The last few years have been hard for Shahrukh Khan fans, a string of subpar movies, fake looking 6, 8 & 10 packs, oiled up skin and terrible plot lines- easy to lose the stars in their eyes!
But back from the ashes, rises Gaurav Chandna- a die hard fan of Aryan Khanna, an ageing superstar.
SRK essays both roles, but it is the portrayal of Gaurav Chandna that brings back memories of the good old days- shades of Darr, Baazigar, DDLJ and others. The prosthetics are convincing, especially the angular cheek bones and the puffy hair and “hero type” clothes.
And SRK nails the strutty walk and attitude, so familiar in the loafer types of Delhi are all done to perfection.
The street lingo of the lower middle class Delhi boy is faultless and the attitude of the lower middle class parents, upset at their son’s obsession with a star, but supporting him with props for “culony” functions is so real, bringing back memories of many such annual talent shows! SRK brings something to this role, that not many of his peers can do, make them forget he is a STAR!
The director Maneesh Sharma’s use of Delhi is spectacular, without the panoramic shots of Red fort, India Gate or Delhi Metro- he conveys the essence of Delhi with the narrow streets of West Delhi, the strung up lights, the chaat stalls and the uncles and aunties.
The decaying DDA colonies are a perfect backdrop for a young man, obsessed with Aryan Khan.
And as a superstar, SRK does what he’s best at- being a star, the giant ego, the nonchalant disrespect for authority and the lazy acceptance of his status are really spot on. And the behind the scenes glimpse of how stars perform on demand and have to take abuse from their patrons is illuminating. As is the fickleness of fans, who are happy to idolise and then reject without giving the star a chance to prove his culpability.
The story line in Delhi is executed faultlessly, the use of original footage is skillful and builds the pace. The screenplay is tight and the camera work in the narrow streets and mela’s in Delhi is fantastic.
Maneesh Sharma however, gets carried away, the story moves to Bombay and just loses steam- the whole sequence with Sid, is overdone and implausible.
Then the story moves overseas, the imposter ruining a star’s life is a tad hard to believe and the final showdown is just too fantasy laden. One just cannot imagine a superstar running around terraces, beating up a young man and the long monologue telling him to buck up and get better is overdone! The editing is tight overall, with the story moving well, but like most Indian directors, Maneesh too dwells on some good scenes for a touch longer than needed. But one good thing is that he managed to pull together a movie, without a romantic or sentimental angle shoe-horned into the story line! Such a pleasant respite!
But overall the movie lives up to its thriller tagline, well executed and without the need for an item number!
SRK as a 25 year old is great, but as himself he is still the King of Bollywood!