Verdict: In the battle between madness and ego, the audience wins!
Are you crazy about SRK, Bhai, Aamir, Saif, or any other superstar? Then this film is for you. Which doesn’t mean that there is nothing in Fan for those who are not star-struck. For them, there is a well-written narrative, immersive performances and more adrenaline rushes than the last superhero film delivered.
Fan is the story of Gaurav Chanana (Shah Rukh Khan, with a lot of prosthetic make-up), a West Delhi boy who looks eerily like superstar Aryan Khanna (inspired by Shah Rukh Khan, including his life story), whom he pretty much worships. His one talent is his imitation of Aryan, and his one dream is to meet him and show him just how much he adores him. He heads to Mumbai in the same way that Aryan had once left Delhi for tinsel town, and even stays in the same hotel room in which Aryan had stayed. Sadly, he doesn’t get to meet his idol despite landing up outside his house on his birthday, like thousands of other fans. But Gaurav’s dreams are not so easily trampled. In true jugaadu-style, he creates another way to reach Aryan, one that is illegal and more than a little disturbing.
This marks the beginning of the psychological disintegration of Gaurav, which is scary and all too real. As you watch this creepy boy curled up on the prison floor, you wonder at the mania that grips such “fans” and why it is not discouraged. You also wonder at the hypocrisy of the stars who want to be worshipped but from a safe distance. This film raises a lot of questions about idol worship and tries to discourage it. But then as Aryan Khanna and Gaurav Chanana say, would there be any superstars without crazy fans?
The first half of this film is tightly written and well-directed. You are pulled into the world of Gaurav and his mania, even if you can’t relate to it. It is a real world, with a real family, real ambitions, and fragile hopes and dreams. As you watch them shatter, the pathos of his situation is brought home, and you wonder if he could have recovered. But then if he had, there wouldn’t be a second half.
As Gaurav turns against Aryan Khanna, director Maneesh Sharma turns against his most powerful tool- the story. The narrative takes a backseat, as loopholes in the script become glaring, and action takes the wheel. Though they are well-shot, there are way too many action sequences in the second half, and ironically, they make the film drag a bit. Still, this half has its moments. The final sequences are unexpected yet apt- the writers had one last ace up their sleeve but it’s sadly lost in the ensuing fight scenes.
This is a film with several relevant social messages: about the dangers of taking fandom to worship, about the importance of remembering that even talented and famous people are human. And that everything they say about Delhi boys is true! It is a credit to the writers and directors that they managed to convey these so effectively that people left the theatre in a sea of silence, lost in thought.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Fan is a riveting story, well-told, sans any song and dance. And if you thought Shah Rukh Khan has forgotten how to act (refer to his recent work), think again. Just when critics were tempted to write him off (as they are doing to Aryan Khanna in the film), he’s back with a performance that deserves applause. Way to go, Gaurav (I mean Aryan) (No wait, SRK)!