FAN (2016)

The premise of Fan, became quite clear after watching the initial trailers of the movie. It revolves around a plot, which is quite intriguing. In the film, only possible to be played by him, Shah Rukh Khan plays a mega movie-star named Aryan Khanna, and also a pathologically obsessed fan of the star named Gaurav Chandna.

Aryan, of course, resembles the real Shah Rukh – the exteriors of Shah Rukh’s own home, Mannat, double here as Aryan’s house. Like Shah Rukh, Aryan also fills up stadiums, dances at weddings, and is a lethal mix of high-beam charm and cockiness.

Gaurav, like the real life Shah Rukh and the reel life Aryan, comes from a middle-class, ‘mamooli’ home. His entire life is centered on his love for Aryan. When he wins the Super Sitara competition in his neighbourhood, he considers it as a high point of his life, and thats where the film begins.

In Fan, while playing both the superstar and the creepy lookalike fan who stalks him, Shah Rukh bravely goes for broke, unafraid to visit some pretty dark places. It is quite refreshing to see the actor Shah Rukh emerge out of the hero Shah Rukh, which had been evident from the actor’s recent films, which had been created solely for the purpose of furthering his ‘wholesome hero’ image.

Writer and director Maneesh Sharma has constructed Gaurav, the fan, with affection and care. When he embarks on a mission to hand over his recently won trophy and feed him sohan halwa, you really want everything to end happily. Which, of course, can’t happen. Fuelled by his intense desire to meet Aryan Khanna, Gaurav does something illegal. All Gaurav wants is attention. Which doesn’t come, and then things get dark and bloody.

There is a major part to be noticed of the makeup in Fan. Done by the Academy Award winning makeup artist, Greg Cannom, the makeup at times brings out the creepy side of Gaurav. Also, the only similarity that remained of the star’s and Fan’s face is the nose.

Having said that, it’s necessary to point out that Fan isn’t without its problems. There are moments in the film that defy logic and require complete suspension of disbelief. However, it’s Shah Rukh’s committed performance, that keeps you invested in the narrative and the characters. I think it’s incredibly brave of Shah Rukh to play the superstar as conceited and stubborn, and as someone unwilling to take any responsibility for the situation. The role cuts dangerously close to the bone; Aryan Khanna is unapologetic about dancing at weddings for cash.

Being both a fan of happy endings and an admirer of good cinema, I left the theatre with conflicted feelings. There is so much to admire here, but it’s evident the filmmakers think they’ve made a smarter film than they actually have. But still, Fan works for the most part.

I’m going with 3½ out of 5 for Maneesh Sharma’s Fan. Anyone, who – like me – had been a longtime fan of Shah Rukh Khan, and had been disappointed with Shah Rukh’s unwillingness to step out of his comfort zone will have reason to love him again.