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Post Mortem: Why did Fan flop?

First, let’s accept the fact. Fan has flopped.

It might not recover the cost of production from box office ticket sales and might perhaps; ‎stem its losses from other revenue sources like content rights sales.

The only country where the film has worked, is interestingly, in Pakistan.

The overall results of the film are kind of unbelievable for an ardent Shah Rukh Khan fan.FAN

I am sure at Yashraj, everybody will do a bit of post mortem on where the film went wrong. You never know if (director) Maneesh Sharma is also looking for answers on why such a well-made film – which garnered such rave reviews from the harshest and the most intellectual’ of critics – floundered at the box office. 

Not only did it flounder, it dipped so badly after a great opening that many might find it alarming, because it starred one of the most bankable stars of Bollywood. 

So, why did this disaster happen? 

There are certain things that are starkly visible to the viewers which might not be apparent to the makers. You tend to be blind to a creation if you are the creator. I guess this is what happened in this case.

Here’s my take on the flaws of Fan that have disappointed its viewers. And no, I won’t be talking about release dates and market economy. I am going to concentrate solely on the film’s content. 

Too many changes to the character sketch of Gaurav Chandna

That many creative ‘inputs’ have gone into the script, are evident after a few scenes. Gaurav Chandna is not behaving consistently in the film. His persona changes as the film progresses.

Fan image1For example, he appears very clumsy in the first half of the film and by the second half, he is a super conman who is capable of executing body moves like a James Bond.

The way, Gaurav is fooling entire units of security and scaling walls and jumping into the raging sea, can’t be associated to the Gaurav who can’t even fend off a few goons from his cyber cafe in the first half of the film.

The dialogue delivery of this character is full of inconsistencies. Also, he doesn’t maintain the swagger in his walk.

This list is endless but hopefully, I have made my point. This happens when there’s too much work done on a character’s looks and not how the character is coming out on screen. 

While minute details have been paid to every muscle on Gaurav’s face, we have conveniently forgotten that the character is supposed to behave like a human being. The drastic changes in the character of Gaurav Chandna sticks out like a sore thumb. 

‎Sheer neglect of Aryan Khanna’s character sketch 

While too much attention have been devoted to the look and feel of the character of the fan (Gaurav), too little attention have been paid to the character of the hero (Aryan Khanna).

Somewhere in the middle of the film, Aryan Khanna fully turns into ‎Shah Rukh Khan. Not only does this character inherit the bungalow, awards and brand Shah Rukh Khan, he gradually transforms into Shah Rukh Khan himself. 

Fan imagePeople who have read about Shah Rukh in the film mags will forget that they are watching Aryan Khanna and will start referring the character as SRK. Check the tweets about the film and this becomes starkly evident. 

I am sure that was not the intention. Had that been the case, then Aryan Khanna would have been named Shah Rukh Khan in the film. Since it was not done, we can safely assume that it was meant to be a character which will have little similarities with SRK.

Even SRK has mentioned that in his interviews while he was promoting the film.

Unfortunately, the character spoke, walked and behaved like SRK.

What’s more? The character even mouthed the dialogues what SRK would deliver in real life. For example, what he frequently says about being an essentially Delhi guy when he gets angry. Everybody knows that SRK boasts of the aggressiveness that the city of Delhi has bequeathed to him.

This is the reason, the film was looking like an extended PR exercise of Shah Rukh Khan after a point. This was pointed out by another writer some days back.

I don’t think I need to labour on this point further, anybody who has seen the film will know what I am talking about.

Harsh treatment meted out to a fan

You start the film by showing the fan to be a human being and then you take off on a different tangent by portraying him as an obsessed criminal. People get confused whether they should side with the hero or the villain. Hence, the audience start getting distant.

Now, the hero’s treatment of his fan will gross any fan out.

Let’s replay that particular situation again.

Gaurav assaulted Aryan’s fiercest rival because he couldn’t stand anybody speaking ill of his idol. He also made a video (of the assault) on his phone and anonymously circulated it on social media.

The ‘rival’ hero who got beaten up in his own vanity van kept quiet about it and decided not to go to the police. So, naturally he forgave this obsessed fan of Aryan Khanna.

Now, the fan trusted his hero and privately circulated the behind-the-scenes video to boast of his achievement to his idol. The idol immediately reacted to it adversely because it was ‘wrong’. So, how did he set things right? He got the fan locked up and beaten up mercilessly without a FIR or proper legal procedure. 

On one hand, when the idol lectures him on what is right and what is wrong, on the other, he has no qualms in putting him under illegal detention, manipulating police officers and even going to the extent of getting him tortured inside a lockup!

Now, what was that, Aryan Khanna?

Fam image 4As a hero, you could have lodged a police complaint. How could you let your own fan get beaten up so mercilessly inside a police station? 

You didn’t stop there, dear Aryan Khanna. You boasted about it to the fan (while he was still reeling under acute pain inside the lock-up) and then you asked the police to get the fan on a return train to Delhi.

This will put any fan off.

And to my belief, they were put off when the fan started going from dark to darker territories. 

I fail to understand why didn’t this get modified at the scripting stage.

The hero was shown to be a hero but he was behaving like a villain. The villain was supposed to be a human being but he turned out to be a superhero with some human qualities.

Confused? You bet!

The whole characterization turned out to be chaotic.

I think this happened because a lot of effort went into getting the look of Gaurav right. Surely, it was very important but the over indulgence eclipsed the most important aspect of filmmaking — storytelling.

Somewhere down the line, the script of Fan was not right.

It looked to me as if there were too many changes introduced to it later.

Whether this is true or not, we will never know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

32 replies »

  1. if you put logic like why he had put Gaurav Chandna in the jail where he could have just lodged a complaint and all then all the last 2-3 non sensical SRK movie should miserably fail..Change of character and situation of Aryan Khanna completely portrayed as Sharukh Khan etc are just assumptions..

    This movie just like Swadesh will get its due after all the hardwork of everyone in the movie will go down the drain. From stunts to direction to music ..Everything has been beautifully done and its pretty evident from the movie that everyone has put their best in it..It shocks me actually when I see somebody this old with such bad injuries puts so much of an effort.(Read from your old post only)..

    Sad part is Sharukh will again go back to doing rubbish because he is a complete businessman and he knows until he doesn’t show some moves, put some funny jokes and few stupid scenarios his movies are not going to be a hit..

    Its not that movie has failed miserably its just that it has not crossed the 100-200 or 300 crore mark which anyway such genre movie reach anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • srk is worst over actor of our times……he cant learn after 20 years in industry……HE IS ALWAYS SRK ..NEVER THE CHARACTER…………….initialy he was successful coz he got the roles that suited his personality, manerisms and over acting style…he could only do those kind of roles……………..AFTER THAT HE WAS TOTALLY EXPOSED……………….HE HAS GIVEN MOST RUBBISH MOVIES IN LAST 10 YEARS…..ITS OVER…FINALLY AUDIENCE KNOWS IT

      Like

    • thing is not that it has not been crossed 100 cr,200cr or 300 cr…main thing is that this movie failed to recover production cost….everybody shold accept now that SRK has been finished ………….yes he had good fortune but man can not be run over furtune all the time…

      Like

      • Why aryan khanna did not say sorry…even to a dying Gaurav?? Is sumone shud ne so rude….Is shahrukhan so rude?? Plzz make me understandd

        Like

    • Ohh ya ? Thn y films like neerja and airlift have worked.. get some brains please and dont degrade bollywood and people like us that we like only no brainer stuff.. people are starting to dislike and reject these kind of films and they have started to like good films which is evident by the fact that fan fell to 10 crore in the second week.. so that clears ur not a disaster point.. its a disaster.. and morons like u should either not watch good films and if u watch it thn have the guts to say that its good or bad.. get a set of brains and then comment.. and please dont comment ur mind here and try to stop the movement of good films working in bollywood..

      Like

    • i totally agree with the author – this could have been a fantastic film – the worst part which really put me off was the illegal beating up of Gaurav – then i just wanted my money back and Gaurav’s inconsistencies in his character as the film progressed were so prominent – really stupid. I was really disappointed; i hardly get to go out, but I make a special effort for all SRK films, this was not good Sharukh, the concept was first class but wasn’t executed with care at all!!

      Like

  2. pointless nitpicking to explain a not half unexpected commercial situation. The film is fine, more than fine…it’s just that it wasn’t the kind of film content meant to be a mass money spinner anyway. The fact that SRK was in it, would have raised hopes of the film collecting more than its actual reach, but really, such a factor could only influence the opening (which it did) and not more. The article is a little painful though, pointlessly trying to use logic to create labels/perceptions/narrative graph criticisms out of literally, thin air. Fan, although a thriller on the surface, is at its core, an intentionally dark, allegorical meta fiction on the nature of the stardom myth itself. It’s connect lies through the poetry of this charming yet disturbing fan-myth relationship, and largely communicates its experience through a narrative that uncovers, at its own indulgent pace, a grey, indefinable emotional zone where judgments and labels become pointless. The “chaos in characterization”, therefore, is NOT a scripting blind-spot. The blurry, overlapping character zones have been created intentionally, playfully and are therefore, designed to perplex and create spaces to ponder within. For people (the majority i.e), who look for clear cut winners and losers, plausible realities and clear protagonists and antagonists, the film obviously won’t work. For the few more open people who can connect with the larger themes of myth creation, obsession and the fragility of the myth-star equation, they will see unfold a narrative strung together with a moving poetry of images, mirrors and critical self portrait, as opposed to the never ending loophole of logic that the thriller edifice of the film evokes. It’s pointless to debate why the film didn’t work. A dark, disturbing film with absurd and almost unreal tones, however poetic or engaging, still has few takers in a society which has been conditioned to accept brilliance as either logically satisfactory and/or feel good. The film does what it does outside the gambit of commercial judgment. So,really, giving this commercial failure such huge importance is irrelevant to begin with. It would be a little harsh and worrisome, yes, if the film made huge losses to the point of production houses detracting from investing in such films, but I don’t think that’s the case here. Some films are important, beyond judgment of logic or mass appreciation. Fan is one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr Chandra…can you just point out (without going into those laborious words you are using here) how does this star-fan mythical space allow both to do parkour across roofs in real life?? If this was a noir thriller….then these set-pieces should have been avoided (including the complete lift from the Korean film stunt in the first half)…..and if this was a film in which these pieces need to be there….then the story and the script did not hold. A real/noir thriller does not have these…..so it was a script fault….a complete product mismatch.

      Like

  3. I totally disagree with this…you can’t mesure everything by money. Fan is a nice film and SRK’s acting is fabulous. I personally enjoyed through out the film.It has a story it has a value even though Indians didn’t value.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This movie is a typical Bollywood masala movie meant for masses. 1st week opening means businesses in metros and big cities. For making big crores in subsequent weeks, the movie has to do well in mid and small centres. These days, whole North Indian plains are busy in harvesting crops. Release timing is the main villain for fan ‘un’following…..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The main issue I found is 1. Lack of humour in the first half, Gaurav could have done mimicry of SRK imperfectly and made us laugh. 2. The love angle of Gaurav should have been overplayed and his clumsiness while imitating SRK should have made us laugh. 3. gaurav should have tried to pull SRK’s fame, wealth and his family by doing more serious ploys. SRK should have been devasted.

    Like

  6. Reasons are technically right, but the AUTHOR missed out on the most important point, AUDIENCES DID NOT COME TO WATCH IT FROM DAY ONE! This post focuses on what possibly went wrong in the movie, and post would have been acceptable in case if collections would have had started dropping from day 2 or 3. But here, in India, people did not go to watch it from day one.

    Like

    • I like salman khan. But Sharukh khan is a better actor . Salman khan movies use too much slow mode . Prem rayan Shan payo was bakwas. My head hurt. Both salman and srk are amazing actors. You can’t act as well as srk . Fan was amazing . People who actually have a brain could understand and love it . But of course you wouldn’t you brainless old man!!!

      Like

  7. Well there could be some scripting loopholes as the author has posted here but the other part which you cant neglect is the quality of films general moviegoers accept these days. Fan was a brilliant movie made which was difficult for common people to understand. Ra.one was similar too. It was great story but way beyond indian public to accept for. They would accept spiderman and other super hero movies which sometimes have no logic but as they are hollywood movies indians accept it. Srk tried once with Ra.one and now with Fan both times public have failed and what i worry most is that now he may go back to making movies like Dilwale, HNY and CE (though it was at least funny in most parts). Problem is that we accept low brain movies and dont appreciate movies which are made very thoughtfully or movies which require some thinking.

    Like

  8. U may agree or disagree but I strongly feel the movie has been affected by the Intolerance issue and srk branding to be pro pakistan which I personally feel is not correct. Srk and aamir both are patriotic and has contributed a lot for this nation. But they must be very careful while giving statements regarding the country bcoz Indians are very much sensitive about their country and they can’t tolerate anything said against it especially when it is said by a Muslim. They quickly start branding one to be anti national and pro pakistan. I may be wrong but we will have to wait and see what is going to happen with dangal.

    Like

  9. I couldn’t even watch the entire movie and I really really wanted to like it. I have nothing for or against SRK. I watch Hindi movies because I love India and I am studying the Hindi language so I am always happy when a new movie comes out. Before I go into why this movie was unbearably bad, I would like to say that in the past 4, 5 years, I have noticed an immense improvement in Bollywood films: from the scripts to the acting to the direction. I am a US citizen, half Japanese with an Italian passport and I currently reside in France. All four of these countries are famous for their cinematography so, I guess you could call me a movie-buff. I watch everything in a movie. A few Bollywood movies of different genres that I have enjoyed in the past couple of years are: Highway, Aligarh, Masaan, The Lunchbox, Bajirao Mastani, and I would throw in there even Kapoor & Sons and Dedh Ishq as far as light comedy is concerned. These movies follow a sort of logic and the acting and directing is spot-on.

    Getting back to Fan: the idea was great, which is what made the result so much more disappointing. Here’s a list of things that are incredibly wrong in this movie and possible solutions:
    1. The first part of the movie is not half bad until Gaurav meets the other superstar, Sid, Aryan’s young competition. There is no way that a fan would be allowed into a star’s trailer alone. Period. Two, Sid is bigger that Gaurav, his hands are not tied…why doesn’t he just punch Gaurav and call his guards, who are probably outside of the door (if we want to believe that they somehow allowed a crazy fan into the trailer alone.) From there, it just gets more and more stupid: Gaurav goes into Madame Tussauds and hence, the idiotic, unrealistic chase scene. How in the world can he jump from one ledge to another in that way? And why does the movie make the British police appear so stupid? No police officer in the world would chase a criminal that way. Let’s backtrack: How is it possible that no one in the museum immediately sees that Gaurav is not Aryan/SRK? Impossible. No real star would be roaming around a wax museum in the first place and above all, not alone. And no star would behave that way unless he was on drugs. Also, any fan would recognise the imposter immediately. If the police had any doubt about the identity, they would never risk treating an Indian superstar so horribly for fear that the entire Indian-British community would come out and revolt (which they would). And what about all of those people filming at the episode? All of those videos would have gone viral and in two seconds the fans of Aryan/SRK would immediately see Gaurav’s imposter face. At that point, the police commissioner, instead of putting Aryan/SRK in jail, he would ask the star’s help to find the imposter. By this point, the entire movie has totally lost any credibility and everything after this is just crazy. I mean, how does Gaurav get Aryan/SRK’s manager’s personal phone number? Impossible. When Aryan/SRK realises that it is Gaurav, why doesn’t he call the police? The police would immediately trace Gaurav’s travel plans and know that he is the crazy person. I could go on and on and on….instead,
    I don’t believe in criticising without attempting to give a solution so:

    1. Gaurav: to help defend Aryan, he should have filmed himself viciously insulting and threatening Sid, and perhaps trying to attack him. Or perhaps, trying to break into his house to cause him bodily harm. The videos would have gone viral, Aryan/SRK would have heard about them. Gaurav gets thrown into jail and goes on a hunger strike if he doesn’t meek Aryan/SRK who eventually comes to the jail out of pity and anger. (maybe Gaurav’s crazy parents make a plea on video to the superstar). Then, Aryan disappoints Gaurav by not defending his actions, in fact, he scolds him, criticises him, tells him to go home and get a life. He reprimands Gaurav for forcing him to come to the police station to visit him and how it is just a waste of his time….etc etc etc.
    Enough to get Gaurav angry.

    2. Gaurav’s revenge: he sells his shop and with the money, he begins training, working out, getting big and strong like his ex-idol. He finds a plastic surgeon who will change his nose and other features so that he really looks like a young Aryan/SRK. The movie shows Gaurav putting something in his shoes to make himself appear taller. So, in the second half of the movie, Gaurav and Aryan are almost identical. Then he puts his plan into action in a realistic way. He goes to London and, without doing anything crazy or against the law, he begins to slowly and steadily ruin Aryan’s reputation. He uploads videos of himself in strip clubs partying with the sleaziest people, he treats fans horribly but allows people to film it (as would happen nowadays), he finds out when Aryan/SRK is away from home and then, takes videos of himself running around town with different women until even Aryan’s wife begins to suspect. Here, the possibilities were endless had the scriptwriter been more clever. Since no one can catch Gaurav, and even if they do, he’s not doing anything illegal…it’s the power of social networking…Aryan/SRK’s image slowly deteriorates. Then, the twist: even though most people know there is something fishy going on, they begin to associate Aryan with Gaurav’s bad behaviour. Sponsors drop Aryan, his movies bomb. The worst comes when people begin to anxiously wait for Gaurav’s next move and they start to ‘like’ him, to ‘relate’ to him. He slowly becomes more famous than the real Aryan, also because he is younger, fresher. People no longer care who is real and who isn’t. Social networking breaks Aryan and makes Gaurav.
    At this point, Aryan takes his revenge.

    I think the movie would have stood a better chance like this. What do you think?

    Like

  10. I couldn’t even watch the entire movie and I really really wanted to like it. I have nothing for or against SRK. I watch Hindi movies because I love India and I am studying the Hindi language so I am always happy when a new movie comes out. Before I go into why this movie was unbearably bad, I would like to say that in the past 4, 5 years, I have noticed an immense improvement in Bollywood films: from the scripts to the acting to the direction. I am a US citizen, half Japanese with an Italian passport and I currently reside in France. All four of these countries are famous for their cinematography so, I guess you could call me a movie-buff. I watch everything in a movie. A few Bollywood movies of different genres that I have enjoyed in the past couple of years are: Highway, Aligarh, Masaan, The Lunchbox, Bajirao Mastani, and I would throw in there even Kapoor & Sons and Dedh Ishq as far as light comedy is concerned. These movies follow a sort of logic and the acting and directing is spot-on.

    Getting back to Fan: the idea was great, which is what made the result so much more disappointing. Here’s a list of things that are incredibly wrong in this movie and possible solutions:
    1. The first part of the movie is not half bad until Gaurav meets the other superstar, Sid, Aryan’s young competition. There is no way that a fan would be allowed into a star’s trailer alone. Period. Two, Sid is bigger that Gaurav, his hands are not tied…why doesn’t he just punch Gaurav and call his guards, who are probably outside of the door (if we want to believe that they somehow allowed a crazy fan into the trailer alone.) From there, it just gets more and more stupid: Gaurav goes into Madame Tussauds and hence, the idiotic, unrealistic chase scene. How in the world can he jump from one ledge to another in that way? And why does the movie make the British police appear so stupid? No police officer in the world would chase a criminal that way. Let’s backtrack: How is it possible that no one in the museum immediately sees that Gaurav is not Aryan/SRK? Impossible. No real star would be roaming around a wax museum in the first place and above all, not alone. And no star would behave that way unless he was on drugs. Also, any fan would recognise the imposter immediately. If the police had any doubt about the identity, they would never risk treating an Indian superstar so horribly for fear that the entire Indian-British community would come out and revolt (which they would). And what about all of those people filming at the episode? All of those videos would have gone viral and in two seconds the fans of Aryan/SRK would immediately see Gaurav’s imposter face. At that point, the police commissioner, instead of putting Aryan/SRK in jail, he would ask the star’s help to find the imposter. By this point, the entire movie has totally lost any credibility and everything after this is just crazy. I mean, how does Gaurav get Aryan/SRK’s manager’s personal phone number? Impossible. When Aryan/SRK realises that it is Gaurav, why doesn’t he call the police? The police would immediately trace Gaurav’s travel plans and know that he is the crazy person. I could go on and on and on….instead,
    I don’t believe in criticising without attempting to give a solution so:

    1. Gaurav: to help defend Aryan, he should have filmed himself viciously insulting and threatening Sid, and perhaps trying to attack him. Or perhaps, trying to break into his house to cause him bodily harm. The videos would have gone viral, Aryan/SRK would have heard about them. Gaurav gets thrown into jail and goes on a hunger strike if he doesn’t meek Aryan/SRK who eventually comes to the jail out of pity and anger. (maybe Gaurav’s crazy parents make a plea on video to the superstar). Then, Aryan disappoints Gaurav by not defending his actions, in fact, he scolds him, criticises him, tells him to go home and get a life. He reprimands Gaurav for forcing him to come to the police station to visit him and how it is just a waste of his time….etc etc etc.
    Enough to get Gaurav angry.

    2. Gaurav’s revenge: he sells his shop and with the money, he begins training, working out, getting big and strong like his ex-idol. He finds a plastic surgeon who will change his nose and other features so that he really looks like a young Aryan/SRK. The movie shows Gaurav putting something in his shoes to make himself appear taller. So, in the second half of the movie, Gaurav and Aryan are almost identical. Then he puts his plan into action in a realistic way. He goes to London and, without doing anything crazy or against the law, he begins to slowly and steadily ruin Aryan’s reputation. He uploads videos of himself in strip clubs partying with the sleaziest people, he treats fans horribly but allows people to film it (as would happen nowadays), he finds out when Aryan/SRK is away from home and then, takes videos of himself running around town with different women until even Aryan’s wife begins to suspect. Here, the possibilities were endless had the scriptwriter been more clever. Since no one can catches Gaurav, Aryan/SRK’s image slowly deteriorates. Then, the twist: even though most people know there is something fishy going on, they begin to associate Aryan with Gaurav’s bad behaviour. Sponsors drop Aryan, his movies bomb. The worst comes when people begin to anxiously wait for Gaurav’s next move and they start to ‘like’ him, to ‘relate’ to him. He slowly becomes more famous than the real Aryan, also because he is younger, fresher. People no longer care who is real and who isn’t. This is the power of social networks.
    At this point, Aryan takes his revenge.

    I think the movie would have stood a chance like this. What do you think?

    Like

    • I really like your analysis (being a World film lover like yourself). The problem, or so I’ve heard from reliable sources, is that this started out as a taut, dark, meta-reflection on the nature of stardom and fandom – but then the makers started getting nervous about whether the audience would like it, and it got chopped and changed till it lost its original intensity and narrative coherence. Apparently SRK wasn’t happy about it becoming what it did – a “film by consensus”, that neither pleases the masses nor the film buffs. TL;DR: Too many cooks spoilt the broth.

      Like

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