Monday, August 07, 2006

Fanaa


The quality of Indian movies that tackled romance and patriotism has ranged over a wide spectrum with movies like Roja at one end and movies like Majnu at the other. Fanaa falls somewhere in the middle. Its high-wattage, charismatic stars manage to elevate the weak romance to an entertaining level but even they cannot make us overlook the outrageousness of the patriotism/terrorism aspects of the film.

Fanaa has a poetic love story in the literal sense of the phrase since Aamir and Kajol develop their romance almost entirely by exchanging couplets! There are one too many of the poems and we frequently wish the two would get back to talking normally (though I have to admit that reading the subtitles could have robbed them of their original charm). The romance itself is completely cinematic and Aamir, as the loveable rogue, and Kajol, as the woman who thinks she has found Mr.Right, pull it off only because of their talent, charisma and chemistry.

Roja worked because Manirathnam never lost sight of the personal aspect of the story. The story moved to Kashmir and brought terrorism into the picture but the question was always whether Arvind Swamy would be reunited with Madhubala. Not whether Kashmir would stay with India. But other films treat the romance and the terrorist angle as 2 different films. And more often than not, the intimate, personal love story and the big, jingoistic patriotic section never jel.

Fanaa does the same mistake. The relationship between Aamir and Kajol is obviously the centerpiece of the film. And with cuteness, strong emotions, passion, betrayal, etc., it has enough strength to carry the entire film. Inspite of this, the terrorism angle is portrayed as if it is part of a James Bond film. The segments are loud, overblown and silly with elements straight out of a 80s thriller. So we have a bottle-shaped trigger for a nuclear device that can destroy a city, terrorist meetings, undercover missions and anti-terrorist units. The intensity of the feelings between Aamir and Kajol, as they meet under very different circumstances, is all but lost because of the insipid nature of this track.

Aamir has to be admired for taking on this role. It is not your typical loverboy role and his character has many more shades of gray than I expected. But he has still not given up his image completely and that leads to a weak climax. What could have been a tense climax along the lines of the one in Eye of the Needle is turned into a predictable, lame affair.

15 Comments:

At 3:11 AM, Blogger hosuronline.com said...

Nice review on Fanaa, but little bit late it seems to be. I never seen a Hindi movie but helps me to understand about the Bollywood stories

 
At 3:11 AM, Blogger hosuronline.com said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 4:47 AM, Blogger skanda said...

Amir khan's characterization put me off...i can tbelieve the guy who sings poems can be also a terrorist...

 
At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if only those girls who go sightseeing in Delhi knew what a camera was....

SK

 
At 6:40 AM, Blogger rads said...

My thoughts EXACTLY!
Watched it last evening, and the movie is half its success only coz of the actors. Somehow I felt that neither of the two - patriotism nor romance was fully justified. Could see glimpses of Eye of the needle and James Bond in patches.

 
At 8:05 AM, Anonymous ram said...

am yet to see this movie but i absolutely loved kajol in all the movies that I've seen, including her 10-sec appearance in Kal Ho Na Ho! so, am sure i'll watch this one, sooner or later...

"enna kannu daa idhu" (minsara kanavu!)

 
At 11:21 PM, Blogger Bart said...

Balaji, I would heavily recommend Omkara if you can stand quite a few expletives freely thrown across and strong rural UP hindi being used...
Beautiful adaptation.

 
At 11:35 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

hosur, thanx. i usually wait for the dvd on hindi movies. so my reviews r almost always late :)

skanda, didn't find that so hard to believe. the fact that a blind girl goes off so easily with a tour guide was more difficult to believe!

SK, never thot of that but now that u say it, thats a real big blunder :)

rads, thanx! glad someone else was reminded of 'eye of the needle' too :)

ram, she's pretty much the only reason to watch the movie :)

bart, been reading good things about 'omkara'. defly on my to-see list :)

 
At 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

BB..the movie is filled with so many loop-holes it is not even funny.

*Spoiler alert*

- A blind Kajol leaves home for the first time, falls in love with Aamir, gets permission from her parents to marry someone that they have never seen, gets an eye operation..within a week. Oh wait, she also gets pregnant!
- I cant believe the Indian Army does not have a photo of one of its soldiers and have to rely on a sketch artist!!
- For the magnitude of threat that Tabu claims, it sure takes a long time for her to get to where Aamir is!

And why do most of our directors insist on giving kids ridiculous dialogs that they sound annoying?

SK

 
At 9:04 AM, Anonymous ram said...

SK, elaa padamum Roja madhiri aayda mudiuma! Not that Roja didnt have any logical flaws or plausibility issues but the presentation and the firm grip that Mani had on the drama made us look past everything else...I remember standing up from my seat in the theater and clapping when Aravind Swamy hugs Madhubala and says, "Pattikaadu!" in the climax...adhu oru azhagiya nilaa kaalam!

 
At 8:20 PM, Blogger Babs said...

Balaji n Rads,

Ahh thats y I felt the second half sounds fimiliar, didn't watch the movie "Eye of the Needle" but read the book. Ken Follet will cry if he learns that bollywood plagiarised his novel like this, such waste of time watching. This review is funny and correct :-)

ps: btw that novel was my first one and had to read it with UK map next to me ...lol

 
At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is 'gel' not 'jel'.

 
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