Fanaa is one of the most awaited releases this year thanks to the Kajol-Aamir Khan pairing. Or is it because of the controversies that are dogging the film?
Nothing helps like controversy. Take Fanaa, a love story of a terrorist and a village girl. An unusual story in trying times, but nothing really
controversial, is there? Pah! Ask its director, Kunal Kohli.
Better still, ask its lead cast Aamir Khan and Kajol. Not that they don't have their own demons to battle.
Though Kajol is quiet now, there were rumours that she had had it with Khan after his erratic behaviour during the shooting for Fanaa in Poland. Khan of course had his own bank of rumours, including making Kohli change the script and weave it to Khan's advantage.
The two seem to have called a ceasefire now and were bubbly and enthusiastic during a recent interview that was simultaneously telecast on six channels in India.
Fanaa releases today. Khan is already a hit-old this year with Rang De Basanti; one more hit reaffirms him as a multifaceted actor with a string of hits to prove his acting prowess. But it's the acid test for Kajol.
A comeback has never been a cosy affair in Bollywood. Ask Reena Roy. Her comeback film Bedardi (1993) after a 5-year hiatus, bombed. Then there was Mumtaz with Aandhiyan (1989) after a stretched 12-year hiatus, which bombed too.
The same with Bhagyashree who tried a comeback after 9 years with Hello Girls (2001) and fell flat on her pretty face. But Kajol is made of sterner stuff. And then she has the charismatic Khan for a co-star.
The first and last time they came together in a film was in Indra Kumar's Ishq (1997), but were not cast opposite each other. Now there is Fanaa.
Easily the most awaited love story of 2006, Fanaa is about the pairing of the uncommon - the
unsophisticated prankster Kajol on one side and the methodical, systematic Khan on the other.
But when it comes to histrionics, the two are livewire and it should show in Fanaa. Trade analyst Taran Adarsh for one is confident of the opening. "The Kajol-Aamir pair will surely work," he says.
Fanaa is also raising expectations in terms of music. It is the last film for music composers Jatin and Lalit as a duo.
While the pair has worked with Khan in hits like Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander (1992), Ghulam (1998) and Sarfarosh (1999), Kajol has lip-synced to their tunes in the blockbuster Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge (1995).
Hence, in terms of music too, Fanna is a film to watch out for.
And then there are the controversies (didn't we hear that before?). First, the Gujarat ban on Fanaa after Khan's support for the rehabilitation of the people affected by the Narmada dam project sparked protests.
Second, multiplex owners wished to ban the film after Yash Chopra asked for 60 per cent of the profits, which was a hike of 10 per cent over the usual amount that multiplexes give to the producers.
While Chopra has arrived at a consensus, Khan has refused to apologise for raising a voice for the movement. And he has been vocal about it.
"I am supporting the rehabilitation. I cannot comment on any other level ... if the homes of those displaced are gone, they should get a place to stay in exchange, it's only fair," he says strongly.
Says Khan: "I am no activist, but if I am provoked I will voice my opinion publicly." Controversy helps.
- The film crew shot a gruelling schedule in Poland where temperatures dropped to -17 degrees Celsius
- There were some scenes featuring Kajol with which Kunal Kohli was so captivated that he forgot to yell 'cut'
- Kajol did not attend any special sessions to play the role of a blind girl, but just took part in a few script reading sessions to get acquainted with her character