April 17 2016
So what did you make of ‘Fan’? Should you watch it? The film starring Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) both as an obsessive fan of a film star, Aryan Khanna… also played by himself…
ANYONE looking for a typical Bollywood tamasha is going to be severely disappointed – it is, as SRK indicates elsewhere, something of a nod to foreign filmmaking and social realism (in the way of James Bond or the Bourne films).
In fact, at least until we see Aryan Khanna, the superstar, it’s nicely paced, entertaining and entirely believable.
Gaurav (SRK pictured here), the Ayran Khanna, nut/fan, is kind of likable, goofy, innocent.
He runs a cybercafé, has loving parents and generally is like some young Indian men from this sort of milieu – nice, if a little gormless and socially inept.
There is a vague love interest but Gaurav’s only real passion is for Ayran Khanna and he enters the local talent competition knowing his impersonations of the star, complete with lines and dance routines from Shah Rukh’s most iconic films, will bag him first prize and a nice Rs20,000 (£200) – enough to send him to Mumbai.
There are hints of autism and certainly in the second half of the film, if this was more a realistic production from start to finish, it would carry more weight and be more powerful.
But in the second half, it becomes more of an out and out action thriller – the action sequences are good if you like that kind of thing, but not exactly realistic and the thriller element ends up being clumsy and is not properly exploited.
A section when Gaurav surreptitiously enters his icon’s home as Aryan and cosies up to his wife and child is superb – but debutant director Maneesh Sharma lets go of the tension and the film’s intensity dissipates.
There are a lot of interesting subtexts, one of them being the differences between those who grew up in Delhi and Mumbai. As any fan knows SRK grew up in Delhi but has made Mumbai his home.
SRK is very good as Gaurav but personally, I wonder if it had been better for someone else to play Ayran Khanna – or for the older character not really to have been based on the real life SRK, but some fictitious movie star.
If you are a real Bollywood fan and by extension a massive fan of SRK, you will probably tolerate this film but no more; if you’re little less an SRK fan but love Bollywood, there will be little in this film for you. Indeed, one imagines that the young guys who idolise SRK but live in the smaller cities and rural parts of India, will be left unmoved and confused by this and will soon forget it.
For the rest of us, this is an interesting departure and SRK shows that there is real acting skill beneath the swagger and that mop of hair.
The final scene is kind of haunting and it leaves you thinking whether the lives of such stars are actually worse than those of their fans – not outwardly of course but inside, in their interior – what does the soul of a star really crave…not money or more fame but probably professional recognition… (Sailesh Ram)
ACV rating: **** for the first one hour 30 and then ** 1/2, so *** and a bit in the end. ***½ (out of five)