The worse of two goods

3 06 2006

Fanaa, the film is based on a simple philosophy: It is always easy to chose between good and evil but what determines the course of our lives is how we chose the better of two goods and the safer of two evils. No doubt Fanaa is a good movie but if you ask me, I think I chose the worse of two goods. There are better movies around as compared to Fanaa, just that I decided to go for this one rather than the better ones.

Going into this movie, I had great expectations from it given that I am an ardent fan of Aamir Khan. But the actor falls flat in his performance, especially when pitted against as talented a co-star as Kajol. More on him later but first I want to focus on Kajol.

Kajol has given a wonderful performance. This multi-faceted actress can carry an entire movie on her back. I feel that our film industry has lost a great artist since she stopped working. Today’s Ranis and Preitys and Priyankas are no match to her. I read an argument (probably on Mouthshut or maybe while talking to a friend, not sure though) that Kajol’s character in Fanaa was deliberately created as blind to add more challenge to her role as she was returning to the big screen after a long hiatus. I find this argument totally absurd because as was evident from her performance, she still had all the qualities that a multi-talented artist of her calibre possesses.

The one good thing about the movie is that Kajol’s character has been very well established, which is something that Aamir’s character lacks. Kajol is shown to be a young Kashmiri blind girl whose life has been totally under control of her parents. Her parent, though shown as conservatives, do not suppress her desires and wishes. This is how she is able to decide about her visit to Delhi much to the happiness of her parents.

Once in Delhi, Zooni experiences the kind of freedom that she has not even dreamed of in Kashmir. Though blind, she takes to Delhi like one of its very own. And when Rehan starts flirting with her, she doesn’t retreat into a shell. Rather she responds to his flirting. She is overjoyed at being in an alien surrounding all alone, and she loves her freedom. When she is alone with Rehan, she is amused, joyous, anxious, playful, all at the same time. To show such emotions at the same time calls for some brilliant performance which only Kajol could deliver. She shows that she is determined not to let her disability become her weakness and her first encounter with Rehan is evident of that when Rehan remarks ‘Arre andhi hai kya?‘ to which she replies ‘Haan andhi hoon, tumko dikhai nahi diya kya?‘ The dialogue sequence was amusing for the viewer but it showed the acceptance that Zooni had in her mind for her disability.

Now lets come to the cliché of the movie. Given that Zooni and her troupe of girls were in Delhi for only 5 days, how could one expect her to fall in love with Rehan in such a short time? I have seen a friend raise this question earlier too and honestly, I don’t have any logical reply to him. We see that when Rehan flirts with her, she responds to him. Zooni was a girl who had absolutely no contact with the outside world and her life was determined by her parents. Given the sense of independence Zooni felt in Delhi, she could not stop herself from interacting with Rehan in the first place. The gentle smiles on her face when Rehan was cracking his bad shayaris was evident of that. But given her background that was so well documented in the movie, one would be led to believe that a girl like her would take a long time to realize if she is in love with a guy or not. This doesn’t happen in this movie. The movie shows that she not only falls in love with Rehan but also decided to marry him after consent of her parents, all in the space of just 5 days. I think this is the cliché moment of the movie. Maybe perhaps because this happens in every other Hindi movie where the guy and the girl realize in a moment of passion that they are really in love and decide to marry.

It is from here on that the movie becomes predictable. The guy disappears, time flies, the girl has a son and then they reunite under difficult circumstances. What happens next too is predictable. You can actually predict the story of this movie from here on if you are an avid reader of novels. For example, I have been an avid Ken Follett reader and I found that parts of the story of this film are rip-offs from some of his stories. The difference in this case is that in Ken Follett’s novels, all the characters almost always have a well established background (like Zooni in this movie) while in this movie we are still open to question Rehan’s background. What do we really know of him? That he is a terrorist on a mission? That he only communicates with his so-called Nanajaan? Or that he is a Kashmiri? When Zulfi (Zooni’s father, played by Rishi Kapoor) questions Rehan about his background, he simply doesn’t have any answer. Part of it was due to the fact that he didn’t want to reveal to him that he was a terrorist. But the film doesn’t show anything about Rehan’s Kashmiri links. At one point Zooni herself questions him that after hearing so many lies from him how could she trust him. In the same way can we, the viewers, believe that he is a genuine Kashmiri?

Lets talk about the performances now. Kajol, as I said was simply brilliant. It is no use repeating that she was the ace of the movie. Aamir disappoints. He looks older in the first half and brazen and emotionless for a large part of the second half of the movie. Mr. Perfectionist falls flat on his face in front of Mrs. Talented. In his search for perfection, I believe Aamir has not achieved his full potential. I also felt that a part of his role resembled that of Rang De Basanti. His mannerisms, looks on his face, a dash of Punjabi accent all reminded us of RDB. But honestly speaking, I hated his shayari sessions with the girls in the first half. It nearly put me to sleep.


Rishi Kapoor looked apt for the role of the father of Zooni. He plays the role of a very emotional father but is never coming in the way of his daughter’s decisions. Kiron Kher likewise played the perfect mother. Tabu’s role as a psychologist with the Anti Terrorism Bureau is something that I did not like much because given the way she was making her comments and decisions, it almost looked like she was working on hunches rather than plain facts. I am not saying that she performed badly, I believe that her character was not developed in the script. I guess that had something to do with the fact that her appearance was very limited in the movie.

The film tended to slow down in the middle. It can be safely said that you can afford to sleep through one hour of the first half of the movie and then another half hour after the interval. The shayaris, the wah wahs, the subhan allahs all bored me to near-sleep. Another thing I felt was that the surprise factor was missing in the movie. Take for example, RDB had a surprise factor in it. The way they plan to kill the minister in RDB and the plan is executed in a flash acts as a surprise factor. Something similar should also have been there in Fanaa given the fact that it was a story based in Kashmir and a so-called Kashmiri terrorist was at the center of this story. But it never happens and as I wrote above, the moment the injured Rehan reaches Zooni’s house, the story becomes predictable. Had there been a surprise element, things could have been very different.

The music. Hmm, now this is something that I have already written about here. The picturization of most songs is beautiful. Watch Chand Sifarish and you won’t need to visit Delhi again. They have covered literally all the well known monuments of Delhi in this song, starting with the Qutub Minar and progressing to Old Fort, and so on. A few scenes here and there, and you will be able to watch the entire beautiful side of Delhi in just a few brief moments. Watch the beautiful landscapes of Poland in Mere Haath Mein while watch out for the chemistry between Aamir and Kajol in Dekho Na. Chanda Chamke may be a fun song but its tune is… oh well, thats repetition from my review of its music album. Des Rangila, the worst song of the album thankfully came at a time when my cell phone rang and I had to run out of the hall to attend the call.

A word about the director and the producer. I had a lot of regards for Kunal Kohli as a film critic but his works as a director have not been up to the mark barring Hum Tum. Fanaa fails to live up to my expectation given that it boasted of such a magnificent star cast. I felt at times that the acting talents of Aamir and Kajol could have been better exploited by some other more experienced director. As regards Yashraj films, I believe they should go back to making love triangles. It is their forte and Aditya Chopra should stop making films that are different per se and if he wants to become a producer, he must hire more talented directors to keep the Yashraj banner afloat. I wont call this film mediocre but yes certainly it could have been better. This is all I have to say about Fanaa – the movie.


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15 responses

7 08 2006
Sweety

Hie..well Mr crime master gogo u shud be screen writer for hindi movies. I’ve noticed these things too but still I recommended this movie due to kajol and chhota rehan performance. Aamir was looking kool too but as u have written he was looking over aged..but i don’t agree on emotion wala part..he has given brilliant performance and songs were good too.

Love
sweets

16 06 2006
Crime Master Gogo

Suyog

Yeah, the film needed some patience. Good thing that I went to watch it with family, becasue you know I was predicting the course of the movie from its interval till the end, and most of what I was thinking turned out to be right. If I had gone to watch it with friends, I would have walked out at the interval itself🙂

Yes, I was a member of MS but dont write there anymore. I joined MS at around the time when you were banned from there.

Cheers,
Anuj

16 06 2006
Supremus

Whoa! This is the longest review of Fanna I have come across! Man, and u had immense patience to write on this movie as well – personally I watched the first 10 minutes, and so far I havent progressed. Kunal Kohli gives me the creeps.

U were a MS member too – I see lots of familiar faces in your comments🙂

Suyog

9 06 2006
Crime Master Gogo

Amit Bhaiya…

You know I agree with you, I too was taken aback by the speed of romance shown by Kajol’s character. Thats why I said that it is akin to the cliche of Hindi movies where the guy and girl realize their love in one moment of passion. There can’t be any other explaination for it, at least I can’t think of any other explaination.

One thing that I wrote in my blog is that I felt that the story was lifted from some other sources. I can say that for sure because I felt that the second half (particularly) was a direct lift from Eye of the Needle and The Mat from St. Petersburg, both novels of Ken Follett. Somebody remarked to this effect on mouthshut also.

Anyways, read this hilarious take on Fanna here. This is worth a good read.

Cheers,
Anuj

9 06 2006
Amit

Hey Anuj! First of all, I am late in commenting becoz of two reasons..
1. I forgot my bloggger id and pwd!
2. The comment page didnot load in the last few days. I must have tried it a dozen times..

Anyways…coming to your review!
Good that you werent as belligerent as my review😛 There were good points too in the movie..as you have highlighted..But Anuj, the movie was just an eyewash. It was a FAR FAR FAR probability that such a thing would actually take place in real life. The first part was half baked. I am glad that you accept what I was trying to convey. A blind girl with no contact with outside world sleeping with a stranger in a complete fast forward romance. The more I think about the movie, the more I find reasons that it is a simply impossible movie. Rishi Kapoor’s house in first half. And believeing he didnt change houses, his house in second half – surrounded by nothing but snow. No locals(as it was shot in Poland).Trying an emotional connection with a child artiste.

The worst part was Aamir’s character sketch. You also agree right? Ek Naanaji ke ishaare pe wo sab kuchch karta hai. Kameena Nanaa 7 saal mein buddha bhi nahin hota. Aamir kaise Indian army mein aa ghusta hai? How does it look younger in second half? ANSWERED!ANSWERED!ANSWERED!

I liked your balance review. Enagaging reading as always!

Cheers!
Amit:)

5 06 2006
Crime Master Gogo

Bluffmaster sahab…

Hmm, so in your assessment too Aamir rocked. Chalo we have a difference of opinion but anyways, tell me which newcomer could have acted better? Waise I’m glad that you actually went thru the entire loooooong review😀

Cheers,
Anuj

5 06 2006
Bluffmaster!

I agree with Pras, Aamir rocked in the movie! His was a mature performance that only he can fit into, unless, as I said in my review, if chances were given to newcomers! Anyways the movie overall was good and so was Aamir. Even if you didn’t like it, who’s complaining? You said it correctly, this was one loooooooong review!!

Leak out…™
aLi.

5 06 2006
Crime Master Gogo

Rohit…

I dont write for others. The thing is that I feel that MS members are not as kool now as they were last year. Gone are the days when we used to have long discussions in the comments if we disagreed with the reviewer. It is not happening now sadly. Most of the times these days the members of MS want us to agree with them all the time. I didnt want to do that. I love to crib on my blog, and thats what I did here.

Btw, have u watched the movie yet? Waiting for your response…

Cheers,
Anuj

5 06 2006
Rohit

Anuj mere dost,

When did u started caring about what others think of our writing man ?
Pls dont do that – I would request you to PLEASE STOP WRITING TO PLEASE OTHERS as that would spoil the fantastic way of writing you have.
I will love reading the way right the way you write.
Even on MS too – i would say one thing – who the fuck cares what they think about our writings??.
I am sure you will agree with me.
Buts its always nice to come to your place.
Keep Penning
ROhit

4 06 2006
Crime Master Gogo

Pras…

On the contrary I always felt that Aamir looked a bit emotionless in the second half of the movie. Barring these few scenes, he just did not show any sign of emotion, whther good or bad ones.

Lekin phir bhai, at least we agree that Aamir’s character was created in a very sketchy way. Read today’s HT, it’s article on Fanaa is on similar lines.

But yaar you have to believe me, Fanaa isn’t doing that well in Delhi. I mean, I was surprised to see the hall only three-quarters full on the first day of the second week, given that it is the most talked about movie this year after RDB.

Cheers,
Anuj

4 06 2006
No Einstine HuH

🙂

I won’t agree that Aamir was emotionless. The lack of characterization was the culprit but Aamir not being melodramatic became as ruthless and stirn as a terrorist can be. Watch out when he walks out of the house and when the kid calls him back, he breaks down and still goes back… Similarly at airport plus in the end. Kya yaar…Aamir rocked :):)

Shatter more keys…™
Pras

PS:: Rohit bhai…Fanaa collects stupendous and its 2nd week is also stronger.😀

3 06 2006
Crime Master Gogo

D(r)iver

Go get your pogo sticks😛

Well, I didn’t write this review on MS because I know already that this review will get a big thrashing from MSians since I have criticized their star Aamir Khan. Plus of course as I said above, the word limit is limitless here and of course I love cribbing in my blog😉

Nope, there’s not much of emotional drama in it.

Cheers,
Anuj

3 06 2006
Teny

So you didn’t write this one in ms!

I don’t wanna go for this movie because of its hype and I am sure that it will disappoint me very much!😀

and i also think that its going to be too emotional…lol…

Hail POGO!😛

3 06 2006
Crime Master Gogo

Rohit

Part of the reason I stopped writing on MS is that I had to write according to the tastes of the members there. The moment I turned offensive there, I was bombarded with criticism. But with my blog I have the freedom to do what I want. I can bitch, crib and be offensive in any way I want. There is nobody to stop me. And there’s no word limit too. Thats the best thing I like about my blog.

Had I written this review on Mouthshut it would have been a lot smaller and toned down, especially with respect to the criticism I have written about Aamir Khan. You just cannot expect MSians to accept another person’s views with grace. They expect us to be in agreement with them all the time.

Thats why I wrote this long review on my blog. I wanted it to be longer but I knew it would bore the readers if I made it longer. Okay now about the film… yes it has its entertainment value and I won’t play spoilsport for you with regards to that🙂

Cheers,
Anuj

3 06 2006
Rohit

Hey Anuj,
Cool Man.
I was expecting something on the similar lines as you said.
yes man, here too in hyderabad it is getting the same response, can u believe it – its the second week in running and I was getting today mornings tickets just like that – no hussle bussle, its easily available, seems like people are not turning up to theatres in that big a number as was expected before the release of the movie.
Moreover I am looking forward to it, but after reading your review and Mishraji’s I know how much I can expect from it.
But I am sure that it has its own entertainment value.
Man – I must tell you that what a refined review you have written in here.
Its worth all the praise in the world.
Great really very nice neat work.
Keep Penning
Rohit

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