Bollywood tried to remake the ultimately hilarious and twisted Oscar com, Everybody's famous. Don't ask me now to put the expectations game down. You can't prevent me from expecting something from such a film. But it became an entire concoction of Aishwarya Rai, Rajkummar Rao and Anil Kapoor providing nothing. It had a charming narrative, yes- but- isn't even that unoriginal? One star. Nothing fuckin more, nothing hella less.
With the boom of television channels at the turn of the new millennium, the audiences are bombarded with a plethora of programmes. Apart from the never ending soap operas that are lapped up by the masses, another prominent programme that has captured the imagination of the public are the reality shows. The fact of the matter is more often than not, there is no "reality" in such shows as it is smartly staged with an eye on the TRPs. There is no doubt that such shows has given platforms for numerous talented individuals to kick start their career but becoming a star isnt a cake walk. Incidentally Atul Manjrekar's debut venture "Fanney Khan" touches upon this subject in a humorous manner. The trailer was thoroughly entertaining but was the movie as good???
Prasanth Sharma/Fanney Khan (Anil Kapoor) was the lead vocalist in an orchestra in his younger days & aspired to become a singer like Rafi. However, he couldn't make his dream into reality & hoped that he could make his daughter, Lata (Pihu Sand) succeed where he faltered. She was definitely talented though her confidence to perform was invariably dented as she was regularly humiliated for being on the chubbier side. Since he struggled to make ends meet, he knew that his ambition to make a music album for his daughter was rather fetched. It is at this juncture that he decides to kidnap Baby Singh (Aishwarya Rai), the most sought after singing sensation in exchange for ransom with the help of his friend, Adhir (Rajkummar Rao). So will Lata become the star that her father dreamt of & if so, at what cost???
Based on the Belgian movie "Everybody's Famous" by Dominique Deruddere (which I haven't watched), the Bollywood version has been helmed by the debutant, Atul Manjrekar. He has also written the screenplay along with Hussain Dalal & Abbas Dalal, which though hilarious at times cant be denied to be rather silly & a climax that could sent the wrong signals. At the same time, he does pose some serious questions with regard to whether talent has to take back seat to glamour & compromise. There is no doubt that Atul missed a trick or two in making the more entertaining & meaningful, if he had made a couple of changes. Some of them being more screen time for the hilarious interactions between Anil, Ash & Rao, more focus on Pihu's relation with Anil etc. With regard to the technical aspects, pretty much everything was fine though Amit Trivedi's music stood out especially the "Tere Jaisa Tu Hai" track rendered by Monali Thakur.
Anil Kapoor was excellent as the father who would go to any length to ensure that his daughter has a successful career. Pihu Sand has done a fine job along with Rajkummar, though the latter wasn't quite utilized. Similarly Aishwarya was an apt choice as the pop star but her pairing with Rajkummar seemed rather odd. As for the rest of the cast, they have done their parts aptly.
Verdict: It had the makings of an hilarious entertainer but failed to realize its full potential due to Atul's inexperience & an average screenplay, which didn't know what ought to be highlighted & what not. It wont make much of a noise at the box office & might just be able to break even at best. So does it mean that it's a waste of time??? Hmm..that will be kinda harsh as I felt it's a decent time pass with hilarious sequences despite the outlandish plot & questionable climax !!!
I don't know if I should take Atul Manjrekar's Fanney Khan seriously or lightly. On one hand it shows the struggle of a man (Anil Kapoor) who wants his daughter to be a star singer while on the other it resorts to screwball comedy to make me laugh. These two shades of this comedy drama hardly blend, while also giving me withdrawal symptoms. A lack of logic in the plot - starting from the point where the man kidnaps a famous singer (Aishwarya Rai) to the climax - pushes Fanney Khan into a territory that can be best defined as contrived storytelling. Everything is easy for director Manjrekar's characters, and thanks to some brilliant performances by Kapoor, Divya Dutta, and Girish Kulkarni, it feels effortless. I am also not sure what the non-righteous climax is trying to convey - is it okay to be bad when you are fighting for a good cause? Is it okay to break the law and put someone's life in danger just because you are a naive, old man passionate about your daughter's future? Ridiculous as it seems, Fanney Khan ends like a fairytale without even shedding light into what happened to some of the characters. The only thing that it gets right is criticizing the notion that stardom is usually a product of luck and compromise, as it poses as a question in front of the man's daughter (Pihu Sand) several times, yet Rai's character sabotages it in one scene by taking a defensive when the man asks her the same question. Director Manjrekar is ahead of himself, in trying to compete with Advait Chandan's Secret Superstar (2017), in trying to show the dark world and politics of the music industry, in fighting taboos related to body shapes and stardom, yet the container he uses to serve his dish made me look at my family members and shrug. No, really. There's a scene sometime in the 15th minute where Kapoor's character mimics to an instrumental in front of his wife and daughter. It's a great screwball moment, inducing no laughter, but that's exactly when I turned to my mum and dad and we all shrugged referring to the dull madness that is happening on screen. Don't waste your time. TN.