Sunday, May 28, 2006

FANAA (Hindi; 2006)

Films like Fanaa remind me that I can be too harsh on the politics of a film like Rang de Basanti.  Because nothing in the latter film matches the silliness, not to mention the sheer dishonesty, of what Yashraj manage with Fanaa.  Consider:  the Kasmiri separatist group at the core of terrorism in the film apparently targets both Pakistan and India with equal abandon and vehemence.  No matter that a Kasmiri separatist group has never been linked to any terrorist act against Pakistan that I can think of.  No matter that no Kasmiri separatist group has ever even advocated violence against Pakistan.  Heck, there's no intellectual disgrace in advocating a view that ethnic separatism poses a long term threat to the viability and stability of both India and Pakistan; except that one suspects Yashraj don't believe any such thing, but simply wish to pander to their overseas audience, while also seeking to avoid alienating their multiplex core audience at home by pretending to be advocates of modern, progressive politics.

Perhaps it is the silliness of the notion of politics in Fanaa that actually rescues it.  Because so silly is the notion that one is almost tempted to say it is Silly.  That it is the ne plus ultra of Silliness.  I mean Lewis Carroll, Mad Hatter teaparty like silly (except that teaparty was funny).  In any event, Silly enough that one chides oneself for even taking it seriously enough to critique it.

Now for the good stuff: Aamir Khan is stupendous in the film.  I think vis-a-vis an outright commercial film, this is his most authoritative performance, and he plays the guide, the lover, and the terrorist with equal elan.  I don't think he has ever been as convincing in action sequences as he is in this film.

His act as the guide deserves a special mention-- because Aamir Khan doesn't play him straight, but as smarmy, unctuous chichora, that is to say, exactly right (though this does raise the question of what Kajol's character sees in him to begin with).  His performance is itself worth the price of admission to this film.  Alas, not much else is.

Aside: Abzee's suggestion -- that the antakshari sequence between Rehan and Zooni is the most memorable one in the film -- is right on the money.  Though the pedant in me cannot resist pointing out that Zooni gets the lyrics for the legendary Aandhi song a tad wrong: it's Teri bhi aankhon mein aansuon ki namee to nahin (not ...kamee to nahin).


Bombay Addict said...

hey - linked you to my blogroll on this trashy movie. Thanks.

Masale.Wallah said...

...though this does raise the question of what Kajol's character sees in him to begin with...

Haven't seen the movie yet, and after reading your review, I think I'll avoid seeing it altogether, but does the fact that Kajol's character is blind have anything to do with, since she can't actually see him, right? So perhaps, she's unaware of his flaws, so to speak?