Friday, 15 April 2016

Fandom vs Stardom. My Review. Fan

Director : Maneesh Sharma

Starring : Shahrukh Khan, Waluscha de Sousa, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Deepika Amin, Yogendra Tikoo, Sayani Gupta

For a Shahrukh fan like me, seeing him doing one mindless, garish film after another pained me. I knew he is better… I knew because I love Mohan Bhargava, Surinder Sahni, Kabir Khan, Raj Mathur, Ajay Sharma, Sunil… even the many Raj and Rahuls…

The question that kept coming up in my head was does HE still know it? believes it, is pained by the lack of such characters in his filmography today?

Seems like he did, after all he is one of the most intelligent actors in Bollywood. Sharp brained and tongued… with the announcement of Fan and Raees, I felt a flutter of hope.. that I would see the other side of SRK, where he would again show us why we love him, why despite him being mostly typecast, he keeps reminding us time and again that given a good script and a nuanced role, in the hands of a skilled director, he can, and does deliver.

Fan gives us a very interesting though not totally unique premise; what happens when a Superstar’s fan turns into his ultimate foe, with the doppelgänger angle making it even more compelling.
Shahrukh as Gaurav Chandna, runs a cyber café in Delhi, belongs to a middle class family, an only son. But his world is Aryan Khanna (Shahrukh in a double role) the superstar of Bollywood. Gaurav is a diehard fan, who hangs on to every word spoken by his idol… his love gaining strength and confidence when his star openly declares “mere fans ke bina main kuch nahi”. Add to it the twist of fate that he is a spitting image of his screen god Aryan, barring rather large jutting out teeth. He has mastered every dialogue, every move of Aryan, and is a multiple time winner of a local acting competition. Now his only dream is to go and meet Aryan on his birthday and give him the trophy he has won… and hug him. But to his shock and disillusionment, the Aryan Khanna of his dreams, his love and adulation turns out to be cold, standoffish and downright snubbing. This is despite the fact that Gaurav took revenge from a star threatening to sue Aryan for assault. What Gaurav in his blind love for Aryan doesn’t realise and refuses to comprehend is that he crossed a line, committed a crime and Aryan Khanna tells him “Tum hote kaun ho mere liye kuch karne wale” After being told that “Main apni life ke paanch second bhi tumhe kyon doon” something breaks forever inside Gaurav, love turns into obsession and he swears to destroy Aryan Khanna. Thus the chase begins. Will Aryan Khanna be able to stop Gaurav and get his life back is what the hook is.

Shahrukh delivers a dil se performance as Gaurav Chandna. After a LONG time, I found him surrendering to the character, investing in it and becoming it. A brilliant cyber café scene is my favorite in the film. The body language, the dialogue delivery, the Dillipan, Shahrukh is in full form, both as a loving fan and an obsessed man bent on revenge. But as Aryan Khanna, I found him at times disinterested, lacking in energy. Even so, he doesn’t fail to impress in certain sequences. 

This film for me works only because of one thing, Shahrukh Khan. Him standing and greeting his fans at Mannat… reminds you yet again of his badshah status. 

What lets down the film in various places is the lazy writing, illogical contrived plot points and one of the most terrible supporting cast in recent times. Waluscha playing Aryan Khanna’s wife is so inept, Deepika Amin hams her way through, even Tikoo who was brilliant in Neerja, finds himself struggling.  The actor playing Sid Kapoor, cringe inducing bad. Shriya Pilgaonkar, though a natural performer, didn’t convince me as Dilliwali kudi. The person who fit well was Sayani Gupta playing AK’s secretary.

There are some stand out moments in the film, specially between Gaurav and AK, but I wish there were more.

The premise could have easily lend itself to a thoroughly gripping, tight thriller, but what it ends up being is a half-hearted attempt. The idea of two equally stubborn men, refusing to give in, the who- blinks-first game, the emotional layering of a Superstar accepting they are perceived as public property because what got them to that celebrity status is the public, aah.. so many possibilities, few explored in the film. Aryan Khanna, who is a rags to riches story, common dilli ka launda turned megastar, when turns around and behaves almost like a jerk with Gaurav, I couldn’t find any answers in the narrative for this cold persona, wish they had created a more fleshed out character.

This is one film where I feel even the director is let down by the writing. 

There are no songs in the film, and I was disappointed with the complete omission of the much promoted Fan Anthem. The background score is extremely average, at times a total fail. The cinematography is a plus. 

So go watch the film for Shahrukh, who returns and wins.

My Verdict 2.5/5