Sunday, June 04, 2006

Fanaa*

It has been said that 'expectation is the root cause of all disappointments'. And I cannot fathom why and what the hell was I expecting out of Fanaa. Possibly the RDB-effect of Aamir, the comeback of Kajol, and possibly the hope that they would team up for the first time for a genuinely different flick. I had an idea of the capabilities of critic-turned-director Kunal Kohli - his first movie 'Mujse Dosti Karoge' was an absolute disaster (from whatever little I managed to see), but I found his second movie 'Hum Tum' more digestible than lots of other people.

Before I commence, just check out the review below of Rajeev Masand. He has got it dead right again, especially what I feel about the first half of the movie, where you simply squirm in embarrasment everytime Aamir and Kajol go on their shayaraana flirting:
I can understand Aamir Khan and Kajol signing the movie basis the story. It can be considered relatively innovative for a modern-day big movie, and in the recent past, Yashraj Films have converted relatively thin and innane stories into decently watchable flicks, like Dhoom. It is a different thing how the big daddy himself made Veer-Zaara.

The movie is fatally flawed in its direction, which is absolutely pedestrian. The first-half romance between Kajol and Aamir looks so contrived and cheesy, its not funny. Besides, Kajol looks absolutely ravishing but old, especially compared to her young nubile friends (unless she plays a senior to those girls). Aamir looks fat, and apparently was asked to put on weight for that particular segment. Wonder why, as he is playing a spy in the movie, not a method actor. When the guide keeps throwing himself on all the girls (not only Kajol), I wonder why is he not reported to the police. Maybe that way they could have saved so many subsequent lives. Besides, I could not get the point of Kajol telling him constantly about her parents' principles. Maybe that was to establish her sheltered origin, mainly because of her handicap. I do not have too many comments to make on the physical disability, because the supposedly radical 'Black' also established the fact that it is impossible for a handicapped Rani to have a meaningful existence without a 24-hour companion-cum-teacher Amitabh.

Kajol sleeps withs Aamir, gets pregnant in one go, and then Aamir supposedly dies. It shows the progressiveness of her parents (Rishi Kapoor and Kiron Kher) that when their blind daughter first falls in love with a guide and then has a son before wedlock, they are enthralled. If only there are more such parents in the country, I think India would be transformed.

The movie takes a twist in the second half, to my mind remniscent so much of Kabhi Kabhie (Kashmir, illicit pre-marital relationships, and relatively shoddy direction). Here, Aamir runs into a literally-unblinded Kajol and his 7-year old son. Kids are getting cuter by the movie these days, and posssibly was needed here if one had to melt a hardended terrorist like Aamir's heart.

After some temper tantrums and then unhummable songs, Aamir discloses his real self to Kajol in an extremely unimaginative and unsentimental way. The only interesting scene in the movie happens when Kajol refuses to accept Aamir, and hence he decides to go away. Her confrontation with him, when she starts off by first slapping him and then hugging him, is possibly the only time when the true nature of their passion surfaces even remotely. What a pity that there is not a single such another moment in the entire film!

Aamir and Kajol are finally wedded by her progressive family, but then his true identity is revealed. I am not even commenting upon the terrorist angle as it is so simplistic and juvenile, but by the climax, Aamir manages to bump off all the remaining men in Kajol's life - either by design or by accident. The climax is finally a mix of Mother India (partiotic Kajol shoots Aamir) and Deewar (Aamir dying in her lap).

Performancewise, Aamir is competent like ever, but I have my reservations about his actions in the film being driven by family connections rather than ideology. Maybe his character was an extremely emotional man which somehow came across very differently, as ultimately he did sacrifice it all for a woman. In fact, I though Aamir played a far more convincing character in Raja Hindustani, a movie most have hated but I thought was a much better effort in the poor boy-meets-rich girl routine than Fanaa.

Kajol looks a million bucks and is dynamite, and her character as a woman hopelessly in love is possibly one of the finest performance in Hindi cinema since Black. To my mind, the biggest connect with Dil Se is established by her charachter's similarity with Shahrukh's in that movie. And I loved Dil Se, and SRK's acting in that flick. Kajol's comeback here shows the way to all Preity and Aishwarya ruling the roost currently as to how to project your uni-dimensional personalities on screen to still play convincing characters. I think Al Pacino is the epitome of this, when he reinvents each character he plays in his patently unique albeit repetitive style.

The remaining starcast is okay, as they hardly have much to do. And what were Shiney Ahuja and Lara Dutta doing in their cameos - it especially is criminal when Shiney has to do such roles. However, the single-biggest failing is the absolute lack of that immeasurable quality - chemistry - between the lead pair of Aamir and Kajol. And I think for a romatic film, there can be no bigger recipe for disaster. There is just one scene which I have mentioned above where the true intentsity of their relationship comes across. I guess it was this intensity and chemistry that made SRK-Kajol into what they were.

I do not think in such incompetent hands, reducing the length of the movie would have made any difference. Kunal Kohli would have still managed to botch it up. The only thing that comes to my mind afer watching this movie is that if only Kajol would have done 'Dil Se' as she was originally scheduled to, then that would have been an even bigger classic for me, and I could have rubbished 'Fanaa' even more.

5 comments:

xanjukta said...

looking forward to X-men 3.. absolutely loved the film... just so cool for comic book buffs like me! plus the woman in me gets satisfied with hugh jackman as wolverine... double yippee!!

what i think of Fanaa... well get that off Satya's review comments... cos it's ditto here...

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satya said...

I would first begin by disagreeing
with the proposition you make
about how, "expectation is the
root cause of all disappointments". This is not the
real reason for your dissapointment with Fanaa.
Remember, how you have enjoyed
some of the most awful films in
better spirit. I propose to to
suggest that your dissapointment
was a result of the really
unimaginative (or incredulous if
you choose) scripting that a Yash
Raj-Aamir Khan-Kajol film could
degenerate to. The problem is
basically to do with this whole
'beautification of love or the
myth of love', that the Yash Raj
banner has assiduously built over
the years. Yash Raj Films is now
joined by of course Dharma
Productions (of Karan Johar fame),
but to make my point, the early
Yash Raj romances too did not
fling morsels of beautiful,perfect
or everlasting love at us hapless
children then. The films I have in
mind are Kabhi Kabhi, Silsilla and
the works. I agree pristine, pure
love has been a Hindi film
trademark irrespective of banners
or directors, so I take that
alllegation against the Yash Raj
banner back.

This love bug (in the newest
incarnation) started with Yash
Chopra's,Lamhe, which we all
unreservedly admired for its
boldness. After that came the
fateful Chandni or did it come
before. Yash Chopra's early
tendency was to follow his big
unsuccessful(at the box office)
love stories with feuding families
and multi-starrers. The success of
Aditya Chopra's,"Dilwale Dulhaniya
Le Jayenge" sealed that deviant
tendency of the senior Chopra.

Love was the commodity he was
going to market and diligently
over the years. Darr in this context was a anamoly. It doesnt fit in with the pattern I outline above. So with this important piece of information, it would be
definately better to situate the
turn about with Aditya Chopra's
regressive (Western modernity
seeped in Indian tradition:value
arrogance/better than the west)
DDLJ. Yash Raj films produced
films over the years centered on
various permutations and
combinations of pristine love gone
awry with supernatural,personal,situational
and even national (Veer Zara)
temporal and spatial contexts.

Given such an imaginative preamble
that the banner imbibed post-DDLJ,
the results were soft or hard
plagiarism (Hum Tum) and trite and
retreating (Mohabbatain). The
signals emanating from the banner
were never exicting or path
breaking. To draw my huge point to
a close, what else can we expect
when love remains a dominant
variable dependent on turns in the
market and the creativity of the
respective scriptwriters with the
agenda to merely churn another and
varied love story out of their
brushes or keyboard keys!

The second point which I found
very exicting in your review was
categorising Aamir Khan's
character as 'emotional' which you
use to explain his dog like
obedience of his Nana-Jaan's
orders as his slavish reactions to
the love of his live. That explains for me both the
'terrorism' angle and the bad
decisions he keeps making. The
writers obviously were not
emphatic enough or the footage was
lost in some edit laboratory.

Kajol, I never did like her or
dislike her either. Dil Se is a
sensitive issue with me and the
intensity that Shah Rukh possessed
and exhibited in that film is
something I throughly identified
with. I would disagree with Kajol
being the girl in Dil Se, maybe
because I had this awe some crush
on Manisha Koirala, owing largely
to her origins and romanticisation
in Mani Ratnam films and not to
mention physical attributes and
her ability to speak her mind in a
industry packed with double
speaking, networked women who are
largely successful due to their
manipulations.

The comparison of Fanna and Dil Se
should start and end her in their
'terrorism' angle. Dil Se was
breathtakingly the visually most
opulent film, I have seen to date,
its images etched in my mind for
post card memories of a love as
intense and as fated. The music of
Dil Se, the flippant nature of
Shah Rukh's intense feelings, the
most beautiful way in Delhi was
captured on screen, the haunting
strains of, "Ae Ajnabi...."!

I would also love to write the
obituary of Aditya Chopra's
directorial talents!

Post Script: I hope you are not writing anonymous comments on your own blog.

Abhigyan said...

No anonymous comments on my own blogsite for me.. Dear Anon, would love it if you reveal yourself, maybe I can learn as a beginner from you (though it is hard for me to imagine or brand myself as an expert on whatever all I hold court on).

I think the expectation was not from yashraj banner, but from Aamir and the RDB-effect as I have mentioned....I will definitely write on DDLJ once..nothing regressive about it..in fact a very intestring take would have been a Kundan Shah sort of ending, where Amrish Puri doesn't let Kajol go...I agree but abt the stupidity of all Yashraj films subsequent to that, including regressive Mohabattein and Veer-Zaara...

I somehow identified with Aamir's character in Raja Hindustani more...the sheer emotional vulnerability of the man there to be taken for a ride by all....here it lays dormant because of the direction, not necessarily for the script (though would the script-writer have imagined this angle???)

the most intense romance i have seen recently is Shiney Ahuja's in Hazaar Khwaishein....and that movie still remains my favourite for the new century so far...

anyways, i loved Dil Se for its sheer music, not AR Rahman's but the way Mani Ratnam had conceptualised it..all the other angles, the romanticism, the visual effects, the performances and the actual music score flowed out of that possible...terrorism was just a political backdrop for two people's junoon for each other (more SRK's)...the similarity with Fanaa is the terrorist's fluctuation between personal love and his ideology...in Dil Se, Maneesha's ideology looks wrong because of the pan-Indian nature of terrorism (north-east, ladakh, all jumbled up)..in Fanna that bit was clear, but the entire ideology of Aamir was in a vaccuum..

anyways Dil Se flopped, and I think Fanaa is on its way to being a box-office success..the only positive out of this fact, now even married actresses with kids can pull in the crowds..maybe that's revolutionary enough.

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