The idea of a movie superstar tormented by a fanatic fan who happens to be his lookalike plays out like something from a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum. SRK plays Aryan Khanna, a superstar who is basically….SRK. SRK also plays Gaurav Chandna, an obsessive fan of Aryan Khanna, who also just happens to look like…SRK.
Fan is a one trick pony of a film, but a neat trick it is all the same. The best parts are when Shah Rukh and his doppleganger are in the same frame, usually in a parkour sequence. The final confrontation is surreal. SRK slugging SRK in a Delhi boys brawl on the terrace of a brightly lit abandoned building in a middle class suburb of the capital city.
The oddity of this setup is nicely used establishing the plot. It is in those smaller moments that we see the best of Maneesh Sharma, the filmmaker who made the small but lovely Band Baaja Baaraat. The finer points are rapidly replaced by the broad strokes of a Bollywood blockbuster though. This means a surprisingly one-dimensional script that follows the obvious path of this story. The screenplay is basic at best. You sense that getting on with the story and showing the impact is more important to the makers than working with the details to build credibility.
This is more Baazigar than Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, purely in the scripting sense.
As a performance, the real analogy is of course the deranged lover from Darr. Replacing Juhi Chawla with himself on his bedroom walls, SRK is terrific playing the slighter, comical version of himself. To play the role of a man who then imitates him needs some cerebral help to get it right, and that’s one area SRK doesn’t have a problem with. Gaurav’s squeak voice breaks into a more manly falsetto when he’s imitating his star, and those moments are a highlight of SRK’s masterclass.
As a film, I found Fan to be short of drama. This was meant to be a thriller, but that edge of the seat buildup is missing. Much of it can be attributed to the lack in detailing of the story. This is not necessary a slip as much as a deliberate decision by the producers and the director to make the film in a specific way. But it had tremendous potential to be a darker, grittier film. Darr has a visceral impact that probably will never date. In making the movie an ‘entertainer’ for today’s times – which it is, no doubt – the makers may have lost the chance to make it timeless.
Hindi, Thriller, Action, Color