When I first saw the trailer for Fan, I was frankly creeped out by the look of the character Gaurav (the Fan). Through the use of prosthetics and major CGI, the filmmakers have made Shahrukh look just similar enough, and just different enough that it’s eerie. The eyebrows are straightened out of their normal “S” shape. The cheeks are too wide and the teeth different, and mostly, he looks so young!
But once you watch the film, it’s great, because Shahrukh Khan the actor has been able to create two distinct characters in this film. Aryan Khanna is for the most part the real SRK, a little more arrogant and less warm maybe. And Gaurav is the young obsessed fan from Delhi. The prosthetics and CGI let you see them as two different people immediately.
I was fortunate to see Fan before I really read any reviews or saw anything about the plot. Of course, I had my suspicions that this would be a darker psychological thriller, and it most definitely is. I was traveling for a conference in Las Vegas on Friday, and asked at an Indian restaurant which of the total two theaters in town showing Fan would be a safer neighborhood to take an Uber. Totally worth it to see it the first night! I knew a bit what I was getting into, that there would be no songs, but I think the audience I was seeing it with really didn’t know. As the end credits started, the guys behind me said out loud, “What, no song?” The tone and moment that the film ends with, I’m glad that we didn’t have that peppy Fan Anthem song over the credits. It would have been jarring. (Like the credit song was for Badlapur!)
I don’t want to spoiler the movie at all. I’m just going to tell you that you should really see this film. It is a return to Shahrukh the actor, which I had been hoping for! This is acting of a level with Darr, with Swades, or Chak De! Yes, it really is that good. It’s up with all the great performances. I’ve already seen the film twice and I plan on seeing it again in a few days with a friend. For a Shahrukh Khan fan, there is so much to delight in references to real past movies of SRK’s. Real old interview footage, footage from his SLAM! Tour in the US in big stadiums – they even filmed at his home Mannat on his birthday to capture the craziness.
You can guess from the trailer that it’s about a super star, and an obsessed fan, and things are going to get crazy. I’m giving it four and a half stars out of five, because I loved it that much, but there were a few logical leaps in the second half. I’m not sure the logic of the thriller completely worked, but I just loved watching it unfold before my eyes anyway. The action set pieces are really good, and Dubrovnic is gorgeous!! (That’s the rooftop chase from the trailer.)
I’ve seen people say this is a copy of the Robert DeNiro/Wesley Snipes film The Fan, and it really isn’t. Yes, you have an obsessed fan in both thrillers, but that’s where the similarity really ends.
None of the other actors in the movie are big names. There’s another rival “star” in the film named Sid Kapoor that I think is supposed to be a take on Hrithik. I recognized the character actors playing Gaurav’s parents, but really the movie is Shahrukh vs. Shahrukh. I also admire Shahrukh for poking a little fun at his own stardom. There’s a scene where Aryan is performing for a wedding for a huge fee, and even him punching the star Sid Kapoor at a party could be reference to real dustups that Shahrukh has had in his own life. Aryan is an aging star, who has declining box office for his films, and Gaurav at first won’t stand for any rival to take his God, HIS star’s place.
What is fantastic in this double character study is that your sympathies go from one character to the other and back and forth again. There are shades of gray to both characters, and I loved that. This was writer/director Manesh Sharma’s dream project for years. Yash Raj had him prove himself with a few other films first, and he started with Band Baaja Baaraat, and what a debut that was! He had to wait fot the timing to be right for Shahrukh to be involved — really I don’t know if I can think of any other Bollywood actor more perfect for this dual role. It’s a triumph for Shahrukh, Manesh Sharma and the VFX team.
I’m so excited for Raees now!