Saturday, April 16, 2016



If the weird idea of Maneesh Sharma’s Fan sounds like something out of a Stephen King novel, it’s probably because the gist about an obsessive fan comes from Misery. Also, Tony Scott's film, the Fan. However, the film has used the ingenious device of making Shah Rukh Khan play his fan, and pay tribute to his own great stardom.

In the film, 25-year-old Gaurav (SRK who is made to look like himself as he was when had just started his career) is a crazy fan of the star Aryan Khanna (SRK—as he is now).  He makes use of the resemblance to win a star lookalike contest—egged on by his adoring parents—and hopes to meet the star on his birthday and gift him his trophy. He copies the star’s journey to Mumbai, deliberately travelling without ticket and staying in the same room in the same decrepit hotel as Aryan had when he first came to the city.

It’s strange that Gaurav’s resemblance to Aryan is used when it suits the script and ignored when it doesn’t. In the train, hotel, or when he is with a crowd of other screaming fan outside the star’s bungalow, nobody notices.  Gaurav’s scheme to meet his ‘god’ ends badly. Probably used to intrusive admirers, Aryan refuses to acknowledge the intensity of Gaurav’s love for him and treats him with cool indifference (“Why should I spare even five minutes for you?”)

Stung, Gaurav acquires the resources and cunning to follow the star abroad and mount an insidious attack on the star’s reputation, using that resemblance.  During these episodes, everybody simply believes that Gaurav is Aryan, because that’s the only way to make the fan’s plan work—and all he wants is an apology.

As this vengeful Gaurav, Shah Rukh Khan channels his own youthful avatar in films like Baazigar and Darr, The scenes are not too convincing, but they lead to the inevitable showdown. Khan plays the star with a kind of weary resignation, so his real challenge is to make Gaurav likeable, devious and tragic at the same time, and he does that brilliantly.  Shah Rukh Khan does not need to prove that he still has a true actor’s fire in his belly, but Fan does that anyway, even if that means no other actor in the film has much to do.


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