Huge expectations are associated with any Aamir Khan film. Even more so if it happens to be Kajol's comeback vehicle. And perhaps even more so if it happens to be under the Yash Raj banner. But expectations of course don't guarantee a good cinematic experience, just a few 'house full' posters on friday, saturday and sunday, after which the product must fend for itself on the basis of its own merits.
'Fanaa' is strictly ok, perhaps even decent, but a step down for Aamir. I felt Mangal Pandey (minus the average second half and the barrage of songs) and 'Rang De Basanti' were better films. The film centres around the love story of Rehan, seemingly a brash and flirtatious tour guide and Zooni, a blind Kashmiri, who is only starting to live life on her own terms. Rehan and Zooni fall in love almost immediately and Rehan shows her the side of life that she has been missing for so long. Her experiences are new and invigorating. She immediately decides that he is the man for him. Deciding to marry her, he also arranges to restore her eyesight. Here is where the story takes a turn and leads us into the dark murky world that Rehan actually comes from from. He is a terrorist fighting for the independence of Kashmir. There is a bomb blast in which Zooni believes that Rehan has perished and lives out seven years in the belief that that the only man she's loved and never seen, is dead. Cut to seven years later where Rehan is on yet another mission for his terror outfit. He is wounded and seeks asylum in during a fierce storm in a small village and as fate would have it, lo and behold, Zooni opens the door along with a small boy, who is of course her child that she had with Rehan many moons ago.
Here's where the film gets interesting. The film now starts focusing on Rehan's realization that this is the life he wants, and not the life of a foot soldier for a organisation such as his. Zooni, discovering this guest's true identity (first that he is her Rehan, and second that he is in fact a terrorist) of course has to deal with the dilemma of turning him in versus making up for seven years of lost time and finally settling down with her one true love and the father of her child. How these parallel themes progress and pan out is the focus of the climax of the film.
The first half of the film is run of mill. Boy meets girl, girl can't see boy, boy is charming and gives girl a tour of Delhi. Love blooms. The first half is pure formula, complete with a multitude of songs and funny sidekicks. Quite disappointing actually. The second half is marked improved and the novelty of the plot and the decent treatment come to the fore. However here as well, things could have moved faster, but the director, Kunal Kohli takes his own time to let things unravel. Performances are good. Aamir is patchy in the first half and in form in the second. And it is such a pleasure watching Kajol after all these years. The lady can still dazzle the screen with her smile! The chemistry between Aamir and Kajol is good but Kajol-Shahrukh or Aamir-Juhi were better together. Supporting crew is decent though. Rishi Kapoor, Kirron Kher and Tabu are competent, though the choice of Tabu for the role of the Anti Terrorist Squad officer is quite puzzling. She mouths rhetoric and cliched dialogues. Wasted completely. Music is strictly average. What was expected to be Jatin-Lalit's swan song in their last film together, turn into an average album with a couple of good songs like 'Chand Sifarish' and 'Mere Haath Mein'. Watch out for Ravi K Chandran's camera work though, brilliant. Of course, filming in Poland helps.