I went into ‘Fan’ with a great deal of trepidation, wondering how Maneesh Sharma’s new film would play out: a Bollywood superstar playing a Bollywood superstar AND his biggest fan could either be a multi-layered meta delight, or just plain icky.
I am happy to report that ‘Fan’ is a triumph. Shah Rukh Khan is played to all his strengths, and he plays it just right, gliding in and out of the star and the fan, creating distinct identities and outlines in one scene, and blurring the lines just so in the next. It is a wonderful, grasping, knowing performance, the actor and the star all rolled in one, all at our service, even as they service Shah Rukh Khan’s stratospheric stardom.
But, and this is the thing, the film does not simper or slobber. It is not in thrall to its star, even when it recognizes his stardom. It goes at itself with with a raised devil’s eyebrow (just like SRK’s) and a nod and a wink, and brings us in on the joke. And Shah Rukh Khan keeps pace with us, all the way.
SRK returns with a double role on screen after a long time. He plays the role of Gaurav a die-hard fan of superstar Aryan Khanna in the film. Both the roles have been essayed by SRK himself. Indian Express critic Shubhra Gupta has lauded SRK for his performance.
Fan, if one looked closely, is a film where Shah Rukh Khan — the man who taught Bollywood to sell anything and everything from washing detergents to luxury watches – is the sum of all the parts he has played so far in his 25-year-long career.