Fan: Bollywood’s Shah Rukh Khan Plays Celebrity & Fan in Quirky Drama
Regardless of its somewhat bizarre setup and moments of complete absurdity, there;s something strangely inviting about Maneesh Sharma’s latest action-thriller Fan, where ‘The King of Bollywood’ – Mr. Shah Rukh Khan himself – has managed to pull off a rather intriguing and surprisingly entertaining double-performance as both a loved-by-the-masses screen superstar and his creepily-committed young lookalike and fan.
The story is cantered on the twenty-five-year-old Guarav (Khan); a young man who has spent his entire life idolising and worshipping mega-superstar, Aryan Khanna (again, Khan), even going as far as putting his physical resemblance to good use by winning a local talent show for his uncanny impersonation act three years running.
With Aryan’s birthday coming up, Guarav decides to travel down to Mumbai to try to get some face time with the star. Joining in with the crowds outside of Aryan’s home, getting his idol’s attention, however, is not as easy as Guarav initially thought and it doesn’t take long after he is thwarted by Aryan’s security, for his love to turn into hate. Angered at the received treatment, Guarav decides to get his own back by putting himself – all the while impersonating Aryan – in an array of embarrassing situations, forcing Aryan on a cat-and-mouse chase around the world in order to stop his betrayed fan from doing any more damage.
One of the most important things to note when going in to watch Fan, is not to go in with too many expectations. Having any kind of anticipation – especially if you are not accustomed to the way things are done in Bollywood – is guaranteed to ruin the experience. Written by Habib Faisal, the story is part action-thriller part creepy melodrama, with the first half of the film putting forth an intriguing set-up where we are given an introduction to a celebrity-crazed man whose entire world – a rather strange and unnerving place to be – is dedicated to his idol. The second half is where the film cuts loose in typically loud and colourful Bollywood style, despite there being no music numbers. Jumping from one location to another – Mumbai, Dubrovnik, London – the action is exciting, but overblown with the painfully loud sound-mixing, as if it tries to force the drama.
Thanks to the special effects work from renowned makeup artist, Greg Cannon – see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – and 3D scanning technology, the character of young Khan is convincing enough to make you forget that the same actor is playing both roles. The actual performances are equally committed, however, story could have benefitted from being a bit more restrained.