Cast: Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Rajkummar Rao, Pihu Sand
Direction: Atul Manjrekar
‘Fanney Khan’ is a well-intentioned film but it fails to strike the right chords. Director Atul Manjrekar makes a sincere effort but there is too much melodrama and the humour often falls flat.
Prashant Sharma aka Fanney Khan, played by Anil Kapoor, is a small-time musician who wants his teenage daughter to become a famous singer. The daughter, Lata Sharma, often gets ridiculed for being overweight but the over-ambitious father believes that if she gets just one chance, her true talent will be recognised.
When all his efforts fail, Fanney decides to kidnap popular singer Baby Singh (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) to fund his impossible dreams of making his daughter a singing sensation. Essentially a simpleton, Fanney decides to ask his trusted friend, Adhir (Rajkummar Rao), to help him in this quixotic endeavor.
From the word go – ‘Fanney Khan’ misses many a beat – the audience never really gets an insight into this ‘incredible’ talent that her parents believe their daughter is. Also, to root for an unlikely candidate, you really need to like the character. Lata, as the disgruntled daughter, doesn’t really make it very easy for us to like her. She’s always snapping at her parents, her struggle or ambition isn’t really palpable. Most of the time, she’s watching Baby Singh on television and making unreasonable demands on her parents to pay for her garish costumes. She seems unhappy even when her father is indulgent of all her demands that are almost impossible for him to fulfill.
I can’t help but compare this film to ‘Secret Superstar’ (2017) and how our heart went out to Zaira Wasim’s character who had the odds stacked against her but still, found a way to make her dreams a reality.
Director Atul Manjrekar’s narrative progresses at a tedious pace and post interval he just seems to lose the thread. At first, they want a ransom to fund their daughter’s album but later on, the story goes off on a complete tangent. A timid odd-job man seems to have no fear of the consequences of his actions or the effect that it might have on his daughter’s fledgling career.
It doesn’t help that none of the characters really give you a performance that’s worth talking about. For a film that is about music and an upcoming singer, the songs are really not worth discussing. The only respite is Rajkummar Rao, who is spontaneous and gives us the few genuine laughs.
‘Fanney Khan’ could have been a strong commentary against body-shaming or a gritty tale of how real talent triumphs all odds. Alas, even the dependable Anil Kapoor fails to give us a jhakkas performance.