Fan (2016): Movie Review

An Enthralling Cinematic Experience

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan (@apotofvestiges)

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews
Fan, Movie Poster, Directed by Maneesh Sharma, starring Shah Rukh Khan
Fan (2016) - By Maneesh Sharma
Fan is a 2016 thriller drama film directed by Indian filmmaker Maneesh Sharma whose previous directorial ventures include projects like Band Baaja Baaraat and Shuddh Desi Romance. Produced by Aditya Chopra under the banner of Yash Raj Films, Fan stars Shah Rukh Khan in a double role wherein Khan essays the parts of a Bollywood superstar named Aryan Khanna and his lookalike Delhi-based fan, Gaurav, who calls himself Junior Aryan Khanna. As the title suggests, the movie follows the fan Gaurav as he undertakes a train journey from Delhi to Mumbai with the hope of personally greeting his idol Aryan on the occasion of his 48th birthday. Gaurav purposefully travels without ticket on the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express just as Aryan Khanna had famously travelled before attaining his superstardom. Gaurav also makes sure that he stays in the very room of the very hotel Aryan had stayed the very first time he had come to the City of Dreams, Mumbai. 
Fan (2016), Directed by Maneesh Sharma, Gaurav is awe-struck after watching Aryan Khanna live, Fan movie still
Shah Rukh Khan as Gaurav in Maneesh Sharma's Fan
Our Rating: 8.0
IMDb Ratings: 9.0
Genre: Drama | Thriller
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Joelle Koissi, Mariola Jaworska
Country: India
Language: Hindi
Runtime: 142 min
Color: Color
On Aryan’s birthday, Gaurav is unable to go past the security outside Aryan’s bungalow. The best he can do is to watch him from a distance just like other fans who he considers rather ordinary. But, Gaurav is hell-bent on meeting Aryan Khanna face-to-face so that he can show him the trophy he won while imitating his idol in a local acting competition. He also wants to treat him with the famous sweets he brought from the Ghantewala Halwai in Chandni Chowk. When all his efforts of meeting Aryan go in vain, he orchestrates a master plan to impress his beloved superstar. But, Aryan doesn’t take too kindly to Gaurav when he learns about what he had done to impress him. Gaurav feels betrayed and cheated by Aryan’s coldness and takes it upon himself to teach him a befitting lesson so that no star ever dares to take his fans for granted. What ensues is an exhilarating game of cat and mouse between the fan and his once beloved idol. Only this time it is the star chasing his fan gone rogue.   
Fan (2016), Directed by Maneesh Sharma, Aryan Khanna greets his fans outside his house, Fan Movie Still
Shah Rukh Khan as superstar Aryan Khanna in Fan
Fan doesn't back down from taking swipes at the established notions of fandom and stardom. The movie is a reminder of the boiling passion that drives a fan. It is this passionate following that makes a star out of an ordinary person. When this ordinary person begins to attain stardom he quickly begins to take his fans for granted. He feels that they are no longer important. While the movie encourages the fans to be more than just fans by following more meaningful pursuits in life, it also warns the stars to be more responsible to their fans. When Aryan fails to reciprocate the feelings of Gaurav, he discovers that hell hath no fury like a fan scorned! Yes, the events depicted in the movie may require the viewers to suspend their disbelief but they nonetheless prove that fans maketh the stars—that there can be no stars without fans who shower them with their appreciation and love. At the same time, it reminds us that it is as important for the fans to give stars their personal space as it is important for the stars to respect the fans. 
Fan (2016), Directed by Maneesh Sharma, Gaurav beholds the collage on his Aryan Khanna wall, Fan Movie Still
Gaurav beholds the collage on his Aryan Khanna wall
Aryan Khanna is the easier of the two characters that Shah Rukh Khan gets to play in the movie. For, the character of superstar Aryan Khanna is greatly inspired by SRK’s own life. Fan begins by showing a lot of archive footage from the public appearances that Khan made during his early days in Bollywood. We get to hear the bold statements he made about how he sees only himself as his competition. That he wants to rule the Mumbai film industry for many years to come. We get to see clips from his movies and live performances. SRK had come to the City of Dreams a couple of decades back with the hope of becoming a superstar. He was full of self-belief and that’s the only thing that mattered. Since then SRK’s tinseltown dream has only become grander. Carving a successful career in a volatile industry like Bollywood is nothing less than a tricky proposition. It takes the heart of a lion and the mind of a fox to survive the onslaught. SRK, to his credit, hasn't merely survived but has managed to thrive for the last 25 years, becoming a brand in himself. He became the nation's heartthrob in the '90s in spite of doing some highly unconventional movies like Darr, Baazigar, Anjaam, Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, etc. In fact, playing the anti-hero became his USP. Although he has only grown in stature since then, his later performances certainly pale in comparison to his work in the ‘90s. Post mid-2000s, he has been coming across as a spent force and his most recent performances have been all about embracing clichés. With Fan, however, SRK fortunately seems to have finally found his lost mojo, interestingly while once again essaying an anti-heroic caricature. It is a rare SRK film sans romance in recent times. It must have taken great courage to take up such a challenge at the age of 50. But, it seems to have paid off well for Shah Rukh Khan. In terms of sheer intensity and flair, this dual performance of SRK (both the fan as well as the superstar) can be placed right next to his turns in Dil Se, Darr and Chak De! India. Kudos to him for carrying the movie entirely on his shoulders!

Fans maketh the stars: Hell hath no fury like a fan scorned
Overall, Fan proves to be an enthralling cinematic experience that makes us experience a rainbow of emotions. The movie serves as a powerful example of cinema’s influence society and individuals. Fan reminds one of famous Hollywood films like Misery and The King of Comedy. The VFX team of Red Chillies Entertainment needs to be congratulated for ingeniously enhancing Gaurav’s prosthetic look through special effects. The team seems to have outdone what it achieved in Ra.One. Fan also proves to be director Maneesh Sharma’s best work till date. How he succeeds in completely shifting the movie’s tone at the halfway point is truly commendable. What starts off as a lighthearted comedy suddenly takes the form of a dark thriller in the second half; while some of the conventional viewers may not be able to appreciate this sudden tonal shift, it certainly succeeds in differentiating the movie from the run-of-the-mill offerings from Bollywood. The movie’s cinematography, editing and music are also noteworthy. Fan has a lot of memorable sequences but the scene that stands out is the one wherein Gaurav deceptively enters into Aryan Khanna’s house and ends up bashing up all his trophies and memorabilia. What distinguishes a great filmmaker from an average filmmaker is that just when the former has things under control, he succeeds in delivering a perfect closure. The ending of Fan is far from being perfect and may disappoint some but it is an ending that at the very least can be described as clever. Sometimes, it is more important to be clever than perfect. Fan is a movie that needs to be watched. After all, we all admire someone or the other!

Fan Movie Stills
Fan (2016), Directed by Maneesh Sharma, Gaurav wins the acting award, Fan Movie Still

Fan (2016), Directed by Maneesh Sharma, SRK as Gaurav, Fan Movie Still

Fan (2016), Directed by Maneesh Sharma, Gaurav poses with the trophy, Fan Movie Still

Fan (2016), Directed by Maneesh Sharma, SRK as Aryan Khanna, Fan Movie Still

Fan (2016), Directed by Maneesh Sharma, Gaurav meets Aryan, Fan Movie Still

Fan (2016), Directed by Maneesh Sharma, SRK as Gaurav, sunset at the back, Fan Movie Still

Fan (2016), Directed by Maneesh Sharma, Gaurav walks on the ramp, Fan Movie Still

Fan (2016), Directed by Maneesh Sharma, Gaurav challenges Aryan Khanna, Fan Movie Still

Fan (2016), Directed by Maneesh Sharma, Gaurav shows his dimple, Fan Movie Still

Fan (2016), Directed by Maneesh Sharma, SRK as Gaurav, Fan Movie Still

Readers, please feel free to share your views/opinions in the comment box below. As always your insightful comments are highly appreciated!

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  1. Absolutely luved ur review Murtaza.

  2. Thanks Bindu... glad you liked it! :-)

  3. Fan is truly a bold film for Mr. Khan to do at this age .... and exemplary performance with grt direction too. Grt review

  4. Thanks... nothing but respect for SRK... finally he silences his critics, once and for all!

  5. Wow... 8/10 by you... 4.5 stars by Raja Sen.. other serious cinephiles approving the film with a 3.5, 4 stars or more, here and there.... the FAN in me is filled with joy. So excited to watch this movie..... :)

  6. I hope you like it as much as I did. Don't forget to share your thoughts!

  7. Haven't watched the movie yet. Apparently the Shah Rukh has done his part well in the movie, despite a loopholes. Is it similar to Robert De Niro's The Fan (1996) ?
    The plot seems very similar...

  8. Well, there are similarities but Fan is quite unique. The same can be said of SRK's performances. For, here he plays not one but both the parts.


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