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"Main Mohammed Rafi toh nahi ban saka, lekin tereko Lata Mangeshkar zaroor banaunga," as Prashant Sharma (Anil Kapoor) urrf Fanney Khan utters these words to his newborn daughter, you get to see a ray of hope flickering in his eyes. Prior this event, Fanney is seen channeling his inner Shammi Kapoor, as he croons and gets groovy on 'Badan Pe Sitare' at the orchestra in his neighbourhood. Atul Manjrekar's directorial debut Fanney Khan is all about dreaming big.
Years pass by and Prashant is seen working tirelessly at a factory. But the man still lives, breathes and worships music. With unrealized musical ambitions of his own, his only dream now is to turn his teenage daughter Lata (Pihu Sand) into a singing sensation. Meanwhile, Lata is a huge fan of pop star Baby Singh (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) and idolizes her. After going through body-shaming for her plus size at countless number of auditions, Lata gets dejected. Meanwhile, Prashant soon goes out of work. Unable to watch his dreams of making Lata a renowned singer shattering into pieces, he becomes a cab driver.
One day, a golden opportunity knocks at his doors when Baby ends up as his cab passenger. To fulfill Lata's dreams, he kidnaps her with the help of his best friend Adhir (Rajkummar Rao), who has a shrewd girlfriend to deal with. Will Prashant succeed in fulfilling Lata's musical ambitions? The rest of the plot holds the answer to that.
First-time director Atul Manjrekar tries to tackle with topics like body-shaming, prejudice and misconceptions about celebrity life in Fanney Khan, but touches only the surface of it. Some of the situations in the film are a tad illogical. Had the writing been crisper and had some depth, Fanney Khan would have risen up by notches. Atul opts for a climax involving a reality show and that's where the film falters because it comes across as too easy, as logic goes out of the window. Thankfully, the scene which comes the next saves the show.
Anil Kapoor is the show-stealer in Fanney Khan. As an optimistic father, he takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, as you find yourself rooting for him over the time. Having said that, his Hyderabadi accent at times looks out of place. His camaraderie with Rajkummar Rao is heartwarming and one wished it was more explored! On the other hand, despite being ladden with a flimsily-sketched character, Rao makes the most of it and gives you an endearing performance.
Aishwarya Rao Bachchan looks her glamorous best, but gets limited opportunity to showcase her acting chops. Nevertheless, her chemistry with Rajkummar Rao is quite cute. Debutante Pihu Sand leaves a lasting impression barring a scene or two. Divya Dutta and Girish Kulkarni stand tall in the film and lend a good support.
Tirru's cinematography is top-notch. However, the film could have been trimmer by few minutes to make it more tauter. Speaking about the music, we absolutely loved Fu Bai Fu for its funky lyrics. Halka Halka grows on you with time. Tere Jaisa Tu Hai too leaves a mark. The rest of the track blends well with the narrative.
Fanney Khan has its heart in the right place, but it's Atul Manjrekar's inconsistent direction that spoils the show. One of the songs in the film has lyrics which says, "Sach mein kabhi has na sake, khilke roh bhi paate nahin, kya rok hai hum kyun bhala, joh hai woh ho jaate nahin." Despite all its flaws, Fanney Khan still manages to make some place in your heart for sometime purely for this strong point.