Last year Maneesh Sharma, Sharat Katariya and Aditya Chopra teamed up and gave us one of the best films of 2015 in ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’. This year they team up again for ‘Fan’ with Maneesh Sharma taking the director’s cap from Sharat Katariya, who is handling the writing department along with Habib Faisal. While Sharat Katariya kept it simple and grounded with ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’, Maneesh Sharma creates a larger than life film about a loving fan turned psychotic villain. Trust Shah Rukh Khan to play dark and edgy characters just as he did in the early 90s with ‘Baazigar’, ‘Darr’ and ‘Anjaam’ and he won’t disappoint. Shah Rukh portrays Gaurav Chandna, an obsessive young fan who will go any lengths to meet his fan, with such elan that it’ll put all other 25 year old to shame. But it is Habib Faisal’s screenplay which turns out to be the actual antagonist to a film which is so strong on concept.
The movie is about Gaurav Chandna (Shah Rukh Khan) who calls himself the biggest fan of Aryan Khanna (also played by Shah Rukh Khan), the superstar of Bollywood. After winning a local competition and a prize worth 20,000 Rs. Gaurav embarks on a journey to meet Aryan Khanna on his birthday. Things go awry when Aryan Khanna insults Gaurav by denying even five seconds of his life to a person who is not worthy of being called his fan. What follows is SRK vs. SRK chase sequences as Gaurav tries to destroy Aryan’s stardom while the latter uses all that he’s got to prevent Gaurav from doing so.
The film’s opening scenes depicting Aryan Khanna’s rise to stardom and Gaurav Chandna’s growing obsession just before the title fades in is top notch editing and direction at work. It is a perfect opening to the movie but it is after that where the movie takes a detour into a more dramatized version of a concept which demanded to be of dark and disturbing nature. Sparing a few moments of brilliance, the first half is spoilt by a lagging screenplay and sloppy direction. It is in the second half where the film pick up pace thanks to some brisk editing from Namrata Rao. Manu Anand who impressed me with his last outing in ‘Dum Laga Ke Haisha’ has done a really commendable job as DOP especially in lighting up dark sequences in the movie. Those who have seen ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ and ‘Hotel Rwanda’ will surely remember its soulful score by Andrea Guerra. It is the same man whose score elevates some of the scenes in this movie. Barring ‘Band Baaja Baarat’, Maneesh Sharma’s last two outings have been forgettable, be it the dud ‘Ladies vs. Ricky Bahl’ or the overrated ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’. Here, he repeats the same mistake by not being able to convey what was required of the film. The uncanny resemblance of Gaurav to Aryan going unnoticed by anyone in the first half and the same resemblance being used by Gaurav as a tool for revenge are some of the sequences that defies logic.
Though Shah Rukh Khan as Aryan Khanna is the star in the film it is Shah Rukh Khan as Gaurav Chandna who is the star of the film. This is Shah Rukh’s best performance in recent years and a light reminder that the ’actor’ in him is still alive. Fans of Shah Rukh Khan as Mohan Bhargava and Shah Rukh Khan as Kabir Khan will definitely love Gaurav Chandna. On the other hand, as Aryan Khanna he is basically playing himself and there is not much to offer in this role other than chasing and beating the crap out of his obsessive fan. The rest of the cast have a very limited on screen time.
‘Fan’ is a film meant only for die-hard Shah Rukh fans while the rest can watch it only if they have no other way left to kill their weekend. Manu Anand’s cinematography, Namrata Rao’s editing, Andrea Guerra’s score and Shah Rukh Khan’s performance stand out in this one time watchable pretentious flick. Look out for that helpless face of Aryan Khanna in the penultimate scene. You may feel the same way once you walk out of the theatre. One thing is for certain though, as average as the film is, it is still Shah Rukh Khan’s best film in the last five years.