There’s a father, who has dreams for his daughter; there’s an overweight teenage girl, who is constantly body shamed wherever she goes; there’s a singing diva, who gets kidnapped and there’s an all-season friend, who does whatever it takes to help his chum. This possibly sums up the story of Atul Manjrekar’s ‘Fanney Khan’, which is an official remake of Belgian Academy-nominated ‘Everybody’s Famous!’ The musical comedy strikes the right chords at the right places, but that doesn’t last too long and sadly the melodramatic film begins to lose steam.
Prashant Sharma (Anil Kapoor) is a vivacious middle-class man, who plays in a local orchestra and is everyone’s favourite, earning the nickname Fanney Khan. He hopes to be Mohammed Rafi some day in life and even idolizes Shammi Kapoor, but his dreams come crashing down each time he tries. His wife Kavita (Divya Dutta) gives birth to a baby girl, who he names Lata, hoping his daughter would someday sing as beautifully as Lata Mangeshkar and become as popular as the veteran vocalist.
When the days for his orchestra are almost over, Prashant starts a new job at a factory, which again, does not last long as its shuts down. He then turns to taxi-driving to make ends meet and keep his dream alive of making his daughter famous. But to his dismay, Lata (Pihu Sand), now a plus-sized teenager, is an avid fan of singing sensation Baby Singh aka Sumitra (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan). She tries to emulate Baby at her singing gigs, which she appears for at reality show auditions and several local performances. But Lata is booed and ridiculed for her enormous size, every time she gets on stage.
Prashant decides it’s time to be a hero for his daughter and hopes to cut an album for the girl, who might get noticed by those who matter, struggling hard to gather all the resources necessary. Once when Baby hails his cab, he spikes her water and drives off with her, holding her ransom in an abandoned factory, so that his aspirations for his daughter’s career might get a quick boost with the money he’d receive in return. He, along with his trusted friend Adhir (Rajkummar Rao), put the plan in motion and keeps Baby captive until funds are raised for the album. But things are not as easy as they had planned it to be.
‘Fanney Khan’ has its fair share of plusses and minuses, with minuses a bit on the higher side. First off, the film deals with the singing world and is touted as a musical, but the songs and the music are not in sync with the theme. Not one track manages to leave a lasting impression. Secondly, the chemistry between Rao and Bachchan, which was supposed to be crackling, turns out to be a damp squib. Their supposed-romantic scenes seem forced. Some comedy scenes fall flat and are not spot-on. Also, the film keeps reminding you of ‘Dangal’ and ‘Secret Superstar’ every now and then, which does not work in its favour.
On the bright side however, Manjrekar has managed to bring out some lovely performances from his actors. Anil Kapoor never goes out of style and he shines throughout the film. Be it the role of a young orchestra singer or the middle-aged father of a troubled teenager, who doesn’t mind going on the wrong side of the law for his daughter; Kapoor slips into each character with ease. He evokes laughter and also tears. Divya Dutta plays a restrained wife and concerned mother to perfection. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan ups the glam quotient and that is about it for her in the film. She doesn’t have much scope neither does she put up a great show. Rajkummar Rao is in his element and delivers a dramatic performance despite not having enough meat in his role. Debutante Pihu Sand is effective and acts her part. She is a natural in front of the camera and oozes charm in her acting and dancing department. The second half is a little stretched but is high on emotion and the actors give it their all.
All in all, ‘Fanney Khan’ might not pull in hordes of audiences but it will still manage to entertain over the weekend. There’s nothing extra-ordinary about the movie. Strictly, it’s a one-time watch.
Eventznu Rating: * *