Exclusive: Mona Singh defends 'desh mein malaria phaila hai' line from Laal Singh Chaddha
Mona Singh talks to Hindustan Times about aging on screen in Laal Singh Chaddha and why she thinks there's nothing wrong with her 'malaria' line in the film.
Mona Singh, who proudly plays the role of Laal Singh Chaddha’s mother in the Advait Chandan film, has made it clear she had no apprehensions about taking up the role which also required her to age from 22 to 60. The actor had made her film debut as Aamir Khan’s sister-in-law in the 2009 blockbuster, 3 Idiots. In fact, Mona feels extremely satisfied and happy after all the praise that’s coming her way for playing the feisty, Punjabi-speaking mom of the lead character in Laal Singh Chaddha. Also read: Exclusive: Mona Singh on Laal Singh Chaddha's box office performance: 'This is the third film of my life'
In a chat with Hindustan Times, Mona Singh opened up about taking up the role in the film. She also addressed the controversy surrounding one of her lines that equates riots to ‘malaria’.
Talking about taking up the role of Gurpreet Kaur Chaddha, Mona said, “I jumped at the opportunity when I was asked to audition for the role - I auditioned my dying scene and my principal scene. Three days after my audition, I immediately got a call from Aamir sir directly and from Advait. I can’t tell you how happy they were with my audition, they just wanted to meet me the next day, narrate me the movie and tell me everything about it. I loved the script, it was so Indianised and beautifully written. I thought for my age, this is going to be the biggest challenge for me to take up this role. I am not a mother and I am not that old as well, so for me to portray a full life span -- from 22 to 60 was very challenging and satisfying as an actor.”
Mona is seen playing almost her real age as the mom of a young Laal Singh Chaddha (Ahmad Ibn Umar) and then aging to 60 as the mom of a grown up Laal (Aamir Khan). Sharing all that went into creating her look of an older woman, she said, For my younger days, there was no makeup at all. As I started ageing in the film, there was a lot going on in my hair, extensions, makeup, prosthetics, my body language, the way I speak, my reflexes becoming slower, talking with a deep baritone and breathing bit heavily.”
She even took inspiration from her own mom to age well on screen. “I had a slight limp in my walk because I noticed my mother how she walks. We did have workshops, we went to Aamir’s farmhouse in Panchgani where we had script reading sessions and rehearsed our scenes,” she said.
A Delhi-based lawyer filed a complaint against Aamir Khan and others related to the film for allegedly "disrespecting the Indian Army and hurting Hindu Sentiments" in Laal Singh Chaddha. He objected to a scene where a Pakistani personnel asks Laal Singh Chaddha, "I offer Namaz and pray, Laal, why don't you do the same?" Laal replies, "my mother said all this puja paath is malaria. It causes riots."
In the film, Mona's Gurpreet Kaur Chaddha asks young Laal to not step out amid riots led by communal tension, saying ‘malaria faila hua hai (there is malaria outside).' Speaking in the film's defence, Mona said, “I think people who have raised an issue with the line have definitely not watched the film. The kind of son I have, Laal, he is a slow boy and understands things only when I explain them well. At that age, you cannot tell a kid that there are riots going on and people are killing each other. What is the best solution -- the way a mother can explain something so massive in such a beautiful way , ‘Desh me malaria faila hua hai’. He gets it bang on that its not the right time to step out of the house. I never bought guns for my nephew, I bought Lego, books or other toys. You don’t hand them guns or talk about issues like killing.”
She added, “People who have watched the film have not raised a question. It’s so simple, there’s nothing to feel bad, there is no political thing going on in the film.”