I must say I was completely and unabashedly bowled over by the brilliant performance of Shah Rukh Khan in his dual avatar in the recently released ‘FAN’. The movie itself was very engrossing from start to finish with a taut script, racy narrative and no deviations from the central plot. On top of it there are no songs!!! Even the catchy song released as a teaser-‘Jabra fan ho gayaa…’ was only for the You Tube promotions. It is not part of the film. Indeed the film showcases two SRKs- both in an unusual light sans his popular romantic image, no star-heroine and as I mentioned no songs…
The film with an interesting plot of a superstar and his look-alike fan is basically a psychological thriller and hence may not appeal to SRK’s usual family audience but there is no doubt that he has shown tremendous guts in accepting such a project highlighting the negative shades in both the characters. True, SRK did attempt such characters in the beginning of his career like Darr, Baazigar, Anjaam and Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam but to have one Shah Rukh pitted against another throughout the film is a novel aspect.
The story in a gist is about a fan who is obsessed with his favourite superstar and would go to any lengths to meet him and just spend five minutes with him. What he fails to realize is that he is only one among the countless fans spread all over the country with similar dreams and aspirations. Ironically he not only resembles him in looks but also hails from a middle-class family in Delhi and wins a prize every year for the best act in a local ‘mela’ or fair by imitating him and all this makes him feel even closer to his idol.
But when destiny does bring him face to face with his idol, things go completely wrong and this chance meeting turns out to be a complete antithesis of whatever he had dreamt of. With the result, his attitude takes a 180 degree turn and he now hates the very man who had possessed him mentally and emotionally all these years.
Thus starts a cat-and-mouse game between the two with unexpected twists and turns and thrilling chase sequences showing the extent to which a human mind can plot and plunge when desperation sets in. Revealing anything more of the plot would spoil the fun for those who have not yet seen…but it would suffice to say that in spite of a few loopholes, there is not a single boring moment.
Shah Rukh Khan brings out the complexities of both the characters beautifully but it is as the star- obsessed-fan that he steals your heart from the very first scene. The typical Punjabi-Delhi accent, his body language as that of a 25-year old Delhiite and his camaraderie with his parents are all superbly executed. In a country like ours obsessed with Bollywood stars, his maniacal obsession is very believable and the audience would be inclined to understand and empathize with him completely. A special mention about the outstanding prosthetics and make-up used to create a younger looking SRK albeit with a difference in their jawline and hairstyle. This gives a very authentic touch to his whole get-up.
Shah Rukh as the superstar is also not an easy act to pull through. To play a character who for all practical purposes is modelled on his real life persona and exposes the vulnerable and not so-likeable aspects of any star in his/her real life requires gumption and to SRK’s credit, he has given it his all and come out in flying colours.
As we leave the cinema hall, we cannot help but wonder as to how we as a nation are so obsessed with our stars and subconsciously feel a connection with them… the kind of joyful madness which makes people travel from different parts of the country, stand for hours in front of their house in a milling crowd just to get a glimpse of, or just a wave from their favourite star… and in the process derive so much pleasure…
…And do these stars, who work day in and day out to entertain us and capture our hearts and sell us dreams, really understand what it is to be a true and loyal fan? To quote the fan’s dialogue from the film where he tells the star – “Tum nahin samjhoge…” (You will never understand). Eventually both the star and the fan become victims of the images created on celluloid and are caught in a web of emotions of their own making.
It is immaterial whether the film rakes in rupees 100 crores in the first week or beats the record of his earlier films or is even termed a flop, it is a treat for SRK fans… and for those who are not his fans, all I can say is you are missing something…