“Main toh Mohd Rafi nahi ban paaya, per tujhe Lata Mangeshkar zaroor banaunga” says an elated Prashant (or Fanney Khan, as he is fondly called by his dear ones) holding his newborn. The father already has elaborate dreams for his one-minute-old baby. However, before we start questioning the unhealthy weight of expectations that parents put on their kids, Prashant’s earnestness wins us over.
In fact, both Prashant and his wife (played by the graceful Divya Dutta) prove to be the most supportive parents to their only daughter. Lata is talented, no doubt, and wants to be the next singing sensation, like the reigning queen Baby Singh. She tries everything from copying Singh’s clothes to her dance moves and yet each time Lata gets on stage there is just humiliation and booing.
Body-shamed and slammed for her choice of clothes, Pihu Sand, as Lata Sharma, makes an impressive debut imbuing her character with both vulnerability and the accompanying selfishness with which she takes her parents for granted and repeatedly cuts them off mid-sentence.
Based on the Belgian satirical comedy “Everybody’s Famous”, and adapted by director Atul Manjrekar along with writers Hussain Dalal and Abbas Dalal, the film’s focus isn’t solely on Lata and how she stands up to body-shaming and harassment, but also on a doting father who will hatch the most incredulous plan to help make his daughter’s dream a reality.
Anil Kapoor hits all the right notes as he dials up the emotional quotient. His all-encompassing love for his daughter seems authentic as does the easy friendship he shares with his fellow factory worker Adhir.
The so called “plan” involves a kidnapping for ransom and results in Adhir falling for Baby Singh aka Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who with her distractingly gorgeous hair pouts a little too much for comfort. Even an amazing actor like Rajkumar Rao has precious little to do in the movie.
Fanney Khan starts off with promise, raising important questions about our obsession with being famous and the pressure to follow the “ideal” beauty standards. But in the urgency to shine and make a grand statement about a father’s love for his daughter, melodrama takes centre stage and the film never quite manages to recover. The music is a let-down too with just “Tere Jaisa Tu Hai” and “Achche Din” that stand out.
2 Quint’s out of 5! Except for the strikingly self-assured debut by Pihu Sand and Anil Kapoor’s matchless poise, everything else is overtaken by melodrama.