Yash Raj Films’ Fan (UA) is, as the title suggests, the story of a fan. Gaurav Chandna (Shah Rukh Khan) lives in a middle-class locality of Delhi and is a diehard fan of Bollywood superstar Aryan Khanna (Shah Rukh Khan). Gaurav hero-worships Aryan. He even resembles Aryan Khanna but that doesn’t really matter to him. His sole aim in life seems to be to meet Aryan Khanna.
Towards this end, Gaurav comes to Bombay and reaches Aryan Khanna’s house on the latter’s birthday. Unable to meet Aryan Khanna personally that day because of the presence of thousands of fans, Gaurav at least sees his idol in flesh and blood. Gaurav learns from news on television that a rival star, Sid Kapoor (Taher Mithaiwala), and Aryan Khanna have had a fight. Being the crazy fan that he is, Gaurav sneaks into the set of Sid’s film and reaches his makeup trailer. He threatens Sid and forces him to apologise to Aryan Khanna and records the apology on his phone camera. He uploads the apology and feels, he has done great service to Aryan Khanna.
But Aryan Khanna is far from amused. Sensing that his fan – who he has never even met – had actually got the apology from Sid by tying him up and by force, Aryan asks the police to arrest the fan from his hotel room in Bombay and keep him in lock-up for two days so that he wouldn’t do such dangerous things in future. Not just that, Aryan also meets Gaurav in the lock-up and chides him for his action. Quite rudely, Aryan turns down Gaurav’s humble request to give him five minutes of his time, for which he had come to Bombay and about which he had dreamt all his growing years.
Gaurav now feels scorned and shattered. Convinced that the love and adulation of fans make stars out of actors, Gaurav decides to seek revenge. Hell hath no fury like a fan scorned.
Gaurav sells his cyber centre in Delhi and goes to London where Aryan is. Since he resembles Aryan, he quite easily dresses up like the superstar and reaches Madame Tussauds where Aryan Khanna’s statue holds a pride of place. Once there, he criticises the statue and even tries to damage it – right in front of other visitors, many of whom are Aryan Khanna’s fans. The fans and the security at Madame Tussauds are shocked at the behaviour as they feel, it is Aryan Khanna who is misbehaving. The media in London blames Aryan Khanna for misbehaving and the police even lock him up as Aryan is unable to prove that he wasn’t present at Madame Tussauds.
Soon, Aryan realises that Gaurav is behind this nasty act. Released on bail, Aryan has to rush to Dubrovnik to perform at the wedding of a rich family. But Gaurav has reached there before Aryan and at one point, he even impersonates Aryan, dances with a lady guest and molests her. Once again, as in London, it is Aryan Khanna who has to bear the brunt of Gaurav’s actions. In other words, Aryan is accused of molesting the lady in Dubrovnik. Aryan finally sees Gaurav at the wedding and goes after him. But Gaurav gives him the slip after a long chase. All along, Gaurav wants Aryan to apologise to him for having hurt his feelings, and he even makes this known to Aryan. But Aryan refuses to apologise.
Left with no alternative, Aryan Khanna returns to India. All he wants to now do is prove his innocence and clear his name. Gaurav has also returned to India. Why, Gaurav even manages to enter Aryan’s bungalow and scare the life out of his wife, Bela (Waluscha De Sousa), before Aryan reaches home from the airport.
Aryan now comes to Delhi. Is he able to nab Gaurav? Does he apologise to Gaurav? Or does Gaurav seek Aryan’s pardon? Is Aryan able to clear his name?
Maneesh Sharma has penned an unusual story, loosely inspired by Hollywood film The Fan. It is interesting to watch fan Gaurav behave like and resemble his idol, Aryan Khanna. Therefore, the first half entertains the audience which gets impressed by the novelty in the story and the presence of a look-alike of young Shah Rukh Khan (who plays supertsar Aryan Khanna in the film) of probably 25 years ago. However, the viewers feel let down by Aryan’s behaviour in his first interaction with fan Gaurav. Why Aryan does not explain, with love and care, to Gaurav that what he has done is reprehensible and why, instead, he dismisses him off so curtly is not explained. The argument that a superstar can’t explain to and correct all his fans does not hold water here because Aryan Khanna has already reached out to Gaurav; it is not as if he would have to seek him out of thousands of fans. Had the writer even referred to an earlier interaction of Aryan with a crazy fan, which may have cost him (Aryan) dear, it would’ve been, at least, understandable. In the absence of that, Aryan’s behaviour looks high-handed and the sympathy wrongly goes to Gaurav. In what follows, Aryan often appears to be ‘villainish’ when the need of the drama was to project Gaurav in wrong light. For one moment, even Aryan Khanna appearing villainish may have been accepted by the audience but with superstar Shah Rukh Khan playing the role of superstar Aryan Khanna, even that becomes difficult, almost impossible, to digest. In other words, Shah Rukh Khan’s image and superstardom come in the way of the acceptance of Aryan’s character when it connotes negative shades.
Habib Faisal’s screenplay is interesting in the first half but the film gets on shaky ground after interval. This could partly be because the audiences do not get an answer to the question which creeps into their minds – why did Aryan behave rudely with Gaurav? Besides, superstar Aryan Khanna chasing an ordinary fan, Gaurav, on the streets of Dubrovnik looks far-fetched. Again, Aryan going to Delhi and participating in the Super Star contest in the middle-class locality of Gaurav looks weird. What Aryan achieves by taking Neha (Shriya Pilgaonkar), girlfriend of Gaurav, into confidence is not clear to the audience. The long chase after that, in the streets of Delhi, again looks far-fetched. The climax is a complete letdown and leaves the viewer confused. The audiences don’t understand if they should feel happy at the ending or sad, and also whether they should be happy or sad for Aryan Khanna in particular. A better option would’ve been for the police to take over once Aryan Khanna has proof to show to the police that his look-alike (Gaurav) is behind the actions being attributed to him (Aryan) in London and Dubrovnik. But the way Aryan Khanna goes about it, it almost looks like the superstar wants to seek revenge before even clearing his name. That sounds a bit weird. All in all, the viewers even wonder about what the film is trying to convey. In that sense, the screenplay writer seems to have lost his grip in the post-interval portion.
The complete absence of romance, a heroine and music in the film is a big minus point and that will greatly restrict the film’s appeal. On the other hand, the novelty of the subject and the character of Gaurav are plus points. Dialogues, written by Habib Faisal and Sharat Katariya, are very good but ought to have been more punch-packed.
Shah Rukh Khan does an outstanding job as Gaurav Chandna. He plays a superstar’s crazy fan with such finesse that one can’t help but marvel at his genius. It is also very exciting to see a ‘young’ Shah Rukh Khan playing Gaurav. As Aryan Khanna, Shah Rukh is convincing and effective. Shriya Pilgaonkar makes a fine debut as Neha. She is a natural actress. Waluscha De Sousa is okay in the role of Aryan Khanna’s wife, Bela. Sayoni Gupta is first-rate as Aryan’s manager, Sunaina. Her expressions and body language are fabulous. Deepika Amin and Yogendra Tiku lend good support as Gaurav’s parents. Indraneil Bhattacharya (as Akhtar) and Digvijay Rohildas (as Usman) provide able support. Taher Mithaiwala makes his presence felt as Sid Malhotra. Rian Gupta is nice as young Gaurav. Amarjeet Singh (as the master of ceremonies in Delhi’s Super Star competition), Govind Pandey (as the railway TC), master Mohit Bagri (as Dhruv Khanna), baby Bianca Colaco (as Isha Khanna), Connor Williams (as Tim), James Richard Marshall (as James), Carolina Main (as Cathy), Euan Macnaughton (as Duncan), Jessica Dives (as the manager at the wedding show), Namit (as Mr. Bhutiani), Farah Hussain (as the lady at the Bhutiani wedding), Niranjan Asrani (as the police commissioner in Bombay) and the rest do as desired.
Maneesh Sharma’s direction is good but he is unable to keep the second half of the film as entertaining as the first half. Having said that, it must be added that he deserves praise for selecting an offbeat subject. There is no song in the film and that’s a mistake from the viewpoint of the commercial prospects of the film. The ‘Jabra fan’ song, used in the film’s promotions, is such a huge hit that it would’ve made sense to include it in the film. Nitin Poojary’s choreography for the wedding dance is okay. Andrea Guerra’s background music is good. Manu Anand’s camerawork is lovely. Oh Sea Young and Parvez Sheikh’s action and stunts are exciting but unnecessarily lengthy. Reducing the length of the action scenes would’ve been better. T.P. Abid’s production designing is very nice. Namrata Rao’s editing is sharp.
On the whole, Fan is a good entertainer, not an outstanding one. Its first half is enjoyable but the post-interval portion is less entertaining and the climax is a big letdown. It will, of course, make profits but a long run at the cinemas is ruled out. Business in multiplexes and cities will be better than in the single-screen cinemas and small centres. Classes will like the film more than the masses. Of the total investment of Rs. 105 crore, around 60% has already been recovered or committed from non-theatrical sources. Recovery of around Rs. 40-45 crore from India and Overseas theatrical revenues is a left-hand job for this film. Business Overseas will be more exciting than in India where it will not be able to join the 200-crore club.