By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “Fan”; Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Waluscha de Sousa, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Deepika Amin, Yogendra Tiku, Sayani Gupta; Directed by: Maneesh Sharma; Rating: ***1/2
In a star-struck country, where hero worshipping is a norm, “Fan” is an insightful film looking into the obsessive, delusional behaviour of a star admirer and his love for his matinee idol. It is a reality check for both, stars and their fans.
Basically, the film is a battle of wills between Gaurav Chandna, the fan, and Aryan Khanna, the star.
Delhi-based Gaurav is the reigning heart-throb Aryan’s doppelganger and a die-hard fan. It is his dream to meet his idol. So crazy is he that he follows the same trail as his idol to Mumbai and goes to any lengths to protect his star.
How he meets his star and the disillusionment that follows, forms crux of the tale.
The story written and directed by Maneesh Sharma, is uncomplicated, but of course exaggerated and zooms into a noire zone, pushing the boundaries of acceptability. The first half of the film is well-balanced and taut. It is the second half that is far-fetched, and though thrilling, strains.
Although treated as a dramatic thriller, the film is more of drama than a thriller. Narrated from Gaurav’s point of view, the film brings to fore, the pragmatic issues of stardom and how stars deal with their crazy fans. Your heart bleeds for Gaurav, but at the same time makes you realise that one needs to be rational.
The pace of the film though racy, drags in parts, especially in the stretched action sequences, which is well-choreographed.
With well-etched characters, the performance of each actor is noteworthy. The film belongs to Shah Rukh Khan, who in a dual role, is a treat for his fans. In both his characters, Gaurav and Aryan, he is distinct in his sartorial style, speech and mannerisms. With his overt histrionics, sincerity and simplicity, his obsession is palpable. He steals the show as Gaurav. As Aryan, Shah Rukh Khan is merely an extension of himself.
Of the rest of the supporting cast, Deepika Amin and Yogendra Tiku, as Gaurav’s parents are fairly competent. Waluscha de Sousa as Aryan’s wife and Shriya Pilgaonkar as Gaurav’s love interest Neha, in small roles make their presence felt.
With great production values, the sets are realistic and the locales impressive.
Visually, Director of Photograohy (DOP) Manu Anand’s images are impressive. He captures the hysteria of the fans and their gawking at their star, with precise acuteness. His frames seamless mesh with the computer generated images. It is in the initial scenes where the shots with grainy images are chaotic and thus, disorienting, but once the narration settles, the visuals are realistic and appealing.
Namrata Rao’s razor sharp edits are crisp and note-worthy. She aptly layers the visuals and Andrea Guerra’s background score to make the film a sound and visual delight.
Interestingly, despite with no songs in the narration, “Fan” keeps you entertained with Shah Rukh’s gusty performance.