Shahrukh Khan – If not for the man himself, Fan wouldn’t have been half the film that it eventually turns out to be. In fact the film could well have turned into a real dry dramatic encounter, if not for the inherent charm that Shahrukh Khan brings on screen every time he comes on the frame.
This is where it has to be added that while it is his lookalike Gaurav who has the title role here as a ‘Fan’, the more difficult part is actually reserved for Aryan Khanna. Reason being that in Aryan, Shahrukh Khan is pretty much playing himself. Right from his Delhi roots to education in Hansraj college to living in Mannat to dancing in the weddings to the concerts in London to the challenges faced by the new emerging stars – Shahrukh Khan has lived this life over the decades. Now to bring that all on screen as Aryan Khanna, and play a fine balance between being, and not being Shahrukh Khan, is an ultra challenging task in itself.
In that context, one has to acknowledge Shahrukh Khan – the star and the actor – to have walked the fine line and made it all come across really plausible on screen. What is not plausible by any way of imagination is the various turns that the narrative takes right through the film. To begin with, it is hard to understand the so-called ‘connection’ that Gaurav has with Aryan. Agreed that as a fan, he is living that life. However, it is tough to see why a decently educated boy would actually expect that a superstar would come out, meet him and give him a hug without any contact point to help out with.
One still moves on from this but what unfolds in the second half is seriously unbelievable. The entire Madame Tussauds sequence right after the interval is scintillating (and fun) by all means. However, when this starts repeating and actually becomes the mainstay of the plot (Gaurav deceiving people as Aryan’s lookalike), it makes one wonder how everyone is getting fooled so easily. (Spoilers ahead) The sequence at a pre-wedding function, the cancellation of concert, the arrest, the reluctance show by the top brass at police, the journey that Aryan takes to the Delhi, the drama on stage, the chase that follows – unbelievable!
Not that unbelievable things haven’t happened on screen before. Of course, cinematic liberty is something that has kept Bollywood rolling for decades. However, whenever things like these happen in a film which is supposed to have a realistic set up, things becomes tough to digest. It is this balance between reality and make believe world that was the need of the hour and director Maneesh Sharma and his writing team are unable to crack that.
The women in the film are plain ordinary too. Right from the Delhi girl [Shriya Pilgaonkar] who is led into a strange act on stage towards the finale to Aryan’s wife [Waluscha De Sousa] who is clueless in her three scenes to Aryan’s Manager [Sayani Gupta] who sticks to the stereotype – none of them bring much weight to the story.
This is where Shahrukh Khan, the man who has made 80 odd films in 25 odd years, comes to the rescue. All by himself, he gives so much to the role that you want him to keep the narrative engaging and exciting. Hence, even though as Gaurav he fixates you mainly with the VFX wizardry, it is as Aryan where he comes up with a more compelling act. Whether it is his first meeting with Gaurav in Mumbai or the final encounter on the terrace in Delhi, you can actually sympathize with him for being truly troubled and yet trying to be nice towards his fan.
Just for the fact that he de-mystifies quite a few things around the life and times of superstars, you can watch Fan. However, how you wish that the last 20-30 minutes were a lot more exciting to keep you engaged right through.