I watched it. I loved it.
I should have picked up on the wordplay earlier, but I didn’t. Not until the opening scenes of the movie, when the camera very quickly gets fixated on Rosie’s derriere and sets the tone for the mad, quirky, odd-ball film that it is.
I love a short, quick film that isn’t dragged out at any part, and Finding Fanny fit the bill in that respect. I was a tad annoyed at the almost expected “6 months later” epilogue that seems a little forced, but I suppose I’m amongst the minority of people that is sometimes okay with an absurd and abrupt end to a film, where every little string doesn’t necessarily have to be neatly tied in a bow. Especially not if the film preceding it has been bizarre, full of twists and turns and downright cheeky.
The characters are whimsical and eccentric, the plot unnatural. Almost like a scene from a Mario Miranda postcard brought to life. It’s sufficiently peppered with little distractions in the form of smaller characters, like the cat, the padre and Fanny — which made it feel like theatre, more than anything I’ve seen in Bollywood in recent past.
I’m also a fan of quick and clever story-telling and am losing patience with Hindi movies that make no effort to tell engaging stories, without the pace flagging or going OTT. Finding Fanny managed it beautifully, steady pace that kept me engaged at all times. Again, very reminiscent of theatre, I felt like I could have been reading a crazy book with the same story, the overly caricatured characters and the totally strange plot. None of that unnecessarily dragged out drama, verbose dialogues, song and dance. Every scene packed a punch, left me guffawing and rapt. The few unexpected and utterly bizarre twists were well-timed and many of them made the entire theatre hoot, or gasp in unison.
As for the acting, for a change, each character hold their own and pulls their weight in building up a solid story. Naseeruddin Shah was the star for me. Soft, economic acting that made you really feel for his character, despite his quirks and eccentricities. Pankaj Kapur comes a close second, but just the very nature of his character gave him a long rope to work with. Dimple Kapadia was fabulous, nailing the Goan Aunty meme completely. I was pleasantly surprised by Arjun Kapoor who seems to fit these lazy, angry young man roles so much better than the chirpy college kid roles (2 States, I’m looking at you) kinds. And I can’t believe I’m going to say this, given my deep dislike for DP. But, Deepika was glorious, almost ethereal and so perfect for the character — pretty little maiden, out of everybody’s reach. Good daughter-in-law, good friend, clever on one hand, scheming girl who orchestrates the whole trip, and also smart enough to get what she wants along the way. I just wish she’d perfect her dialogue delivery a little. She still sounds like she is outside herself when she speaks, which paints all her acting with a thin, but impossible to ignore coat of inaccuracy.
I quite liked the music too! Very real and well-suited to the setting, it balanced out the general loony theme of things. No song and dance sequences, but a quirky Shake Your Bootiya track to which the credits roll out. But mostly I think I liked it because I am shamelessly, hopelessly in love with Goa. It’s also a large part of the reason I wanted to watch it, in the first place. I’m known to endure the shittiest films just because they’re set in Goa, and sit and point out familiar places and scenes through out. And this film captures Goa beautifully, minus the usual cliches that make my skin crawl. Drunken men going What men!, and the like. The setting had a sense of timelessness, in that it was obvious the film wasn’t set in present day, and yet you can’t quite pin it to a particular period.
After a long, long time I came out with no complaints. It was equal parts funny, touching, sweet and mad and I wouldn’t mind watching it one more time. Because it’s a simple film with a straight forward story, no acrobatics in drama and style, good acting and the combination makes it thoroughly entertaining. Who needs anything more?