Not ‘pitch’ perfect

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 04 Aug 2018 12:25:12



Fanney Khan 

By Aasawari Shenolikar

“Music, these days, is about being seen. It’s all about styling,” reacts Lata (Pihu Sand), a teenager who wants to make a name in the world of singing. Time and again she has to deal with abuses hurled at her about her physical appearance, cementing her belief that no one is really interested in her singing prowess. What could have been a strong statement about body shaming and woman empowerment becomes a sham, thusreflecting Atul Manjrekar’s sub standard writing and an equally shoddy attempt at directing a supremely talented team of actors.

For a film that has music at its very core, the music should have really been ‘the’ strong point. But when you leave the theatre you are humming the evergreen Badan Pe Sitaron sung this time by Sonu Nigam for and lipsynched by Fanney Khan aka Prashant Sharma (Anil Kapoor), then this speaks volumes about the quality of music that the musical includes. A musical is also supposed to let the songs and music take the narrative forward and be an integral part of the plot. In Fanney Khan, a movie that revolves the dream of a father in making his daughter a singing superstar, significance of the main element - music - is completely disregarded. Barring the song in the climax Tere Jaise Tu Hai, not a single song impresses.

Like most Indian parents who live their dream through their children and try to provide them with the best possible means to them to achieve success, Prashant Sharma, a middle class man, living in a chawl and working in factory, has a passion for singing, loves Mohd Rafi and Shammi Kapoor and is the rock star of his chawl. He nurses a dream of seeing his daughter Lata rule the stage. Unfortunately she faces flak everywhere and her disappointment and anger at the treatment being meted out to her provokes Prashant to do the unthinkable. He abducts the singing sensation Baby Singh (AishwaryaRaiBachchan) and along with his friend Adhir (RajkumarRao), holds her captive in his factory that has closed down. The hostage wants but one thing - that of giving Lata a proper break. Baby’s sleazy manager Kakkad (Girish Kulkarni), while promising to give Lata the required stage, manages to turn the whole drama to his advantage, so that he can derive maximum benefit for Baby Singh from this abduction, which in turn would translate into her albums selling like hot cakes.

While Kavita (DivyaDutta), Lata’s mother is practical, Prashant is a dreamer. Lata, on the other hand, is rebellious, doesn’t care about the sacrifices made by her father, and is totally churlish in her behaviour. But she does get her moment in the sun, and that is the only time in this whole movie when a lump forms in your throat. A big credit for this goes to the supremely talented Anil Kapoor who is simply luminous in the climax, watching her daughter perform on stage.

There is nothing pulsating about Fanney Khan, a film that hinges on following a dream. It’s drab and plods along without any energy. And in the climax, suddenly it is infused with forced cringe worthy melodrama. There is not a moving moment between the father and the daughter. The abducted singer, tied up in a shoddy canteen with no amenities, manages to keep her make up perfect, down to the heavily lashed eyes and the bouncy curls, not to mention the designer clothes and the blingy shoes. Adhir whips up for her ‘world’s best noodles’, and slowly the attraction between them increases. But Ash is too icy for Rajkumar Rao to woo. (Watch him in Citylights with Patralekha and you realise his immense potential to adore a beloved.)

Anil Kapoor delivers a crackling performance as a father who believes that there is nothing wrong in dreaming big, and working towards achieving that dream. But then that is what doesn’t across in the film - the hard work, if any being put in by Lata is not even hinted at even once. The focus is on Lata humiliating her father for no rhyme or reason. That is definitely a jarring note. But all said and done, Pihu makes an impressive debut. Another talent RajkumarRao is let down by a weak script and a character that has no meat. His chemistry with Aishwarya doesn’t make your hearts thump. Barring a scene or two, it doesn’t even fit in the ‘cute’ category. Aishwarya dazzles you with her beauty, but not with her acting ability. She is way too plastic to be warm and genuine. Even her smile is fake and doesn’t reach her eyes.

In the end, while movies with similar themes - of parents trying to live their dreams through their offsprings - focus equally on the offsprings (a recent example being Dangal), Fanney Khan is more about Prashant Sharma and not Lata Sharma. Atul Manjrekar’s intention was good - superficially hi sahi, he touched upon the reigning raging issue of body shaming, but he doesn’t pass with flying colours in the execution of the said purpose.

One of the redeeming factors, and a very pleasant surprise was watching my Godson Akshay Nayyar shake a leg with Aishwarya Rai and later seeing his name being flashed as Assistant Director as the credits rolled by. On the whole Fanney Khan’s notes do not leave a sweet taste.

The Hitavada Rating: O O