Pretty nice words to begin the review with, wouldn’t you say? While they don’t begin the movie. they are from the movie. And they do sum up what the theme of this film is about.
Zooni, played by India’s sweetheart, Kajol, in her first starring role back on the silver screen after an absence of about five years, and Rehan played by Aamir Khan, are the star-crossed couple who light up the screen in this 2006 film, Fanaa.
Directed by Kunal Kohli, this is the story of the blind Kashmiri girl, Zooni, who ventures out into the world, on her own for the very first time without her parents. She’s a member of a dance company (yes, she’s blind and a dancer in this tale) and the troop travels down to New Delhi for a performance.
There in New Delhi she meets the troop’s tour guide Rehan. He an incorrigible flirt who spouts poetry and he never met a woman he didn’t like. Zooni’s friends warn her about Rehan, but this is the movies. So no amount of interference is going to keep them apart.
When they first meet, and Zooni extends her hand to shake with Rehan’s, but hers is more than a foot or so away from his hand, we get this exchange:
Rehan: Oh, you’re blind.
Zooni: Yes, you didn’t see that? Are you blind too?
Rehan: Thank God I’m not.
Zooni: That’s a nice thing to say to a blind person.
Rehan: If I was blind, I couldn’t have seen the most beautiful thing in the world, You.
Yeah, Rehan is a real charmer. He’s not the least bit sincere, except that Zooni has brought out his best.
So the first half of this 163 minute film is the love story of how Zooni and Rehan met and fell in love. The courtship in and around Delhi has some of the most beautiful cinematography you’ll ever see. I’m was in awe as I watched, asking myself how could shot after shot be so beautifully composed?
The second half of the film brings on a change. From a romance, and a romantic comedy, and a musical – we suddenly find ourselves involved in a thriller. There’s a terrorist – but the film goes to great lengths to say that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.
There’a bomb. There’s a nation in peril.
There’s a chase sequence that is on a par with any thing you’ve seen in a Bond film. Think helicopters, think snowmobiles, think long range rifles and automatic weapons.
The IMDB lists this movie in four genres: Drama, Musical, Romance, and Thriller. And in truth it is all of these. It comes down to a decision. From the DVD box cover we have:
Choices: to choose between right or wrong is simple, but what defines one’s life is the decision between the greater of two goods, or the lesser of two evils.
As you can see from the images, the film is really beautiful. The story, or maybe I should say stories, offer something for everyone.
Poonam Joshi, writing for the BBC said: The hugely accomplished Kajol is no less mesmerising and the two share an unexpected chemistry, resulting in moments that are at once, tender and intensely chilling. Further bolstered by a strong supporting cast, it is the contrived script that is the film’s downfall.
John Anderson for the Los Angeles Times wrote: Kajol, however, is a wonderful actress (director Kunal Kohli can’t seem to take the camera off her). Khan, though not looking his best, has moments of genuine truth, as well as charm. And the intent of the movie is, as always, entertainment pure and simple.
The New York Times reviewer Nathan Lee opened his review with: The epic Bollywood extravaganza “Fanaa” goes so far over the top that it reinvents itself halfway and launches on a brand new trajectory of the absurd.
So you can see that this highly anticipated film garnered a variety of reviews that ran the gamut between good and bad. What you might called ‘mixed’. As for me, I didn’t see this film back in 2006. I bought the DVD and watched this film within the last week. I’m calling it a first class entertainment, and I’m saying I’m very glad to have seen this film. And this just in – fanaa has just been released in a blu-ray edition from Yash Raj.