He gets into a vibrantly electrifying jig and croons the iconic Rafi Sahab’s Badan Pe Sitaare from PRINCE amidst that Jhankar Beats ( if you remember) a couple of decades earlier, the original number composed by Shankar Jaikishan for the 1961 period musical helmed by Lekh Tandon had the irresistible Shammi Kapoor wooing Vyjayanthimala with his trademark moves. After some reels and couple of decades later, the same crooner has the photographs of Shammi kapoor and Mohammad Rafi instead of god in his taxi, he always removes dirt from his trumpet, meet Prashant Sharma (Anil Kapoor) the gali ka ‘Fanney Khan’ who failed to become Mohammad Rafi, but wakes up and sleeps with a dream of seeing his daughter Lata (Pihu Sand) to become the Lata Mangeshkar of today.
Debutant helmer Atul Manjrekar’s desi adaptation/inspiration of the year 2000 Belgium surprise EVERYBODY'S FAMOUS! (Dutch: Iedereen beroemd!) that was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 73rd Academy Awards, certainly has its heart at the right place if not the entire script.
A modest and sweet musical comedy that delivers a good positive message on following your dreams and good parenting, FANNEY KHAN sees Anil Kapoor shine as bright as the morning sunshine in this film which is a twisty ode to fatherhood as well. Though the team of writers apart from Dominique Deruddere ( the writer of EVERYBODY'S FAMOUS!) - Atul Manjrekar (screenplay), Hussain Dalal, Jasmeet K. Reen (screenplay and dailouge) fail to add any significant novelty to the idea which is a cracker at any time/era.
Prashant Sharma (Anil Kapoor) couldn’t peruse his dreams of becoming a singing sensation like the legendary Rafi Sahab, his daughter Lata (Pihu Sand) is young and overweight; she has a sweet singing voice, but she lacks the oomph to be a performer, a requirement essential nowadays in the music field apart from voice.
The biggest drawback of Lata is that she is not that ‘cool’ in looks, but like every parent his weight doesn,t seem to be a bother for her parents where Divya Dutta plays the mother. Prashant works at a factory and hangs out with his younger BFF Adhir (Rajkummar Rao) who nurses the dreams of his girlfriend played by Swati Semwal who aspires to be an actress.
Unfortunately, one day the factory closes down, people are without job and future. Prashant becomes a cab driver and Adhir does odd jobs. On the other hand, Lata (Pihu Sand) is keen to become a singer, she admires Baby Singh (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) the current hot favorite in the music arena, a deadly mix of music and glamour ala Lady Gaga of India. Prashant also wants to see her daughter sing but he is handicapped by means and sources (money and contacts).
One day fate takes a quirky turn, circumstances lead Baby Singh to leave her car and jump into the taxi driven by Prashant. Prashant kidnaps Baby Singh, keeps her in his factory that has been closed down and even gets his best buddy Adhir to help him in demanding an unusual ransom from Baby Singh’s manager Kakad (Girish Kulkarni).
What happens next is a twisty, heartfelt ode to fatherhood, an adage on following your dreams and a sly comment on the opportunist mindset of celebrity managers, channels etc who want to cash on everything related to a happening/buzzing star.
Atul Manjrekar keeps the mood light and sometimes it becomes too obvious and childish but the moments are sweet at times. It’s the flawless act of Anil Kapoor who infuses all the energy, vibes, emotions, all that is required to clear the myth that ‘Fanney Khan’ is not just a poking comment on somebody who wants to prove himself, Fanney Khan’ is the one who has the capacity to prove himself. Anil Kapoor is just outstanding and an absolute treat to watch. Pihu Sand as the chubby, sweet-voiced Lata is another perfect choice after Anil Kapoor. Pihu is marvelous and delivers her moments with required nuances. Excellent.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan adds the required glam quotient and she is the ideal choice, but she doesn,t get much from the script and is restricted to her goody goody moments with Rajkummar Rao.
Rajkummar Rao delivers in whatever scope he gets and is endearing as the innocent kind hearted guy who can go at any lengths to help his best friend. Divya Dutta gets her moments during the end reels and she excels.
Production values are rich. Tirru’s cinematography is a delightfully colourful. Editing by Monisha R Baldawa is fine. Amit Trivedi’s music is a letdown.
FANNEY KHAN could have been a terrific comment on price people pay to become a star and the price people pay to manage their stardom plus an attack on the ‘reality’ of reality shows could have been done, provided the writers and the director had realized the tremendous potential of the premise. The movie just gives a hint at these and is contained with the melodrama surrounding a father and daughter that anyhow pushes the envelope on pursuing your dreams and never saying no to your ‘sapney’.
Going with a modest three for this sweet little reminder that having dreams is a ‘cool’ thing and fatherhood is a boon respect it.