Verdict: A con movie with great performances.

After 12 long years, this Farhan Akhtar film finally comes to theaters. Directed by Anand Surapur, The Fakir of Venice was to be the film with which Farhan Akhtar, then known for directing Dil Chahta Hai (2001) and Lakshya (2004), was to make his acting debut. However, things didn’t go as planned and this movie was put on hold and he made his debut with Rock On! (2008). Farhan then went on to work in movies like Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara. Had he debuted with The Fakir of Venice, would his career have taken a slightly different route? Maybe, maybe not. Wondering how this film made a few years ago turned out to be? Let’s find out.

What’s The Fakir of Venice About:

Adi Contractor (Farhan Akhtar) is a production coordinator who can successfully smuggle a monkey across state borders for a film shoot. He is basically a jugaadu who will find solutions to anything in the art and media world. Adi’s new job has him searching for a real Fakir who can bury himself alive in sand and stay put for hours. This job requires him to fly the fakir to Venice for an art exhibition show. He goes in search for a fakir in Banaras but is unsuccessful in finding one. Little does he know that his fakir is right under his nose, in Juhu. Sattar (Annu Kapoor), a painter, is introduced to Adi as someone who can bury himself in the sand for hours and can actually do this extraordinary feat. To earn a quick buck for his plan for further studies in the US, Adi transforms Sattar into a fakir. They fly off to Venice – a conman and a fake fakir. Will they be caught or will they succeed? The rest of the plot answers this.

What Works:

Anu Kapoor as a fake Fakir delivers a brilliant performance. With a troubled reality and internal conflicts, he convincingly portrays the dilemma of a low-income laborer stuck in a land with strange faces and a strange language. In The Fakir of Venice, Farhan Akhtar does a good job considering it is his first ever time being in front of the camera. The actor does not look out of place and delivers dialogues well. Anu Kapoor as a fake fakir delivers a brilliant performance. With a troubled reality and several internal conflicts, he convincingly portrays the dilemma of a low-income laborer stuck in a land with strange faces and a strange language. Sattar’s story has a heart and a soul and that’s what keeps you hooked on to in the second half.

Kamal Sidhu as Mandira, Adi’s ex-girlfriend, has a few scenes in the film and she does a decent job at it. Sattar’s ignorance about the foreign culture leads to some laughs which were nice in bits. One particular dialogue between Adi and Jia where she makes Adi understand Sattar’s incredible mental strength, explaining what it takes to be buried underground and face death every day when others try to evade it all through their lives, is beautiful.

What Could’ve Been Better:

It’s a movie that was made 12 years so it looks a bit dated on-screen. In order to make Farhan’s character look selfish and indifferent to Sattar’s plight, the narrative goes overboard, making it look forced.The story is good but the film is not your typical masala movie, it will be loved by a niche audience with a particular taste.

Why You Should Watch It:

If you are a Farhan Akhtar fan and would love to see what his first film looked like then you should definitely head for the theatres now. Annu Kapoor is a talent the film industry should be thankful for, and The Fakir of Venice is another example of that.