You are standing in front of the mirror. The camera approaches you from behind in slow motion, capturing you and your mirror image on the same frame. And a close-up of the same.
The face that is yours. The face that reflects on the mirror. Your most basic identity. People know you as you are because of that face. Your mannerisms and your mind. Your likes and dislikes. Strengths and weaknesses. Success and failures. Your personality. The face stands as a representation of everything that you are in all big and small capacities. That relationship with your face is deep. And personal.
And then one day, the same face stands facing you.
No, this time there is no mirror in between. It’s a different person altogether. The face also seems a little distorted. As if someone has done something to you to make you look different. Just that, the new face has another body too. His thoughts, habits, body language is much unlike yours. What would you do?
Perhaps there are only two options. First, you might feel that the new face is only an extension of yourself. You would nurture it, pamper it, love it, feel lost in it assuming that his basic values are same as yours and he must be appreciating you as much as you appreciate him. Second, you feel violated because of the cruel crime by the cosmos. What was once personal is now shared. The exclusivity is messed up. Your understanding with your skin is interrupted and interfered.
Gaurav Chandna represents the first option; Aryan Khanna explains the second. The film FAN has just attempted to raise more questions than what a two hour long script should.
Many have asked me in the last few days about my reaction towards FAN not raking those Shah Rukh Khan-isq figures at box office. As a fan myself, am I disappointed? Angry? I think SRK charm doesn’t work any longer? Do I think SRK needs different kinds of scripts? If yes, what would be my suggestions?
My answer, who the hell am I? I don’t even have that threatening self-destructive “identity” which can go ahead and demand an inch of Shah Rukh Khan! What I think doesn’t matter. What matters is how the star resonates in my brain.
I am just another miscellaneous fan. Irrelevant, yet powerful. A fan, who is perceived to be nameless, faceless, inconsistent and wannabe. I can watch Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in loop, but that doesn’t make a difference to the star because he has moved on from that after 1998. He perhaps doesn’t understand my holding back, and I try hard to ensure that he doesn’t let go. We clash from a distance, just like Gaurav and Aryan did more dramatically. I keep loving possessively his generic postures, the same dialogues, raising hands, looking mushy, dancing perfectly and singing beautiful songs preferably play-backed by Abhijeet or Sonu Nigam. Restless with my binding expectations, the actor repeats himself. I cheer. Two hundred crores jingle out as breaking news on popular television channels and websites.
A film like FAN, which dares to disconnect from a usual “naam to suna hoga” type SRK repertoire, is too difficult a theory for someone like me, who already has a definition of Shah Rukh Khan in her brain. As the script explores the alternate, contrasting psychology of “identity” between two different people who look almost the same, I sit back and wonder where is that Jabra song that was promoted as an anthem!
On second thought, some other voice inside me raises its head. It asks, was the film FAN really meant for the fans? Or was it Shah Rukh Khan’s open letter to himself?
I mean, what happens when your basic identity is challenged! That identity could be your country, your religion, your profession…or simply, your face. Loving all of which is equivalent to loving yourself! And in this space, Khan has been let down too many times. His identity with respect to his country, religion, profession, sexuality, has been questioned way too brutally in more occasions than one. And each time maybe, a part of his flamboyance has experienced death. The star still smiled and waved at his admirers from rooftop. And a part of his being looked up from below, lost in the crowd and bid final farewell.
Braving out a film of this calibre is Shah Rukh Khan’s success. The figures at the box office is the failure of his fans. This time they failed to comprehend the sentiments of their beloved actor.