Posted: 15 April 2016 at 12:59pm | IP Logged
ast: Shah Rukh Khan, Shriya Pilgaonkar.
Direction: Maneesh Sharma.
Film Review: Fan
By Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror | Apr 15, 2016, 08.31 PM IST
Idol mind, devil's workshop
One of the persistently conveyed takeaways from the film is that 'a fan maketh a star' " an idiom about as jaded as 'a child gives birth to a mother'.
But this film is essentially about a fan's misplaced sense of entitlement with his idol. The fact that his single-minded obsession for his hero is similar to that of most SRK fans, lends the film a distinctly realistic flair. What also helps, production-wise, is that the stock footage of SRK's early interviews, acceptance speeches and other TV appearances help evoke the frenzy of those who worship him. Playing both, star and fan, Khan delivers on the writing of Habib Faisal (Do Dooni Chaar, Ishaqzaade) and Sharat Katariya (Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Titli) to an extent that one is willing to forgive, if not forget his last two releases (Happy New Year, Dilwale).
The film opens to the middle-class life of West Delhi cyber cafe owner, Gaurav Chandna (Shah Rukh Khan with a broader jaw). A quick montage of his childhood reveals his manic obsession for his ultimate idol, Bollywood superstar Aryan Khanna (SRK). Despite a slighter frame, broader jaw and despicable grin, Gaurav resembles his screen icon and even goes by the moniker, junior Aryan Khanna.
When the bhakt manages to save up enough, he heads to Mumbai to meet Khanna on the eve of his birthday. This meeting is restricted to jostling with millions of fans outside the actor's bungalow, as Khanna briefly appears to wave out at them. Our fanboy isn't content with this flashing glimpse and hopes for a personal audience with the superstar. He manages this, following a well-executed yet notorious plan.
But his nefarious approach doesn't get Khanna's nod, and he reprimands him. "Tum mere fan nahin ho!" This is enough to tick off Gaurav, who goes on to prove that hell hath no fury like a hanger-on scorned. The rest of the film has Gaurav channelling a sociopathic stalker to wreck havoc in Khanna's life.
As a thriller, this one is tight and holds your attention and interest for a large part of its 2-hour-20-minute runtime.
What works for the film is SRK, with his inimitable ability to transform into his own lookalike. While slipping on a prosthetic jaw and cheeks can alter one's personality, flaunting a Delhiwala twang and teeth-baring grin, renders him to become an approximation of himself. Even his body language and dance moves are suitably laboured " just like one would expect from a double.
What works against it, are the implausible plot points: the doppelganger who appears distinctly different from the original in the first half, transforms himself in the second half, to appear so convincing that the original's crew, fans and even his wife can't tell him apart. During a scene where Khanna's wife mistakes the double for her husband and is about to hug him, an audience member warns, "Wait, that's not him!" If only films were interactive!
Director Maneesh Sharma is best known for his directorial debut, the refreshing Band Baaja Baaraat. But from here on, he would be known as the maker responsible for reviving SRK's plunging career by extracting a performance that couples the enthusiasm of a newcomer and the restraint of a veteran. From the supporting cast, Shriya Pilgaonkar as the girl-from-next-gully and Gaurav's love interest, shines in all her scenes and is a great find.
This film goes against the construct of a Yash Raj film. It has Shah Rukh Khan, but not a single song. It has a shaadi, but it's only peripheral to the story. It has a psychotic stalker but he doesn't believe in self-harm. It feels like a tribute to King Khan but SRK hasn't been more unlike himself in any other film. So, should you invest in such a risky watch? If you're an SRK fan, you don't care for approval. But even if you aren't, this one's a thrilling watch