Monday, May 29, 2006

FANAA movie review by IndiaFM

The industry has been thirsting
for a good film that works at the box-office as well. With a majority of Hindi
films sinking faster than Titanic, all hopes are pinned on the first big release
this summer: FANAA. Quite naturally, the expectations are humungous and there're
two vital reasons for it: Yash Raj and the principal star cast.

A Yash Raj film is special. The illustrious banner has cemented its position as
the Numero Uno production house by churning out memorable films and successfully
transporting us to a world of make-believe in those three hours, over the years.
And if the avant-garde production house teams Aamir Khan and Kajol -- two of the
finest talents of Indian cinema -- together for the first time, you expect
nothing short of a landmark film.

Now to the question every avid moviegoer is curious to ask: Does FANAA work?
Does this much-hyped film live up to the colossal expectations? Is it worth the
price of the ticket?

FANAA is one of the finest products to come out of Yash Raj. In fact, it
wouldn't be erroneous to state that it's one of the most accomplished products
to hit the Indian screens in a long, long time. The film works on every level:
script, music, visuals, technique and yes, the performances.

It would be gross injustice if one overlooks the contribution from the captain
of the ship: Kunal Kohli. While Kohli showed a meteoric rise as a teller of
tales in HUM TUM, he establishes himself as a master storyteller with FANAA.
Kohli catches you by your finger, introduces you to Rehan and Zooni, makes you
peep into their lives and also the varied emotions they experience -- from joy,
elation, euphoria and contentment to grief, distress, sorrow and anguish. And at
the end of the day, the proficient craftsman narrates a story that leaves you
with a tear in your eye and a smile on your face.

In short, FANAA is not just worth the price of the ticket, but also the price of
the samosas, popcorn, sandwiches and soft drinks that you stock up in your lap
while watching the film. In short, FANAA is an experience to cherish!

Choices... to choose between
right or wrong is simple, but what defines one's life is the decision between
the greater of two goods or the lesser of two evils. This is the advice that
Zooni [Kajol], a blind Kashmiri girl, receives from her father [Rishi Kapoor]
just as she is about to venture into the world on her own for the very first
time. Little does she know that these very words will shape her life.

Zooni meets Rehan [Aamir Khan], a local tour guide and an incorrigible flirt,
who goes from city to city exploring their architecture as also the women. Her
friends warn her against this good-for-nothing roadside Romeo, but she chooses
to ignore them. She is not the one to be protected. It is now her time to
discover life and love.

Rehan is fascinated by Zooni. He truly wants her to see life as it should be
seen, in its many colors -- and he promises her, the time spent with him will be
the most precious in all her life. Zooni sees Delhi, life and love like she
never has before, because of Rehan.

What Zooni doesn't know is that there's more to Rehan, the other dark side of
his life that he has kept away from her… something that cannot only change her
life, but also destroy it.

Originality is a prized commodity
because there is so little of it in Bollywood these days. Of late, critics [and
non-critics, for that matter] are fond of complaining about how cineplexes are
populated by motion pictures that follow safe, formula-derived patterns,
designed to please audiences who want a different version of a story they have
already seen dozens of times. While there's some truth to the maxim that
'There's nothing new under the sun,' FANAA is an exception.

The initial portions of FANAA may give an impression that it's one of those
archetypal Hindi films that follow the similar route of boy meets girl, romance
blossoms, song-n-dance routine…, but there's more to it as it unfolds. The
terrorism aspect, the emotional moments in the post-interval portions and the
climax specifically hits you like a thunderbolt. FANAA is powerful and
disturbing stuff. It is not for those who strongly believe in fairy tale
endings. While hearts and flowers are great for a fantasy, this is the kind of
expression of emotion that touches a deeper chord.

Any blemishes? The length and the pacing. Most of the times, three hour movies
have a few flat spots and FANAA is no exception. The film tends to get very
lengthy and also, the narrative tends to get very slow towards the second half.
Slight trimming would help tremendously.

The writing [screenplay: Shibani Bathija] pushes the envelope, taking us in new
and unexpected directions. Every time you thought you recognized where the story
was headed, the movie surprises you. Cinematically speaking, this is a
well-balanced, multi-course meal. Dialogues [Kunal Kohli] are excellent,
specially the shayari throughout the movie. FANAA is gorgeously composed and
photographed by cinematographer Ravi K. Chandran. The locales of New Delhi and
Poland enhance the visual impact.

Music [Jatin-Lalit] is pleasing
to the ears. 'Chand Sifarish' and 'Mere Haath Mein' are two melodious gems. 'Chanda
Chamke' [the tongue twister] appeals because it comes at a time when you yearn
for some relief. The action scenes [George Aguilar>
], in minimal doses, are kinetic and exciting. Background score [Salim-Sulaiman]
is topnotch. The sound quality [Dileep Subramaniam] is excellent. Visual effects
[Tata Elxsi] could've been better, especially the blasts of the helicopters.

The acting is of the highest caliber. In fact, most performances in the
enterprise are perfect -- no hints of artifice or fakery. Yet, there's little
doubt that one of the assets of the film is the chemistry between the lead pair.
For Aamir, FANAA is another opportunity to broaden his range. He successfully
buries his personality beneath Rehan's, allowing the character to come to the
fore. The ferocity with which Aamir delivers his lines and the restless energy
he imparts to his character, electrifies every scene that he's in.

It's an altogether different experience watching Kajol after a hiatus. It is her
complex work, depicting a woman torn by love for and fear of the same man, that
elevates the film to a higher level. Without doubt, FANAA ranks amongst her
strongest works. Her performance only makes you realize why she's still the best
in the business. Moreover, she looks gorgeous all through!

Rishi Kapoor is efficient. Kiron Kher is lovable. Tabu gets limited footage;
she's just okay. Shiney Ahuja is wasted in an inconsequential role. Ditto for
Lara Dutta, who is there for just one scene. Shruti Seth is excellent as Kajol's
friend. Satish Shah, Sharat Saxena, Lilette Dubey, Jaspal Bhatti and Vrajesh
Hirjee are effective. The child artist is fantastic.

On the whole, FANAA is a
beautifully written, effectively acted and meticulously crafted effort that is
likely to remind many viewers of a simple axiom: A movie doesn't have to be
groundbreaking to be compelling. At the box-office, the film has already
embarked on a record-breaking start and thanks to [i] the massive print count,
[ii] the 12-14-16 shows being performed at movieplexes every single day and
[iii] the inflated ticket rates will yield rich dividends in days to come. The
first weekend business will be historic, the first week billing will be
unprecedented and in the wake of no major oppositions for the next two weeks,
FANAA will attain the 'Hit' status in a matter of days. In short, FANAA is yet
another landmark film in the remarkable and enviable repertoire of Yash Raj.

IndiaFM Rating - **** (4/5)

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