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SRK’s FAN Movie Review

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Shah-Rukh-KhanThis action thriller is a poorly conceived rendition of a 1996 Hollywood film THE FAN directed by Tony Scott, starring Robert De Niro and Wesley Snipes.

The film even borrows the punch lines of the original, lock, stock, and barrel. It also reminds me of DARR, another YRF film, which was inspired by CAPE FEAR, a 1991 film directed by Martin Scorsese. SRK had essayed the role that was played by Robert De Niro in the original.

FAN is SRK’s PAA moment and he exploits it well as an actor, puts in some real hard work, and even manages to stop short of reliving his ‘KKKK…Kiran’ act.  That’s commendable restraint demonstrated by a seasoned hammer like him. He will undoubtedly be a serious contender for ‘the best actor in a negative role’ awards during the 2016 awards season.

It’s the story of Gaurav Chandna (Digitally Modified Young SRK) who runs an Internet parlor in Delhi. He is a hard-core fan of Aryan Khanna (SRK), the Bollywood super star. He also looks like Aryan Khanna except that his front-tooth are far more prominent and give him a nerdy appearance. He is well known in his neighborhood as the Junior Aryan Khanna and he also does stage shows enacting scenes and songs from the films of his idol. His only ambition in life is to travel to Mumbai and meet his idol. He wins the best performer award in a local competition that carries a trophy and twenty thousand bucks and is now all set to travel to Mumbai to fulfill his dream. He follows into the footsteps of his idol who was also a Delhi ka munda and had travelled without ticket and stayed in a cheap Mumbai hotel during his struggling days.

He lands in Mumbai, goes to Aryan Khanna’s bungalow where a huge crowd has gathered to greet him on his birthday. Gaurav fails to meet his idol and then devises a criminal plan to be able to meet him. He also succeeds, but not before Aryan Khanna has him arrested and chastised by the police. When Aryan meets Gaurav he tells him that he owed nothing to his fans and he lives his life and so should Gaurav. Humiliated, rejected and badly broken in body, mind and spirit, Gaurav returns to Delhi, sells his internet parlor, tears down Aryan Khanna’s posters and photographs and makes a bonfire of them with the rest of long cherished and preserved memorabilia. A year passes by and we see him again in London, trying to ruin the reputation of the star and stalking him and demanding that he publicly says sorry to him. What follows is quite predictable and banal.

SRK as Gaurav Chandna is the singular highlight of the film. He does a brilliant job in the first half. It’s a restrained likeable performance. In the second half as Gaurav, the avenging stalker, he had very little to do since most of the time the character is seen impersonating his idol, which is SRK himself. And you cannot give him credit for the ‘footage-khau’ (too many) yet well-choreographed parkour and chase sequences in the film. It’s an overdose of SRK in a film that does not even have a good-looking and charming presence of a heroine to add juice to the story. The film also lacks the disturbing sense of foreboding that marks the good films of the genre.

The film is competently shot and directed but poorly conceived and written and is plagued by all the familiar debilities that have become hallmarks of the Bollywood film faking industry. One of them is that even if filmfakers pick up a good idea from a Hollywood film, they tend to ruin it totally instead of adding their own ‘ desi chaar chand’ in the adaptation process. Sadly, while the nation is getting into the Make in India mode, Bollywood continues to tread the Fake in India path led by a variety of filmfakers who are wasting their time and talent in such despicable and condemnable inglorious enterprises.

The rot seems to have become part of their DNA and blindsides them to great storytelling possibilities that exist around them. For example, after having created a beautiful character like Gaurav, a very interesting and touching story could have been developed around him without copying the plots, sequences and dialogues of THE FAN.

A robber like Valmiki transformed himself into a great poet and chronicler of the life of Rama, but film faking has become a congenital birth defect of new age Bollywood filmfakers and they seem to have no capacity or will to reform themselves and achieve greatness. If FAN has even nominal success at the box office, they will pat their own backs and look for more ideas to copy in their stockpile of DVDs and secured folders of illegally downloaded films files.

Top-notch Bollywood stars and production houses seem to encourage such thievery, misdemeanor, and stupidity. How can they live with the infamy of being termed as filmfakers?

Rating: 1.5/5

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