Director: Atul Manjrekar
Cast: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Anil Kapoor, Rajkumar Rao
Rating: *** 1/2
Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra’s Fanney Khan, which is based on Dominique Derrudere’s Belgian film, Everybody’s Famous, holds a lot of promise as it speaks of the hardly explored facet of relationship in Hindi cinema, that of a father and daughter. While we love idolising mothers in Hindi cinema, fathers hardly find a pride of place in a child’s life. Fanney Khan vs Prashant Sharma (Anil Kapoor) is the doting father of his overweight daughter (Pihu Sand), who he is convinced has a huge talent of singing, even though nobody else seems to agree with him.
Fanney himself is a singer, who dreamt of reaching the heights of his idol Mohammad Rafi, but couldn’t. As most Indian parents do, he decides to realise his ambitions through his child, and even names her Lata inspired by the legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar. The daughter grows up to be a decent singer, but she’s also overweight and not really stage friendly in a world full of emancipated, glamorous singers. Lata seems to stand no chance in reaching the peak that her father has dreamt for her, because no one, not even her mother (Divya Dutta) is convinced that she’s talented.
She idolises the sexy singer Baby Singh (Aishwarya Rai), but can’t even dream of being someone like her, thanks to the body shaming that she’s been subjected to over the years. She hates her father for burdening her with his ambitions and frustrated with the lack of support that she gets from others. That’s when Fanney Khan decides to do something drastic to change his daughter’s fate and he seeks the support of his good friend Adheer (Raj Kumar Rao) to help him.
The story-line is mighty interesting as you get involved in Fanney Khan’s life from the word go. Part thanks to the direction and part thanks to Kapoor’s performance, you get sucked into his ordinary life and extra ordinary dream as he reveals his only passion in life; to make sure that his daughter Lata’s voice reaches millions. The director, Atul Manjrekar, has successfully managed to create the lower middle class life of Fanney Khan who lives in a chawl and works at a factory, thus giving us the clear sense of Fanney Khan’s lower middle class, rather monotonous life and also his never-say-die spirit which keeps him above it all.
Anil Kapoor is the perfect fit to play Fanney Khan, a man who hangs on to his indomitable spirit, in spite of the frustrating circumstances and his own daughter brushing him off as a loser. Kapoor bites into the role with a flourish. Giving him good support is Raj Kumar Rao. In fact, some scenes with these two powerhouses of talent in one frame are pure delight. Young Pihu Sand makes a fantastic, uninhibited debut. She’s easy on the eye and her easy charm wins hearts. Aishwarya as a glam star gives good support. The first half keeps you engrossed, but the story somewhat loses its steam in the second half. The climax is far fetched and seems too convenient.
The music by Amit Trivedi gives you some nice foot tapping numbers. The spirited song at the climax, sung by Monali Thakur lifts the film to another level. Watch this film for Anil Kapoor and also because it comes with a valuable message, accept yourself and accept others, and don’t judge by outer appearances.