‘Fan’ was the first film that Maneesh Sharma wanted to make after he decided to take the plunge from being the in-house assistant director at Yash Raj Films to becoming a director. Though he could not make the film back then, mentor Aditya Chopra gave him the opportunity to make three films (‘Band Baaja Baaraat’, ‘Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl’ and ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’), two of which were warmly received by the audience. Now, as Sharma was armed with the experience of making three feature films, Aditya Chopra felt he should be given the freedom to make his dream project. The concept of a fan is relevant in every country which makes movies. However, the kind of craze and passion moviegoers exhibit in India is very rare. Making a film based on a fan/admirer of a film star in India could be a very exciting idea indeed.
Gaurav Chandna (Shah Rukh Khan) is a twenty-five year old bloke who has been fan-worshipping movie star Aryan Khanna (Shah Rukh Khan) ever since he was a kid. Due to his resemblance to the superstar, he is addressed as Junior Aryan Khanna in the locality he lives in. After winning a prize money of INR 20,000 in a competition, he heads off to Mumbai to meet his idol. He gets disheartened after not being able to meet Aryan. In a bid to win over Aryan, he does something that grossly upsets the superstar. Not only does Aryan put Gaurav behind the bars, he warns him never to get in touch with him again. Gaurav, who is heartbroken after this incident, resolves to teach Aryan a lesson.
The pain the technicians must have taken to make sure that ‘Fan’ comes across as a technically sound product is visible. With the amount of visual effects used and the fact Gaurav and Aryan come face-off, a few glitches could have seeped in easily. Thankfully, that does not happen here and technically, it comes across as an almost flawless product. Though you marvel at the visuals, you do feel a tad disoriented when the plot gets too familiar for comfort.
The first half rolls out smoothly as you find yourself gauging easily as to what is going to happen next. Even though the events that unfold before your eyes offer little in terms of surprise value, the treatment of the scenes, dialogues and some nicely played out moments keep your interest alive. In the second half, one sees Gaurav impersonating himself as Aryan and creating havoc in his life. Gaurav’s escapades are engaging in bits and parts. Also, the ease with which he carries out his plans does not seem convincing. The climax sequence is deftly handled and the showdown between Gaurav and Aryan is very well executed.
Maneesh Sharma’s strength lies in fabricating an authentic milieu and etching out characters that come across as very real. He does that here pretty well too. Though Maneesh’s story had a lot of potential, screenplay writer Habib Faisal does not really develop it to its fullest potential. The dialogues (Habib Faisal and Sharat Katariya) are very entertaining. Cinematographer Manu Anand captures the rustic milieu of Delhi and the foreign locations equally well. The editing (Namrata Rao) is fast paced and the frames have been aligned very well. The background score (Andrea Guerra) is adequately dramatic. Some of the fight sequences seem unnecessarily prolonged but they have been choreographed (Oh Sea Young and Pervez Sheikh) very well.
Shah Rukh Khan’s portrayal of Gaurav will go down as one of the best by the actor. He slips into the character of the twenty-five year old effortlessly and gets the nuances right. He lends an enormous amount of charm to Aryan Khanna, the character which seems to be inspired by his own self. Shriya Pilgaonkar and Walushcha De Souza, who play Gaurav and Aryan’s love interest respectively, are seen for a brief duration. While Waluscha does a fairly good job, it is Shriya who registers a huge impact with her natural performance. Yogendra Tiku and Deepika Amin, who play Gaurav’s parents, perform well. Sayani Gupta is very good as Aryan’s manager.
A fan seeking revenge on his erstwhile idol could make for an interesting film. Like all of Maneesh’s films, ‘Fan’ is laced with several engaging moments and interesting characters but the middling screenplay does not make you invest in the film as much as you would have hoped to. That is sad because there was so much the writers could have done with the idea they had. Even with all its shortcomings, watch the film for Shah Rukh Khan whose performance justifies the price of a ticket and a trip to the theatre.