For those living under the rock, here's a little piece of trivia! The Fakir Of Venice was supposed to be Farhan Akhtar's acting debut. Unfortunately, the film got stuck in the cans due to legal and financial issues and the actor sashayed into Bollywood with the 2008 film Rock On! instead. Now after close to a decade, the film is finally making its way into the theatre halls. Has the black-comedy lost its relevance over this period of time? Well thankfully, the answer is in negative.
To begin with, The Fakir Of Venice opens with Adi Contractor (Farhan Akhtar), a production co-ordinator successfully smuggling a monkey across the border to a foreign crew for a shoot. Soon, this smooth-talking hustler is hired to find a fakir who can perform feats of endurance at a renowned art exhibition in Venice.
After an unsuccessful trip to Benaras, Adi's search for the holy man ends in Mumbai when he comes across a poor painter named Sattar (Annu Kapoor) who used to bury himself in sand on the beach for a living in the past. Adi who wants to earn some quick bucks to attend a film school in New York, grabs this opportunity and convinces Sattar to accompany him to Venice as the fakir.
Sattar's drinking habits make him an unsuitable candidate for this journey but Adi is confident that they can pull it off. And so, the two travel to the floating city to con the European art world. Will their deceit be caught? The rest of the film holds the answer.
Interestingly, Anand Surapur's The Fakir Of Venice is loosely inspired by director Homi Adjania's bizarre experience of taking an unemployed building painter to be a part of an art installation in Venice. While the plot is far away from mainstream stuff and is intriguing, the novelty soon wears off especially in the second half when the logic goes for a toss and the situations look derived out of convenience.
The narrative gets a tad repetitive and exhausting. Having said that, the film does have some sprinkling of humour throughout its run-time to give you some laughs.
Speaking about the performances, Farhan Akhtar who faced the camera for the first time in this film shows a spark and looks just the same as he looks now. Together with his partner-in-crime Annu Kapoor, the duo keep you invested when Surapur has a tight hold of his direction.
Annu Kapoor proves once again why he is one of the most versatile actors we have around. Portraying a humble man who struggles to come to terms with death, the actor leaves you moist-eyed in a scene or two. Kamal Sidhu has nothing substantial to do in this film.
Bunty Nagi's editing works fine. Deepti Gupta, Preetha Jayaraman, Bakul Sharma's cinematography goes apt with the story-telling. However, there are a few moments when the camera movements are a little shaky. Wonder if that's done intentionally! AR Rahman's music isn't his best but that doesn't add any hinderance.
The Fakir Of Venice is not everyone's cup of tea. If off-beat stories are your thing then this con job makes up for decent one-time viewing mainly for its theme and Annu Kapoor's impressive act. I am going with 2.5 stars.