Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘FAN’ is a film I feel like I’ve been waiting the longest time for. My expectations of the film weren’t exactly exceedingly overwhelming but I was totally allured by the story and the concept. With Khan’s double role as both protagonist and antagonist, in fan and star form, the film promised a tribute to every SRK fan out there. This was what I thought I would get when I sat there watching the story unravel but what I actually got was very different.
‘FAN’ is in no way what one might expect. In fact, the main reason for this is because as a real fan of the actor, I expected the star Aryan Khanna to be like Khan in person – the same charm, the same charisma, the same warmth. However, Khanna’s character is anything but that. He’s revengeful and he’s unreasonable but the one thing that stands out with me is that he is so unappreciative of his fan, Gaurav. This has stuck with me because it’s so different to the SRK as the actor and superstar many of us love.
I’ve seen a few takes from people in the last day or two about how ‘FAN’ is essentially a film where SRK wants to show off his real self-obsessed nature by portraying himself as his own obsessive fan on the screen. This couldn’t be more untrue if it tried. Here’s an actor who has a two-decade career of films. Here’s a star who very well knows his popularity amongst the current and older generations of Bollywood fans. Here’s an actor who then takes perhaps one of the biggest risks of his career and plays a role so close to himself in credentials but so different to him in persona. Not only that, he also goes to the length of playing a fan of this very superstar, showing that his reflection is in his fans and in the love they give him. Here’s an actor who risked this love by portraying a fan who was likable enough but with negative shades and who would go to any length to remind the man he admires that he is nothing without his fans. If SRK was self-obsessed then he definitely would’ve done more to make the film about the learning of a lesson and about a star’s taking down by a fan. Instead, he leaves the story with the unexpected negative climax as it stands with no lesson learnt by the superstar until it’s too late.
‘FAN’ is a somewhat unconventional and borderline harrowing take on the relationship between a fan and a superstar. However, it is that weirdness about the film that made me like it. There is no perfection in any part of the story or the relationship. In fact, in my book, the best thing about the narrative are the imperfections and senseless actions by both Aryan and Gaurav. Many like me will not be able to identify fully with either but noone can deny that this is a film that was meant for SRK. It identifies how a fan will think they somehow own the superstar that they admire and also how a superstar could place no value on that ownership that the fan feels. Both are understandable positions in their own right but in ‘FAN’, the good and the bad turn into one.
For any real fan of SRK, like myself, this film is a tribute to the endless love he receives. However, in no way does it portray what SRK might want to give back to the people who shower him with that much love. ‘FAN’ is a true reflection that even superstars are human and that there’s not enough time in the world for him to spend five minutes with every single fan of his on the planet. I don’t know about anyone else but I’d rather see him turn old and grey making films for his fans’ pleasure… Doing what he does best!
I’m definitely even more of a Jabra Fan after the weirdness that was ‘FAN’… for the risk the SRK took to show us such an interesting take on what is essentially the connection between us and him.