Fan

Author: Dr. Mandar
Rating

Fan
Year: 2016
Director: Maneesh Sharma
Cast: Shahrukh Khan

In his fledgling career, director Maneesh Sharma has already shown quite a lot of promise with some energetic entertainers like Band Bajaa Baraat (2010), Ladies Versus Ricky Behl (2011) and Shudh Desi Romance (2013). So what will he present in his dream project Fan with none other than Shahrukh Khan?

Will the film match up to its interesting promos?

More importantly, with his last three performances (Chennai Express, Happy New Year and Dilwale) failing to dispel the growing feeling that he is over the hill, will the self-touted King Khan get his mojo back?

The questions surrounding Fan made it one of the most anticipated movies of the year and now that it is here, how does it fare?

What is the plot?

Aryan Khanna (Shahrukh Khan) is a reigning Bollywood superstar, a self-made man, who has risen to stardom from a modest middle-class Delhi-neighbourhood. Amongst his millions of fans is Gaurav Chandna, a young look-alike (if you discount the ungainly protruding upper jaw!), whose greatest achievement is winning the best actor trophy for imitating Aryan Khanna at the local fancy dress competition.  Gaurav’s (or for that matter, even his doting parents’!)  fan-love for Aryan knows no bounds. Being a middle-class Delhi-boy himself, Gaurav almost sees himself as Aryan’s heir apparent and calls himself- Aryan Junior!

He decides to go to Mumbai to meet the superstar, sure in his mind that the famous actor would acknowledge and reciprocate his love. He is willing to go to any extent to achieve this goal but his over-enthusiastic, obsessive attitude makes him do something that would make his idol reject his affection outright. Will Junior take the Senior’s rebuke in right spirit? Or will it spark a deadly feeling of revenge? Will he go off his rocker to wreak havoc in the superstar’s celebrated life? Yes, that’s what happens and the shell-shocked star is left to chase this obsessed fan-turned-foe to bring him to his senses. How will it all end?

What is hot?

·        Director Maneesh Sharma sensitively shows the emotionally charged yet extremely fickle fan-star relationship and discusses their mutual importance and interdependence. He perfectly portrays the fan’s crazed admiration for the famed star and brings to life his wishful fantasy world where every tiny detail of the idol’s life assumes such a great significance. Even the star’s perspective comes across clearly where he enjoys the fans’ attention, affection and adulation up to a limit but also wants to be left alone afterwards to lead his own life.

·        While the film definitely brings back memories of Hollywood thrillers such as Misery and (similarly titled) Fan, its unique Bollywood identity is never in question.

·        It is a rather bold and at times even deprecating biographical take on Shahrukh Khan’s own journey in Hindi film industry. His middle-class Delhi roots, initial struggles in Mumbai without a Godfather, haughty star attitude, palatial residence, loving family, darshan ceremonies for fans, paid dance performances at the rich and famous weddings and concerns about his diminishing box office appeal----the references are straight from real life.

·        Shahrukh Khan convincingly plays the superstar Aryan Khanna as a cool yet cocky charmer. But his portrayal of Gaurav as a bubbly youngster who turns from a zealot fan to an obsessed stalker is too predictable (Remember Darr and Anjaam?) and further hampered by none too-convincing, none-too-consistent prosthetic-aided looks!

·        In some marquee scenes SRK is simply brilliant.

·        No songs….that’s music to ears!

What’s not?

·        The writing is below par. After a breezy beginning, the film unravels into a series of irrational, implausible events and loses its touch with reality that it manages to establish earlier.

·        The stunts are stretched so long, they grate on nerves.

·        The climax is ineffective.

·        There is precious little for the supporting cast to do.

.         By YRF standards the production values look ordinary.

Verdict

With better writing, the film could have turned into a really good thriller. But it fails to rise beyond an interesting take on the fan-star dynamics, while offering insights on the inner working of Bollywood. For Shahrukh Khan it is definitely a step up from his recent lackluster performances. Fan is a one man show and he definitely carries it on his shoulders despite the plot’s (and his own!) inherent limitations.

Rating

2.5 stars

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