SRK's Fan: 'Great indie-film unnecessarily Bollywood-ised'
Actor Shah Rukh Khan, left, poses for photographers with his Madame Tussauds wax figure in central London ahead of the launch of Khan's new film 'Fan'.
Dubai - Fan meanders a trifle too long but is honest in its emotional core of fan-star relationship, writes Deepa Gauri
You could call Fan a twisted piece of work or a multi-layered one.
Either way, do not look for logic because in obsession, hatred and single-minded purpose, there is no room for logic. People just get things done.
Ok, for a minute, let us play Fan's advocate: For that, here is its thread. There is Gaurav, the obsessed fan of superstar Aryan Khanna, who desperately wants to meet the actor. A crime by Gaurav, done in good intention to protect Aryan's reputation, lands him in jail at the behest of the actor. Aryan is not at his glorious best: he is troubled with his films flopping and what not. And he only had the best interests for Gaurav; as he says - to correct him for his mistake.
From then on, Fan is the reinterpretation of William Congreve's classic line: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." Replace woman with 'fan' and you get the drift. The action shifts to London and Croatia as Aryan is 'scorned' and his reputation goes for a toss thanks to the elaborate manipulations by Gaurav. Does the fan win or the star? Watch that on screen.
Fan has a fantastic premise: You could take sides with any one - Gaurav or Aryan - or none. Both are right - and both are wrong - it is in your perspective.
This ambiguity never falters through the entire runtime of the film. That, indeed, is the beauty of Fan. It doesn't take sides nor does it allow viewers to take sides. Hero becomes villain, and villain becomes hero. Aryan comes natural to Shah Rukh Khan; his realization of his losing clout; the ego-bruise he takes at the hands of the police; his own mocking of his 'wedding dances' - all just brilliant and natural.
We could say that Gaurav need not have been so irritatingly cheeky. But then, who can predict fans and what they do - more so in a country where they kill and die for their stars?
Shah Rukh Khan becomes Gaurav - and that is not thanks to the VFX or toothy grin. He sheds his star inhibitions to go back to those Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman days, and plays the role with utter abandon. Yet, if you don't like Gaurav, that is the actor's success - because who on a sane note can love someone living the alter-life of another?
Fan, though, is hampered by its length. The film meanders as Gaurav suddenly becomes the 'super villain' - and that is its weakest link. There is no 'mind game' being played; things are conveniently plotted for Gaurav by the writers.
That is when you start twisting on your seat challenging the film's premise; that is when you see through the exercise and realise that Fan does not deliver what it promised on its trailer.
Fan becomes a Ra. One with all left-over superpowers granted to Gaurav. Writers, directors or actors are not responsible to meet our expectations. They make a movie as they envision it. We can like it or not. We like Fan, its premise, its actor; but we resent the simplistic manner in which such high-potent material has been handled.
The fallacy of comparisons notwithstanding, for SRK, Fan is way ahead the league than Dilwale but several notches below a Chak De India. Fan is long and as some say 'illogical' but it is honest in its star-fan confrontation. It is great indie-film material that just got unnecessarily Bollywood-ised.
Directed by Maneesh Sharma
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan & Shah Rukh Khan
Now playing at theatres in the UAE