Posts Tagged ‘ Habib Faisal ’

Fan

fan-poster

Fan
Release date: April 15, 2016
Directed by: Maneesh Sharma
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Amin, Yogendra Tiku, Waluscha De Sousa, Shriya Pilgaonkar, Sayani Gupta

First up, there will be people on the internet telling you that this film is inspired by The Fan (1996), and someone might even go as far as claiming that it’s ripped off from Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (1951), just to get a sensationalist reaction. The 1996 film itself was very loosely based on a 1981 horror film titled, again, The Fan. 

All of the Fan films have a celebrity obsessed fan and the said celebrity at the heart of the plot. Each of the respective storylines depict the fan’s obsession taking a life of its own, and thereby lending a tinge of an antagonistic shade to him when he tries to put himself in the celebrity’s life. The similarities end here. Habib Faisal and Maneesh Sharma turn the basic concept on its head by making use of the Celebrity Junior/Senior lore and giving it a relatable flavor. The “junior” is a fan who impersonates the celebrity that he’s crazy about, going as far as earning a livelihood out of the whole shtick. There are competitions that are aimed at honoring the best junior, or as some would say, the best duplicate (of the star).

Gaurav Chandna is the twinkle-eyed youngster, who has a million cutout pictures of his “God” Aryan Khanna, a Bollywood superstar seemingly past his prime. Gaurav isn’t just an admirer of his acting work, he’s a follower of everything that he does, be it an interview from Khanna’s early days, or his latest fight with a contemporary actor. He emulates his mannerisms, and even his charm off screen. Just like his God, Gaurav also does this only on the stage in talent contests. In his routine life, he’s just another ordinary Delhi boy. He can’t get good grades in college, he can’t woo a girl he has feelings for, quite unlike Aryan’s on-screen persona which he seems to imbibe and worship.

After winning the local talent hunt contest for the bazillionth time, he decides to gift his trophy to Khanna on his birthday in Mumbai. Gaurav is a likeable character with his chirpy demeanor and a permanent joie de vivre; the obsessive layers underneath start to unravel when he does a mini life-threatening stunt while insisting to travel ticketless on the train to Mumbai, just because that is how Khanna began his career. Some of what he does is sweet, even endearing. This enjoyable universe becomes darker when Gaurav doesn’t know where to draw a line between being a good one-sided lover and a lover who feels wronged when his attraction isn’t reciprocated.

Fan provides a constant parallel commentary on the over-interfering and overbearing interest in a celebrity’s life, and the plastic psyche of a star who would go to any lengths to be liked by everyone in the world. One of the film’s most masterful moments is when Gaurav mocks Aryan for repeatedly attributing all his success to his fans, and then later in a press conference Aryan pulls back on his urge to repeat the same favorite cliche. Amongst many firsts that the film manages to achieve, it also becomes one of the only films to be shot at Madame Tussauds in London. The whole sequence in the wax museum is a little exaggerated to be easily believed in, but it has a hilarious millisecond frame of a Salman Khan wax model standing spectator to a situation which could have easily done with some vigilance by an action hero of any kind.

While that’s just a first in aesthetic vanity or marketing, the most commendable first is Shah Rukh Khan’s casting as the 20-something super-fan and the 50-something super-star. Of course, he’s wearing prosthetic makeup and his face is 3D scanned, but the man underneath is the same Khan who has to juggle between an almost autobiographical character and a boy who keeps jumping as if he’s on an invisible trampoline throughout the film. Gaurav is creepy, Aryan is cocky. Gaurav is naive, Aryan is mature. Gaurav is a maniac, Aryan is an unflinching douchebag. There’s so much of Aryan Khanna that rings close to Khan’s career trajectory and the controversies that he’s found himself in.

A violent bust up with a coworker? Check. Being unabashed about dancing at high-budget weddings? Check. Being detained in a foreign country? Check.

Again, the always heartwarming story of him finding stupendous success in a city where he arrived as a vagrant is also inimitable. The stardom of Shah Rukh Khan makes this film greater than it is. The screenplay is too far-fetched at times, and it even tugs at your patience with the number of chase sequences between different sets of characters, and an always predictable outcome. The last act is also not without its flaws, where the fan is always just too smart for his own good. Much of this is compensated by the deft casting of Deepika Amin and Yogendra Tiku as Gaurav’s affable parents, and Waluscha De Sousa as the glamorous star-wife and Shriya Pilgaonkar as the friendly girl next door.

Fan is an out-and-out Shah Rukh Khan masterclass though, with Maneesh Sharma’s beguiling direction and Manu Anand’s occasionally experimentative cinematography.

My rating: ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5)

Daawat-e-Ishq

daawat-e-ishq-poster

Daawat-e-Ishq
Release date: September 19, 2014
Directed by: Habib Faisal
Cast: Anupam Kher, Parineeti Chopra, Aditya Roy Kapur, Karan Wahi

A setup so good that you don’t want to hate the bad bits. That is how Daawat-e-Ishq is built up. It doesn’t have much to do with food either.

Daawat-e-Ishq plays up the concerns of a middle-class Muslim family in the technologically advanced and socially spiraling city of Hyderabad, and it warns you right at the start of the film with a disclaimer. Detailing the intricate bond of the single father-daughter duo of Abbu ji, shortened to Buji (Anupam Kher) and Gulrez shortened to Gullu (Parineeti Chopra), down to them having their nicknames imprinted on their coffee mugs, perhaps from a mall kiosk. Gullu drops her father at the Court and talks of her dreams on their scooter rides. Gullu was a state topper in academics and brilliant in basketball, but all of that doesn’t count for anything in the world of matrimony and sales.

The world of matrimony and sales is painted with caricatures, perhaps in an attempt at keeping the mood light and not too bogged down by the theme. For major parts of the film, right until the halfway mark, they succeed. From the uneducated ones to the ones aspiring for a masters degree in the United States, everyone throws the same condition for marriage. Gullu takes this as a personal insult and begs her father to join her in turning the tables on the suitors around India. Some emotional hogwash helps in turning Buji on Gullu’s side and they concoct a plan to avenge the ignominy imposed upon them by countless families and years of blindly followed stupid tradition.

Many grave realities are dealt with in an offhanded and satirical matter-of-fact manner. All of these realities in themselves can create subplots of their own, but they are kept grounded to make the film seem like a grand con job. And Parineeti and Kher transform into another persona for that con job very well. The real racewinning chemistry is here between them, even the romantic pairings of Chopra-Karan Wahi or Chopra-Kapur fade in comparison.

Ranging between being goody-too goody and compromising their moral fiber, almost all the involved characters have a shade of grey looming around them. The miniscule hints of circumstantial wit is evident throughout the movie, like for when Kapur, a restaurant owner from Lucknow disses the biryani from Hyderabad by calling it zeher and yet licking his fingertips. The delivery and timing of Kher, Chopra and Kapur are laced with local flavors from Hyderabad and Lucknow and they don’t get out of their character for even once.

Out of the songs used, although a bit tedious at times, I loved the placement of the title track and the qawwaali used in a mild chase sequence is a piece of oddball comedy. If I were to give you a review only until that title track, this review would have been a bit shorter and also less critical of the main conflict, which is over-simplified to keep everything sweet, simple and cute, and that only proves to be the film’s undoing. The spunk dies out and cheesy overdrawn cliches unveil themselves towards the end.

Daawat-e-Ishq is a well-intentioned film, which gets only pulled down by its own reluctance at being anything more than just that. It’s your easy watch, only you start feeling too overfilled with it.

My rating: **1/2 (2.5 out of 5)

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