I subjected myself to Shahrukh Khan’s FAN yesterday; after ten days of successfully avoiding it. I eventually had to go; for the friends, get together, lunch, company and the fun. Fun as we watched the powerful magnanimous castle called ‘King Khan’ struggling to hold forte.
Fan is being unfairly branded a flop, when clearly it isn’t. As i write it’s already clocked 150 crores and should end lifetime collections around 180-200 crores INR. That would double the movie’s declared budget of 90 crores, and should be considered as average fare.
But in an era where Khan branded movies clock well over 350 crores, this one seems like bad business. Here are eight bloopers which make Fan fall well short.
- Male ‘Darr’
The trailers gave an impression of it being a male version of Shahrukh’s 1993 hit Darr. The movie complemented the impression. While the concept of a fan getting obsessed is relatively fresh, the execution in Fan wasn’t at par with Darr, neither half as believable, nor close to reality.
- The obsession doesn’t match the desperation
While the obsession of the fan character (named Gaurav) to meet SRK’s character (super star Aryan Kapoor) is realistic, Gaurav’s desperation doesn’t match his obsession. Check out the ‘Murabba’ story of the anthology ‘Bombay Talkies’ released in 2013. Anurag Kashyap directs Vijay (played by the excellent Vineet Kumar Singh) seeking to meet superstar Amitabh Bachchan and make him taste ‘murabba’ (Indian sweet pickle). The way he hangs around the superstar’s residence for days, sleeps around the periphery, repeatedly tries to befriend security guards are so so believable. For major part of that tale your heart beats for the protagonist. In Fan, you are left wondering.
- Indians are smarter overseas 1
In Fan, for the first hour, nobody mistakes SRK lookalike, Gaurav, as the real one! In second half, almost every NRI or Indian tourist mistakes him as the movie star. Was this intentional? To send a message NRIs have better eyesight? or memory? Or Indians become smarter only when they travel overseas?
- Indians are smarter overseas 2
In Fan, for the first hour, SRK lookalike is a dumb ass who can’t escape train ticket checkers, police constable or can’t manage small time ruffians at his cyber cafe. He can’t even speak his emotions to a lady he admires. In second half this dumb ass becomes the utter cool mean dude. Eases through London, past Madame Tussaud’s security, past London police, take an easy travel to Dubrovnik, slipping past security, joining any crew and bluffing anyone and everyone. It seems the Indian once again became exponentially smarter overseas. In reality Indian tourists overseas are always found gasping with maps and train station names!
- Indians are smarter overseas 3
In early part of the second half, the movie star Aryan Kapoor is relatively smarter overseas and takes help of his team to track his fan Gaurav. Back at Delhi, he immediately becomes dumb, proving the movie’s big message that Indians become idiots at home! He deals with the fan all alone, on rooftops, in the interiors of Inder Vihar DDA colony with no support or logistics. This is far from reality where whenever a star descends to any part of the country, atleast a thousand assemble in quick time in hope to have a glance of him/her. But fan says the impossible. Check by your roof now, and maybe Salman is teaching lessons to another fan there, alone!
- Inconsistencies galore
If the above wasn’t enough, Gaurav’s character is inconsistent throughout – lovable to simple to fan to fanatic to obsessed to mean to mad to suicidal. The superstar Khan is also surprisingly rigid with his illogical stance (of not apologizing) and risking all his time and revenue modes – hasn’t he heard of the phrase ‘out of court settlement’! Actually the other star in this movie, name Sid kapoor, turns out smarter. He doesn’t create a song and dance when bashed by this obsessed fan. His bashing by the fan though reminded me of the sad incident when a fan of tennis star Steffi Graf had attacked the then number one player Monica Seles.
- Self Promotion
As if the above loopholes weren’t enough, the movie is almost a tribute to Shahrukh’s greatness. The lines in first half about SRK’s aggression from Delhi, “Aajtak jo kuch bhi kiya, apne bal boote pe kiya” etc all seemed like a big hour advertisement of the phenomena called Shahrukh Khan. Its true there is always crowd outside Mannat (his Bandra residence). Even my mother had once lined up there. But there are classier ways to give self tributes or making a movie about own self. Case in point – Amitabh Bachchan’s Buddha hoga tera baap!
- Jumping on the intolerance ‘bahti ganga’
Outside the movie script, King Khan made a massive public relations blunder, which, no amount of ‘making up’ is working. Shahrukh has the habit of generating unnecessary controversy prior to any release. Case in point – it seems the only time USA security body searched him to point of irritation was on even of release of ‘My name is Khan’. There are many such instances and he sure felt the urge to hit headlines for the sake of Fan.
But logic defies why he jumped into the politically motivated flowing river (‘bahti ganga’) called ‘intolerance’ debate, manufactured to influence Bihar state elections. His words twisted and his movie targeted since. For India’s most popular superstar to have claimed any marginalization was an astronomical blunder. #BoycottFan gained momentum since leaving the movie’s makers to pay the price. Primarily in shape of unfair negative publicity. Even when the movie isn’t a flop, a section of fans and media are blasting from loudspeakers it is. If not for this remark, Fan would have at least doubled its collection – case in point the equally rubbish Dilwale or Happy New year, both of which grossed over 350 crores worldwide.
‘Look before you leap, sense before you utter’ is the biggest lesson this movie collections have taught. A lesson which is all set to cost another Khan too, as #BoycottDangal gets momentum.