Fan: SRK returns to form

Discussion in 'Fan Media Reviews' started by roger, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. roger

    roger Well-Known Member

    Fan: SRK returns to form
    April 15, 2016

    [​IMG] Namrata Joshi
    • [​IMG]
      Special Arrangement
      Gaurav is a beast created by many people with their thoughts on what a fan should be, says Shah Rukh Khan.

    Shah Rukh Khan is out of his comfort zone and great as both Gaurav and Aryan. The film? Well, ye dil maange even more.

    It's rarely that I have seen an audience step out of the theatre so sombrely after a Shah Rukh Khan movie. Perhaps it’s the mood and flow of the film – it isn’t quite as light hearted and feel good as SRK starrers are preordained to be. Fan is completely out of SRK's comfort zone. There is hardly any romance, not a single song, little to laugh about. Instead there’s lots of action, chases (on the walls of Mumbai buildings, Dubrovnik roofs and finally Delhi roads) and unbridled emotions of the very dark and serious kinds in a film that is all about a fan’s pursuit of the star and then the star trying to hunt down the fan. And SRK takes a huge stride forward to make the twin roles of Gaurav Chanana and Aryan Khanna his very own in a way that you can’t imagine anyone else quite fitting the bill.

    Years ago, in an interview, SRK had told me, “I do walks for my films that nobody notices. This is the bane of my life. I do walks to prepare my characters and no one takes note of the ******* serious actor in me.” Few would be able to ignore the serious actor in him in Fan. He goes method acting with Gaurav, gives him a distinct gait and mannerisms and the typically ‘Dilli’ way of talking. He plays to the gallery with him, the underdog you keep rooting for despite his transgressions. It marks a return of the most beloved of his flawed personae of yore — Kabhi Haan Kabhie Naa, Yes Boss, Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman — cast in a different, more devious Darr and Baazigar mould.

    The entire first half goes in setting up Gaurav, at times quite heavily and tediously so. But you still enjoy it all for what the film does with SRK’s own 25-year-long stardom — how it creates a new entity of this Fan from bits and pieces of his own earlier avatars. No wonder the wistful channelling of SRK’s journey as the star, with the old clips, make perfect sense here. It doesn’t irritate like the pointless homages and referencing some other recent YRF films have been prone to doing.

    The makers very interestingly also play with the fans in the audience. There would be many who would travel without ticket on a train to Mumbai and stay in room number 205 at Delight hotel in Charni Road and then soon realise the illusions and delusions of their love for a star. As Gaurav himself says: “Kitna bhi chilla lo awaaz jaati nahin us tak (However much you may scream, your voice won’t reach him).” Isn’t it SRK talking to his fans when he tells them that he is nothing without them and then again when he tells Gaurav to be more than just a fan?

    Gaurav may hog the screen but for me Aryan Khanna, the star in descent (with a new guy Sid Kapoor on the rise), is perhaps even more interesting, both as a character and as the star that we have known SRK as lately. The plastic home, wife and kids notwithstanding there is a restlessness, an edginess, a certain dark sense of humour about Aryan, the star who hasn’t quite faded but could be on the verge of imminent oblivion in the future. It rings a bell. The scene in which he finds himself alone in an auditorium which ideally should be full of fans tellingly captures the star at crossroads. In the figure of Aryan, the film invokes a star in search of a reinvention while reinventing the star who plays the role, ie SRK himself.

    While my stand on SRK is unequivocal, the reaction to the film remains conflicted – a bit like how the film ends. There is a sense of completion, of things coming a full circle and yet a feeling of loss. As though something still remains missing. The inexplicable extremities of the two characters, their egos and eccentricities, left me a bit incredulous as did the fact that no one intrudes in the conflict between the two (in fact the cops of both London and Mumbai don’t care to listen to the star in trouble) and that Gaurav boldly manages to go wherever he wants to with no one stopping him. But then, had there been more logic there would have been no film. There is lot else of significance that lies scattered all over the film, about the star-fan binary specially, which somehow doesn’t come together well cohesively.

    Having said that, one thing is quite clear: SRK couldn’t have found a better vehicle than Fan, both as an actor and as a celebration of the highs and the lows of his own stardom. A stardom whose enormity he’d himself find difficult to wrap around his head. As Gaurav tells him: “Rehn de. Tu nahin samjhega (Let it be, you won’t understand).” Will stars ever understand their fandom? Not quite. Nor will some logical journalists like yours truly.

    One last point. However much Maneesh may travel from Dilli to Mumbai, London and Dubrovnik, the Capital culture (West Delhi to be precise) firmly stays by his side and in his frames. It’s in the lovely lingo — “one way wali girlfriend”— in the nostalgia for watching films at Delite, Novelty, Golcha. Why, he even sets up Gaurav’s shop in the same marketplace as the one shown in Band Baaja Baarat. No wonder this crib then — that sohan halwa from Ghantewala wasn’t sohan halwa at all, it was actually karachi halwa.

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