Bangalore Film Society

Fanaa is really made to challenge your tolerance. How long will we keep digesting the same difficult-to-digest pill of badly done concoctions that Bollywood assumes we will accept without the slightest hesitation? There are reasons I wanted to see this film. I Had hoped that finally Yash raj is trying something new, more so because it had roped in Aamir Khan for the first time for a film under their production. I would really have loved to contradict myself and see my predictions about the film being nothing new going wrong, but alas! Recently, seeing the state of some of the upcoming mainstream products, I was mulling whether we are moving ahead or a step backwards in terms of evolution of cinema. Seeing Fanaa today makes me reaffirm my disgust at the contemporary mainstream Indian cinema. There are reasons for that and they are plenty. I really do not know if makes sense to even state the umpteen flaws with the film. But what worries me more than the oft repeated formula film is the kind of names associated and resources used for making these films. And my mind fails to understand how could people who have shown decent level of cinema(the tech crew on the film) sensibilities could go the mediocre way and embarrass the ones who swear by their earlier creative flight. To call Fanaa clichéd or stereotypical would be an understatement. As everyone walked out of the film, there was this common emotion on relief that finally the over 3 hours tirade ended, which just goes to show how skewed are our so called film analysts are who laud or write films off at their own will or financial motives/vested interests. Taran Adarsh, a fairly average market analyst and film critic called the film a “welcome event in the spate of films releasing this year, and a film that would end the drought of flops this season” and that was no mere speculation mind you, it was stated after the film was released. And when I revisited his analysis today when it’s been a week since its release, he has presented a day-by-day analysis of the film’s rising business, which if I am correct, he has not done for any film till date. This just goes to show the hollowness of the claims made by the so called film pundits that make or mar the fate of any film. It is an absolute pain to see Aamir going back to his Mela days (well not so bad also!) and agree to do such a commercially workable cinema. Moreover, seeing this after fairly decent work in Mangal Pandey and Rang De Basanti is a slap on the face of his fans who swear by his sensible choice and selections of films. How one wishes he would have better stayed off from the Yashraj Banner and continued taking his “non-conformist” risks.

About the film’s flaws, there is everything that you could predict in a love story set amidst terrorism- discourses by self appointed Kashmiri spokesmen on India and Pakistan, a song sequence done over-pretentiously to please national sentiments(done imaginatively by a group of Kashmiri college girls on the eve of Republic Day at Delhi’s Janpath(wow how innovative! And Kajol calling it the day India was formed! Downright disrespecting), oft repeated depictions of ultra hi-fi CIAesque anti-terrorist cells(I will die if I see these things in another film!) , a wasted Tabu and Shiney Ahuja , lack of a consistently good music score and shockingly low-grade background score(Salim-Sulaiman), extensive sequences shot in Swiss Alps trying to fool you for Kashmir forced dreamy song sequences where all the scars disappear from the hero’s face the minute the camera moves from a real locale to a dumb-studio replication of Kashmir….there is no end to the flaws in this film ' one just needs an average recall capacity, and even if you slept through half the film, which is highly recommended and predictable you would tell at least five things that you hated and went back to a far better experience in your sleep.

I do not know where is this film “working” as the critics are claiming? In the 300 odd people I saw seeing the film, there was hardly one happy and satisfied face, all everyone had was a “flop” certificate ready to hand over for the film.

The audience is not stupid, Mr Film maker. If you think making the concoction of love and terrorism is anybody’s cuppa, think again. People like Maniratnam have burnt their fingers trying to do it. And for the ones who still believe they can make the cash registers go ringing by exploiting the themes of patriotism, WAKE UP! And please think again before attempt a similar daredevilry in the future. There is no dearth of scripts, see a lesser known but brilliant film called Yahaan, and learn how things could be done in a real way for a change. A word for the director. The next time you go on your cross-Indian road trips, please spend a little time reading those awesome couplets at the back of trucks, they might inspire you to write better urdu Sher’s than the cheesy ones you have incessantly churned for the film (phool hai gulab ka et al). I read somewhere that Kunal Kohli is planning to take a break from Direction and become a Producer. PLEASE DO SO AT THE EARLIEST! Finally, a look at the good parts of the film-a few impressive post-interval sequences with a much under-played Aamir(who amidst all the mediocrity manages to pitch in another nice performance which obviously goes futile), a flawed Hindi film male lead who confesses openly he doesn’t give a dodo’s posterior about love and emotions which comes across as quite a rarity in Hindi films, a rather fresh first half hour in the film, well shot sequences by Ravi K. Chandran(who has this knack for doing path breaking brilliant work in mediocre overall products a la Black) and Rishi Kapoor’s inspired portrayal. Go see it, if you want to test your patience of sitting through another heady mix of criminal assault done in the name of creativity and formula.