Mumbai, 03 Aug 2018 15:11 IST
Director Atul Manjrekar takes what could have been a heartwarming, light-hearted story and goes over the top.
Adapted from the Belgian satire Everybody's Famous! (2000), Fanney Khan revolves around singer Prashant Sharma (Anil Kapoor), known as Fanney Khan (performer or entertainer) among friends and family.
A hard-core Mohammed Rafi and Shammi Kapoor fan, Sharma becomes the star of his chawl but fails to make it as a playback singer. Working tirelessly in a factory, Sharma becomes obsessed with making his daughter Lata (Pihu Sand) a star.
No doubt Kapoor performs with a lot of heart, but it is hard to feel for his character as he discards all common sense to get his daughter a big break.
Sharma abducts the country's biggest singing star, Baby Singh (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), with the help of his simple and sweet friend Adhir (Rajkummar Rao) who falls in love with his victim. While Kapoor goes about making extortion calls to Baby Singh's manager (Girish Kulkarni), Adhir and she begin to spend a lot of time together. Their love story has some delightful moments, though Rai Bachchan feels a little forced as a singer who is stifled by her stardom and welcomes her abduction as a break from it all.
Good performances from Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao and newcomer Sand keep the film afloat. Unlike Secret Superstar (2017), where the father is at loggerheads with his daughter, or Dangal (2016), where the father is a hard taskmaster, Fanney Khan is a loving and vulnerable dad. His daughter does not respect him as he could never make a career out of his talent and thinks he does not understand what it takes to become a star in today's times.
Kapoor's on-screen charm is hard to resist as he pours emotion into every scene, especially the ones with his daughter. But the melodrama does him no good.
While Sand's character graph isn't dealt with in detail, the newcomer displays spark and confidence in her portrayal of an overweight teenager trying to make it solely on her talent. The film offers a comment on the popular notion that packaging and appearing on reality shows is what sets newcomers on the path to success. While that is true to an extent, if you don't have talent it's hard to be a successful singer.
Divya Dutta as the supportive but practical mother and wife doesn't get much to work with. The caricaturish bad guys are the biggest sore points. Girish Kulkarni as an opportunistic manager is grossly miscast.
A brilliant score from Amit Trivedi could have added a lot of value to a film based on a singer father-daughter story, but it never reaches that level, except in the last song 'Tere Jaisa Tu Hai'.
While the Belgian original was a satirical comedy, Fanney Khan takes the melodramatic route. The treatment by director Atul Manjrekar is outdated, and he uses stereotypical plot points to take the story forward. Manjrekar, along with co-writers Hussain Dalal and Abbas Dalal, creates a screenplay that is heartwarming in parts and cringe-worthily dramatic in others.
The director indulges himself when it comes to use of the camera. In one scene the camera swirls around the characters for so long that you feel dizzy! The climax, a crucial point in the film, unfolds as part of a live reality show and is too unrealistic for the viewer to connect with.
The film had the potential for a lovely father-daughter relationship story, a story about dreams and aspirations. Instead it becomes a story about a father who wants instant success for his daughter and is ready to go to any lengths to fulfil his obsession. He does make for a great dad though!
The message is convoluted in the melodrama, making it difficult to invest in the film's characters and premise. It does well in highlighting the issue of body-shaming and the meaning of stardom in today's times but never reaches its potential. Partly delightful, partly exhausting, Fanney Khan could have been much more if only it had stuck to the original's satirical tone.
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