Atul Manjrekar’s “Fanney Khan” is a part-comedy, part-sentimental tale about a doting father who is willing to go to any lengths to further his daughter’s career.
Prashant Kumar (Anil Kapoor) is a small-time factory worker who wants to see his failed dream of becoming a singer fulfilled by his daughter Lata.
Lata (Pihu Sand) is a good singer, but is overweight, spoilt and completely disdainful of her father’s efforts. She idolises Baby Singh (Aishwarya Rai), the glamorous pop singer and national phenomenon. But Lata is more enamored by Baby’s glitzy clothes than her voice.
When Prashant loses his job at the factory and Lata is nowhere close to getting a break in the singing world, all their dreams seem to have fallen apart.
But a chance encounter with Baby presents Prashant with an opportunity to get his dreams back on track. He kidnaps the singer for ransom with the help of his friend Adhir (Rajkummar Rao).
Baby’s cunning manager Kakkar (Girish Kulkarni) sees this an opportunity to further his own interests, and it all ends in a contrived climax involving a reality TV show, flashing cameras and the police.
A remake of the 2000 Belgian film “Everybody’s Famous!”, “Fanney Khan” manages to pull through, not on the strength of the screenplay (Manjrekar and Hussain Dalal), but because of the performances, especially by Anil Kapoor.
The veteran actor looks assured in every scene, even those which seem incredulous, such as him pleading before TV cameras on a reality show. Divya Dutta as his wife is equally affecting, and Rao and Rai seem to enjoy every bit of their cameos, evident from their wonderful comic chemistry. Rai is a wonderful fit as the over-worked, jaded singer who develops the Stockholm Syndrome.
But there are notable flaws. Kulkarni’s character and the evil TV executive he colludes with are jarring, as is Manjrekar’s inability to tie up all the ends neatly without unnecessary melodrama.
If only the director had resisted the urge to insert cliched characters and reduced the run time, “Fanney Khan” would have been an out-and-out winner.
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