Friday, April 15, 2016

FAN - Its SRK all the way!

Movie - FAN
Director - Maneesh Sharma 

Starring: Shah Rukh Khan

First things first, with FAN, Shah Rukh Khan has effectively shut down all the critics who had been writing him off over the past few years. SRK as Gaurav is a treat to watch and reminds one of the superstar’s rise to fame with anti hero roles like in Darr, Baazigar and Anjaam.

FAN Gaurav Chandna considers superstar Aryan Khanna his God and he could not be more thrilled to look somewhat like him. In fact Gaurav is known as Junior Aryan Khanna in the Inder Puri area where he resides and is the long standing winner at the local talent show held every year during Dussehra. This time however Gaurav has a plan - he wants to travel to Mumbai on his idol’s birthday and share his little success with him and thus starts the journey. Gaurav meets his idol, yes, but under circumstances which make him want to prove to Aryan that he was right when he said that he is nothing without his fans and for poor Aryan, this fan knows entirely too much about him, his schedule and exactly what would harm him and his image as a nice family man!

Gaurav has been established as a somewhat rowdy yet sweet Delhi boy who is not above threatening people/standing his ground/doing both without any care of practicality - his introduction scene has him fighting it out with three men who are definitely stronger than him because they refuse to comply to his request to leave his cyber cafe as he has the above mentioned competition to attend. Gaurav’s character comes across as a regular Dilli ka launda (self assured, confident, a little crass but sweet in his own way) with an irregular kind of love for Aryan Khanna - one which you only start raising your eyebrow upon when it starts transcending into a harmful obsession. Till then, the audience is happy (like Gaurav’s parents) to indulge in his tomfoolery and imagined paradise where only two exist - Gaurav and his idol.

And then this fool’s paradise is interrupted with actions one cannot ignore or brush under the carpet, no matter how innocent and vulnerable Gaurav still manages to look. You laugh at his antics, yes, he is oddly loveable that way but you also cringe because you can guess that this ‘love’ will result in catastrophe - be it for Aryan or Gaurav himself.

Maneesh Sharma manages to keep the audience at the edge of their seat for the whole of the first half. You are played with as you constantly feel the tug towards Gaurav yet are creeped out by him too; you’re confused as you realise that you cannot fault Aryan for his actions but you cannot outright dislike Gaurav either for his. And by the end of the first half, it seems like the director has set the stage for an engaging psychological thriller only for the second half to come in and do nothing for the amazing built up it had.

The second half suffers from the lack of coherence about exactly what genre is this movie aiming at - psychological thriller or action? It also suffers, more acutely felt than in the first half, with the lack of subplots and characters other than Aryan and Gaurav. The screenplay feels entirely too heavy for a movie of this kind - a lot of dialogues could have been easily replaced with one or two meaningful scenes which developed more on the characters of Gaurav’s parents and his ‘one way wala’ love interest. Also except VFX, the film falls short in other departments (it only has one song - the FAN anthem and I absolutely love it - lyrics and all!). The editing was done well for the film they had on the table.

Had the second half been as engaging as the first, Fan would have been a force to reckon with as a story in itself and not as a SRK fair which it is through and through. Shah Rukh is brilliant as the creepy yet vulnerable Gaurav (he literally gave me the heebie-jeebies!) and the tired, exasperated but spirited superstar Aryan Khanna - the two characters could not be more poles apart yet their execution is done with equal conviction.

Verdict - 'FAN' is a must watch for all SRK lovers, but more so for those who wrote off the man over the past few years without realising that he has ruled Bollywood for 25 years - there must be something that sustains him and he proves just what it is in this movie.

Poster credit - Yash Raj Films