I am a huge admirer (he dislikes the word ‘fan’) of Shah Rukh Khan. There are some who will definitely disagree with me on this one but most of Shah Rukh’s films since My Name Is Khan have not been showcased his acting prowess. Of his last six films, I enjoyed only Don 2, mainly because it had a sneeringly good Shah Rukh, an impressive Boman Irani, Jason West’s spectacular cinematography, amazing action sequences and decent music. Jab Tak Hai Jaan was almost as good (in terms of performances), but Katrina Kaif single-handedly destroyed Yash Chopra’s last directorial. Chennai Express was okay, Happy New Year was terrible and Dilwale was even worse. The last two basically banked on SRK’s stardom to make money at the Box Office. Therefore, it was with some amount of happiness that I came out of the theatre yesterday after having watched Shah Rukh deliver his best performance(s) since Chak De! India.
Gaurav Chandna, a Delhi boy, is obsessed with Bollywood superstar Aryan Khanna (a fictionalised version of Shah Rukh). He is willing to go to any length to meet his ‘God’. He travels to Mumbai exactly the same way as Aryan did when he made the journey there and stays in the very same room of the very same hotel as Aryan. When a rising actor alleges that Aryan slapped him and trashes him on camera, Gaurav loses his mind and beats the guy up, only to be reprimanded by his ‘God’. Gaurav then seeks revenge against the man whom he once worshipped.
DIRECTION: Maneesh Sharma has always been an impressive director, what with Band Baaja Baarat and Shuddh Desi Romance. Fan is easily his best directorial venture. He doesn’t let the story veer from Gaurav and Aryan too much. Unfortunately, the direction does a lag a bit in the first half. The exploration of Gaurav as a fan is far too deep.
SCREENPLAY: Habib Faisal delivers a fine screenplay which ensures that never does the film veer away from either of Shah Rukh’s characters. They remain in the focus at all times and in a way, ensure a smooth film. The screenplay has its flaws too: the development of Gaurav is far too lengthy, however vital it may be to the film. Also, the brilliant chase sequences, mainly the last one, seemed far too long.
ACTION/VFX/MAKE-UP: The action, designed by Oh-Sea Young, is brilliant. There are three main action sequences in the film, all of which are enacted wonderfully by a Shah Rukh who doesn’t seem half a century old. Also, a huge round of applause for the fantastic stunt-doubles. Red Chillies VFX have surpassed themselves with this film. Their work on Gaurav’s face and body is an achievement in itself. Well-designed and expertly executed. Greg Cannom, after Kapoor & Sons: Since 1921, once again brings to the fore his artistry in creating the face of Gaurav. In fact, the make-up was so good that in the teaser one almost couldn’t believe that it was actually Shah Rukh.
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Manu Anand handles the cameras superbly. Especially during the action sequences. The use of motion control (a technique used to shoot a double role nowadays) is fantastically executed. The song Jabra Fan, though not in the main film, is also canned very well.
PERFORMANCES: In their supporting roles, Yogendra Tikku, Deepika Amin, Waluscha de Sousa, Sayani Gupta and Shriya Pilgaonkar (in a very good performance), all delivered. In a movie that revolves around a single actor, nobody would’ve cared had the supporting cast faltered. But they didn’t and that added to the film. Shah Rukh (as Aryan) was great. He mocked the fact that film stars dance at weddings and behave brattishly. He was very convincing in his performance, which set a high bar for his Gaurav act, which was, in one word, spectacular. From the absolutely crazy fan of a superstar to his biggest nightmare, Shah Rukh brought out a different kind of energy in a character half his actual age. But it was his acting and not the dancing or the action (which were also very well performed) that took the cake. After acting disasters like Happy New Year and Dilwale (the latter was a bigger disaster after Varun Dhawan claimed that it was similar to Inception. If Dilwale was similar to Inception, I was Sir Winston Churchill in my previous life!), Fan brought back the Shah Rukh of the likes of Darr, Chak De! India and My Name Is Khan. Take a bow, King Khan! You brought out the evil nature of the character brilliantly.
Fan is not like HNY or Dilwale. It is not strictly for SRK fans. It is a shut-up call to those who said he can’t act. It is, without a doubt, one of his best performances of all-time.
My rating for Fan: 8/10