Fan helmed by Maneesh Sharma which tells the story of a psychotic obsessed fan of a star begins well holding its ground firmly in the first half but than it begins to loose its steam and finally ends as a average thriller drama. First things first, Maneesh must be credited for making a film with Shahrukh Khan that has neither got any leading lady nor any songs. I mean, lot of SRK fans go and watch movies for his trademark sway of arms in songs. SRK is also known as king of romance, so to make a movie in which he is not romantically paired is a bold move. Also, after a long time a SRK movie brings out the actor in SRK to the forefront rather than the star SRK, though he plays the part of a star in the flick too. The film begins in Delhi with the introduction of Gaurav Chanana (Shahrukh Khan) who is a die hard fan of Superstar Aryan Khanna played by Shahrukh again. Maneesh sets the tempo rolling by creating the perfect urban class milieu of Inder Vihar in Delhi where Gaurav lives. Than, comes a masterfully helmed scene where some local competition is being held in Inder Vihar where Gaurav performs as Aryan aided by his parents played by Deepika Amin & Yogendra Tiku. By this time, you are completely sucked into the movie due to the perfect etching of Gaurav's character and its perfect portrayal by Shahrukh. By than, you start anticipating that a good, different and logical film featuring SRK is on the anvil especially after his last commercial potboilers like Happy New Year & Dilwale. But, once Gaurav reaches Mumbai and after having a bad experience with Aryan, decides to get back at him things begin to go haywire. Pertinent to say, as an audience you feel bad that a movie which was sailing along so smoothly, suddenly changes its course and goes off mark. Logic takes a backseat as a revengeful Gaurav begins to stalk Aryan and tries his level best to destroy his stardom. Unending chase sequences and illogical scenes begin to destroy the basic fabric of the premise around which the film was woven. The movie tries to portray that it is normal to be a fan of any celebrity be it sportsperson, politician or filmstar but getting too much obsessed about a celebrity can lead to a psychotic disorder. It is fine to follow or emulate a celebrity but in the process one should not loose one's own identity. As mentioned earlier, the best part about Fan is that it brings the actor out of Shahrukh Khan at his best. It's a double delight for SRK fans as in Fan he gets to portray the role of both the protagonist as well as antagonist but the performance that stands out is of a young star struck fan i.e. Gaurav.
The screenplay of the movie has been penned down by Habib Faisal where as the dialogues of the movie have been penned down by Habib Faisal along with Sharat Katariya. The premise of Fan might not be an original piece (as several Hollywood flicks have been made on same subject) but the characterization in Fan is spot on. The manner in which Gaurav's story unspools especially in the first half, you get attached to the character and begin rooting for him. Had the writers not gone overboard with too many cinematic liberties in the second half, Fan could have emerged a winner all the way. The transformation of the obsessed fan into abhorrence, his stalking and impersonating as the star on numerous occasions seems superficial. On top of that, when the star decides to take the fan right on all by himself without any support ( including several chases and fight sequences) it all looks real filmy. The perfect premise that was masterfully woven in the first half looses its sheen and gets convoluted in the second half. The film begins in Delhi with the journey of a child Gaurav who is a die hard fan of Aryan Khanna (Shahrukh Khan) so much so that he picks up fight with anyone who says anything against Aryan. Cut next, young Gaurav (Shahrukh Khan) is known as Junior Aryan Khanna in his vicinity not only because he is obsessed by him but also because he has a stark resemblance with Aryan. He runs a cyber cafe and has named it after his beloved star i.e. A.K. Cyber cafe. Gaurav imitates Aryan at local competition held in his area and wins a trophy and some prize money by emerging victorious in competition. Now, Gaurav wants to go to Mumbai to meet and wish Aryan on his birthday. His father (Yogendra Tiku) and mother (Deepika Amin) pack his bags and give him a box full of sweets for Aryan. But, things take a different turn when Gaurav takes his ardour beyond acceptable limits in Mumbai by taking on a upcoming star who has had a spat with Aryan. When Aryan comes to know about this, he is furious and angry with Gaurav. When slighted by the person he admires the most, Gaurav engineers a bitter confrontation between fan and idol that is played out at London, Dubrovnik, Mumbai which finally ends in Delhi.
Pertinent to say, Shahrukh Khan is the soul of Fan. He has carried the entire movie on his shoulders. It is a sheer delight watching Shahrukh Khan portraying two contrasting characters in the movie. It is a bold move by SRK to act in a movie which has no romantic track or songs in it and the move has paid off well because Fan showcases the acting prowess of SRK to the hilt. It's not a mean task to enact two diverse characters in a movie but SRK has done it to pitch perfection. His body language as the young, energetic star struck fan is commendable. And, the ease with which transformation of star struck fan into intimidating stalker has been essayed by SRK, once again reaffirms that he is one of the most versatile actors. As Aryan, SRK is oozing with confidence, attitude and charming persona. But, it is his portrayal of young Gaurav that acts as icing on the cake. After watching Fan, you will be carrying back the memories of Gaurav, the antagonist rather than Aryan, the protagonist. Watch out for SRK in the scene where Aryan imitates Gaurav on the same stage where Gaurav has been imitating Aryan in Delhi.
Yogendra Tiku delivers a subtle yet impactful performance as Gaurav's father in Fan and so does Deepika Amin as Gaurav's mother.
The background score of the movie has been composed by Andrea Guerra which further propels the drama and tension. The cinematographer of the movie is Manu Anand who has done a swell job at capturing the visuals. The movie has been edited by Namrata Rao who has kept the run-time of the movie to 142 minutes. I feel that duration of 142 minutes is a tad too long for a song-less movie having no romantic track also. So, a little crisper editing would have helped the movie. As a director, Maneesh Sharma has explored the thriller genre for the first time and hence fumbles a bit in the second half when the movie gets into thriller mode. Maneesh is at his best when he masterfully creates the typical urban class milieu of Delhi. The local competition scene at the annual Dussehra mela organized by Inder Vihar's DDA colony is a treat to watch and so is the routine conversation between Gaurav and his parents while packing his bags when he is going to Mumbai. Unfortunately, Maneesh is let down by some bad writing and typical Bollywood insertions in the second half. But, Maneesh must be credited for his brave attempt and above all giving the audience a chance to see Shahrukh Khan as an actor, not as a star.
Fan could have turned out to be a brilliant movie if the cinematic cliches in the second half were done away with. Still, it's a descent one time watch especially for SRK lovers as Fan brings out the acting prowess of SRK to the forefront.
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