Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Waluscha D’Souza
Director: Maneesh Sharma
Delhi-based Gaurav Chanana (Shah Rukh) is a die-hard fan of superstar Aryan Khanna (also Shah Rukh). He dreams of having one meeting with his screen idol. He travels to Mumbai for the same reason. His dream does come true – Aryan meets him but the circumstances are different. In his obsession for Aryan, Gaurav misbehaves with Aryan’s on-screen rival Sid Kapoor, hoping to please the star, but it has the opposite effect. When Aryan meets Gaurav, he reprimands him for that. The experience leaves Gaurav disappointed and dejected and he returns to his hometown. But as time passes, hero-worship for Aryan turns to hatred. And now, all he wants is to make Aryan regret for the way he treated him.
It’s not a subject that’s new or unique. Yet there is a certain charm about the way Maneesh Sharma has scripted the film – it reflects inferences drawn from Shah Rukh Khan’s career and life. The first half zips past thanks to the engrossing screenplay. The characters of both Gaurav and Aryan are well established with each one coming with his own perspective. In fact, that is Sharma’s big triumph – he doesn’t give the viewer a chance to decide who’s right and who’s wrong.
Directorially also, the first half casts its distinctive spell. Sharma has captured the first meeting between Aryan and Gaurav brilliantly – it’s a scene that will stay with you. Watch out also for the scene towards the climax when Aryan pretends to be Gaurav – it’s a masterstroke. It’s brave to attempt a film like Fan – with SRK playing the protagonist and antagonist both and break all the rules of commercial filmmaking by doing away with songs and any ‘relief’ tracks. As a film, Fan is dark, moody, disturbing and definitely unconventional. And this time, the lead actor’s contribution is just as much as the director’s. Shah Rukh Khan is at his finest – this is easily his best performance in recent years. He makes Gaurav’s obsession just as effective as Aryan’s restlessness.
Most importantly, even though Aryan’s character is based on his real self, he doesn’t shy away from the cracks at his superstardom. The scene where Aryan is in front of the mirror checking out his aging skin is a bravura act – not many stars would have the courage to do that. As an actor, Fan is a definite game-changer for SRK.
Fan succumbs badly to the second-half syndrome and that is its undoing. It’s almost like the first and the second half are two different films. Sharma (who has also written the film) leads towards a problem very well in the pre-intermission part. But after that, he goes awry when he illustrates it further. Even the obsession in Darr (from where Fan is inspired) seems far too real to what Sharma has conveyed. Everything in the second half is unbelievable – a middle-class Delhi boy travelling to foreign countries and getting the better of a reigning Bollywood superstar should have at least been handled better. Long, drawn-out action scenes will have you squirming in your seat. Aryan’s character suddenly becomes more of a caricature. The climax is exhausting and the film ends on a low, which is sad. You also miss the support of other fine actors after a point – Shriya Pilgaonkar, Deepika Amin, and Waluscha D’Souza really have nothing to offer.
Fan is a not a great film, it is a brave film. Watch it still for Shah Rukh Khan’s outstanding portrayal (an extra star only for him).