Amid social media “boycott” of Aamir Khan-starrer Laal Singh Chaddha, the movie hit theatres on August 11. The Forrest Gump-remake had been facing backlash from a section of social media users who called for a boycott of the movie citing Aamir Khan’s previous ‘anti-Hindu’ stance. In it in this background, a picture showing Aamir Khan, Udhayanidhi Stalin, Mona Singh and Naga Chaitanya seated in an almost empty theatre is going viral on social media platforms. Those who shared the picture claimed that it was clicked at the “premiere of Laal Singh Chaddha,” that “proved to be a flop” as the theatre largely remained empty. Newschecker found that the claim was false.
Several other users shared the picture claiming to show the “situation of a free show, which was organised for technicians and Bollywood people.”
Helmed by Advait Chandan, Laal Singh Chaddha had a rough reception online with many old videos of Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor Khan resurfacing online ahead of the film’s release.
A 2015 interview, where Khan spoke about “intolerance” in the country and said, “As an individual, as part of this country as a citizen, we read in the papers what is happening, we see it on the news and certainly, I have been alarmed. I can’t deny. I have been alarmed by a number of incidents.” His remark was widely shared by detractors to show Khan’s ‘anti-Indian’ sentiments. The portrayal of Gods and Goddess in Khan’s movie PK also irked many. Members of Hindu outfit staged a protest against the Laal Singh Chadha, demanding a ban on it in Uttar Pradesh, accusing Khan of making fun of deities. His meet-up with the Turkish First Lady Emine Erdogan while he was shooting for Laal Singh Chaddha also didn’t go well either.
Meanwhile, Kareena Kapoor Khan’s 2020 remarks on nepotism in Bollywood also gained a lot of traction. Speaking about the nepotism debate in an interview to journalist Barkha Dutt, the actress had said, “The same people pointing fingers, they are only making these nepotistic stars. Aap jaa re ho na film dekhne? Mat jao (You are going to watch the films, right? Don’t go). Nobody has forced you. So I don’t understand it. I find this whole discussion is completely weird (sic).”
Newschecker conducted a Google reverse image search on the viral picture which led us to a tweet by the verified account of @LMKMovieManiac. Carrying a set of three images, including the viral image, the tweet was captioned “The #LaalSinghChaddha Chennai press meet finally begins! After almost 3 hrs of waiting..”
Notably, the premiere of a new play or film is the first public performance of it. While a press conference/ press meet is a meeting held by a famous or important person in which they promote the movie and take questions from journalists.
Taking a clue, we looked up keywords “Chennai Press Meet Laal Singh Chaddha Aamir Khan” on Google and set the time frame for the search from August 7, 2022 to August 8, 2022. The search yielded several reports on the press meet.
A report by Movie Galleri, dated August 8, 2022, carried the images showing “Aamir Khan, Naga Chaitanya, Mona Singh, Advait Chandan, Ajit Andhare, Udhayanidhi Stalin at Laal Singh Chaddha Tamil Press Meet in Chennai.”
In the images the actors can be seen dressed in the same attire as in the viral picture claiming to show “empty theatre” during “premiere” of Laal Singh Chaddha.
Another report by Chennai Vision carrying stills from the press meet in Chennai featured images similar to the viral picture.
Newschecker reached out to Gopinath Rajendran, Senior Sub Editor/Reporter with The New Indian Express, who had also attended the event on August 7. He told us, “It was a press meet and not a show of Laal Singh Chaddha. The total duration (of the event) was just half an hour.” Rajendran said that the press meet happened at Satyam Theatre in Chennai and the event was wrapped up in half an hour as the screening of a different film was scheduled soon after.
Gopinath explained further, “In a press meet they would show us (journalists/media persons) the trailer of the film and people associated with the film will take the dais and talk for a minute or two….So no screening of the film happens per say. Premiere is when they play the entire film for a certain section of the audience.”
Gopinath also told us that a press meet is open to media organisations only. “That’s why you would find less people in the photo because only the press folks were once who attended.” The event (Laal Singh Chaddha press meet) was open to press and media organisations from Tamil. Speaking on the premier of the movie in Chennai, he added, “As far as I know, the premiere happened… it was not even a premiere. It was more of a close knit show for Tamil celebrities.” Notably, this show for Tamil celebrities happened on August 8, a day after the press meet.
He also shared some pictures from the press meet with Newschecker. The same can be seen below.
Furthermore, we conducted another Google search with the keywords “Chennai Press Meet Laal Singh Chaddha Aamir Khan” in Tamil, with the help of Google translate, which led us to a report by Asianet elaborating on the event. The report also carried an image featuring the actors in the same attire.
In addition, the viral photo was also uploaded on Facebook page Team Aamir Khan on August 7, 2022 with the caption “Akkineni Naga Chaitanya Udhayanidhi Stalin #MonaSingh and #AamirKhan on stage at the #LaalSinghChaddha Chennai press meet.3 Days To Go…..”
Viral posts claiming to show “empty theatre” at Laal Singh Chaddha premiere despite the presence of Aamir Khan are false. The viral picture is actually from a press meet in Chennai days ahead of the release of the movie.
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