the meeting was convenient.

Meeting with Hanks on the set of Bridge of Spies, Spielberg introduced Aamir to the Oscar-winning actor as the “James Cameron” of India.

To add to Aamir’s surprise, Hanks was not totally unaware of the Bollywood actor or his work.

In fact, Hanks made it a point to let Aamir know that he was a fan, having watched his 2009 hit 3 Idiots and loved it so much to watch it at least three times.

tom hanks

aamir khan

Laal Singh Chaddha

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