*ing: Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, Rajkummar Rao, Divya Dutta
Directed by Atul Manjrekar
With a number of major releases being announced this year, it seemed like Bollywood was finally out of the loop of bad films it was stuck in. Until, Fanney Khan released and proved us wrong, once again.
Exploring the life of Prashant Sharma AKA ‘Fanney Khan’ (Anil Kapoor) – a has-been orchestra singer – the film looks at his unfulfilled dreams of becoming famous, which now he wants his daughter, Lata Sharma (Pihu Sand) to fulfill. However, as fate would have it, his plus-sized daughter also struggles to make space for her talent in the industry, which is obsessed with glamorous icons, such as Baby Singh (Aishwarya Rai).
In a twist of fate, however, life does change and wishes do get fulfilled albeit in unpredictable ways and for all the wrong reasons, as Fanney and his mate Adhir (Rajkummar Rao) end up kidnapping Baby Singh to spring their lives out of the poverty circle and get famous.
Triggering a rollercoaster ride of emotions, Fanney Khan takes a serpentine journey of everything that could go wrong, yet ending on a happy note; for the characters, that is. For the audience, it’s a whole different story.
For the audience, the film is miles from being good and is proof that talent alone cannot hold a film like this together. From the hackneyed script and dialogues or the music, the film falters one minute after another, nose-diving into new levels of mediocrity. Do you fancy a film with zero moments of brilliance and a plot that looks exactly like Secret Superstar but misses out on the good parts? Then go for it.
That all being said, the film still deserves two stars, for of course, two major things. One, for Rajkummar Rao’s acting, because where stars like Aishwarya Rai fail to impress, Anil Kapoor and Rajkummar’s camaraderie shines on the silver screen. The second star, the film deserves for the message it tries to give out on body shaming, which although remains clichéd, manages to get a point of judging talent instead of glamour across.
But could the legends save this film? Unfortnately not.
The Spy Who Dumped Me***
*ing: Justin Theroux, Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Gillian Anderson
Directed by Susanna Fogel
How often do you see a classy tux-wearing gun-wielding James Bond archetype saving the world? The answer probably is too often. However, with the recently-released The Spy Who Dumped Me, you can forget about any type of classiness or subtlety altogether!
Focusing on the life of Audrey (Mila Kunis), who is getting over a recent breakup with her boyfriend, Drew (Justin Theroux) the healthiest way there is – by burning his stuff – the film takes a 180 degree turn when he crashes through her apartment window. The ex reveals he’s a spy and breathlessly instructs Audrey and her roommate Morgan (Kate McKinnon) to take a little plastic trophy to Vienna, and hand it off to a woman named Verne. Then, he’s shot dead.
Fearing for their lives, and with no better prospects at home, the naive pair jets off to Europe to a plethora of new experiences, not-so-covert operations to help save the world, and a staggering body count left in their wake – all, in a few day’s time.
Sounds fun, right? Wrong.
Amongst such a playful sounding plot, much of the hoopla here is lived down with boilerplate action-comedy stuff, which although enlivened by Mila and Kate’s peculiar but interesting chemistry, still makes you feel like something is off. It really even makes one question how many times one is willing to see a bloodbath every few scenes.
In other parts, it gets a little long, and there are some bits that are fairly obviously punch-ups, which could have been made subtle. However, clearly, being understated doesn’t seem to be a part of the director, Susanna Fogel’s forte.
That said, The Spy Who Dumped Me is not a bad film. It may be a flick that is confused in what it wants to be, between a spy thriller or a buddy comedy, but it’s definitely not abysmal.
What does make the film stand out is that at moments it’s genuinely funny- which in hindsight shouldn’t be that remarkable for a comedy, but how many pure comedy films have we seen lately? The movie is an interesting mix of gags and humour and that’s it’s biggest victory.
In what we can call other feats of this film, it probably is the plot about female friendship, which way too often is dumbed down to a ‘chick flick.’ The portrayal of female friendship as something empowering rather than a punchline is what truly is interesting.
Apart from that, the film really has nothing more to offer. It’s the same standard fare of bodies flying, faces landing into scalding pots of fondue, cars tumbling through the streets, and such predictable scenes.
In short, go for the laughs, enjoy the unsubtle mess, and leave without questioning it.
Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only *** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection