A double dose of a Bollywood superstar intent on pushing himself into new zones as an actor makes for a passably watchable spectacle in Maneesh Sharma's Fan. The film might, however, have yielded decidedly more than just superficial delights had the director not resorted to standard means to wrap up his tale of an obsessed movie fan run amok. Fan does have several redeeming features, not the least of which are the flashes of intelligence in Habib Faisal's screenplay. Fan works for the most part because it has the fabulous SRK act as a 'young' star-struck boy. His energetic performance is worth the price of the ticket - if not more.
In the second half, Fan gets more and more illogical and implausible. What keeps you hooked is Shah Rukh Khan. He pumps vitality into the narrative. It might get silly but it doesn’t get dull. You finally exit the theatre thinking of Gaurav. And the reverential, all-consuming relationship that we Indians have with our stars.
Though Fan is irrational at times, it keeps the adrenaline pumping all 143-minutes of the movie. Also, the idea of keeping it a song-less film works because that keeps the overdramatic tone from seeping in. Maneesh Sharma may appear inspired by Hollywood, but he keeps Fan original enough. As a whole, Fan delivers what it promised in the trailers. Logic may not be its strong point, but Shah Rukh most definitely is; he’s back in his element after a long time. Watch it for him.
Conceptually, the basic idea propelling the narrative of Maneesh Sharma’s Fan appears deceptively simple -- that of an obsessive fan, a bit of a cross between Misery and The King Of Comedy -- and, judged from the surface, this film works like a slickly efficient Darr homage. Yet, behind the thriller-movie makeup it wears, there is so much more to Fan, a film that should be hailed for its satirical sharpness and for its subtle subversion. And it deserves to be celebrated for the way it allows the world’s biggest movie star to cleverly lampoon his own absurdly, inevitably inflated legend. Take a bow, Shah Rukh Khan.
Despite its squandered possibilities, Fan is always engaging. What keeps this Fan going is SRK's star power. The actor treads a delicate space in playing his own biggest supporter but also of the community he represents. He’s careful in his zeal, ensuring real-time fans don’t feel as though he’s mocking their affection just as he’s responsible in his response to such swaying attention.
I am happy to report that ‘Fan’ is a triumph. Shah Rukh Khan is played to all his strengths, and he plays it just right, gliding in and out of the star and the fan, creating distinct identities and outlines in one scene, and blurring the lines just so in the next. Fan is an out-and-out SRK show, in which the star proves again that he can greenlight roles completely out of his comfort zone, and deliver.
FAN has a brilliant first half, but loses track in the second hour, only to pick up again towards the pre-climax. The writing should've been tighter, while the absence of music [it's a songless film!] may also prove a stumbling block, but what works, and works big time, is the terrific act by SRK as the fan. And that's enough reason for you to watch this thriller!
As I left the cinema having watched the film, I found myself conflicted about my 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. Still, Fan works for the most part. And anyone who – like me – had grown tired and disappointed with Shah Rukh’s unwillingness to step out of his comfort zone will have reason to be a fan again.