EVEN WITH INTERESTING STORY, ‘THE FAKIR OF VENICE’ FAILS TO IMPRESS

Anand Surapur’s film boasts of a decently novel story with a screenplay that doesn’t quite match up

This was supposed to be Farhan Akhtar’s acting debut. 10 years after it was made, it’s finally seen the light of the day. What you have in The Fakir of Venice is a good enough concept of how two totally different personalities coming from opposite social classes click for one aim, that too towards the wrong path. Whether or not two minuses make a plus is what the premise is. While you have some moments to cherish, it by and large remains a poorly average movie with not much to look for. 

Watch the trailer here:

 

PLOT

A complete jugadu production coordinator for films, Adi Contractor (Farhan Akhtar) is assigned to find a fakir for an art installation in Venice. After getting dejected at the ghats of Varanasi, he is able to find a junior artist, a painter by profession Sattar (Annu Kapoor) who gets ready for the job of burying himself inside the ground. Together they con the art fraternity, but its not that simple.

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STORY/SCREENPLAY/GENERAL

The story by Homi Adajania and dialogues and screenplay by Rajesh Devraj are interesting in the way the things are perceived by a common man. At the outset that is. Even the characters of the film, right from the first sequence have an ability to capture your attention. The basic premise is out-an-out filmy with a symbolic quality attached. This in itself serves for a worthwhile entity. 

But that’s all. The film very soon begins to bore you and you start waiting for the interval. At one point, it all even starts to look repetitive. The film gets stuck and so do you because you’ve shelled the money out.



The fakir of venice, film, review, hindi
Annu Kapoor with director Anand Surapur (image source: theajnabee.com)

Despite the allegorical story having its own merits, this 98mins film seems over 2hrs long, something that puts you off completely. While the characters are endearing and refreshing, the way things are presented start losing their charm soon after you are invested in the plot, making you drift apart. 

The camera is one of the poorest parts of the film, shaky at points, and at some junctures giving you blurred shots totally unnecessary. Even the editing and cuts make the film seem like a student production.

Yes, by the time you near the climax, the dots start making sense but its too late. And you thank the makers for not making the film lengthier. Despite the film being based on a true story as it claims, it alienates you to a major portion of its runtime.

PERFORMANCE

Farhan Akhtar has given a reasonably good performance as an actor. Remember this was the first time he faced camera on a big screen. Hence, his evolution as an actor from 2009-2019 should not be considered here. He suits the character well and remains in sync with the plot all throughout. Hence a thumbs-up to him for his confident portrayal. 

The fakir of Venice, film, review, hindi
Scenes from the film (image source: peepingmoon.com)

Annu Kapoor is in great form. His character is the one adding layers and variety to the story. He does his job with superb conviction, remains well within the boundaries of the characters, and gives a restrained act keeping you in awe of him. 

OTHER TECHNICALITIES

A R Rahman’s music is extremely well suited with the plot and actually takes the story forward at many points. The songs form a crucial part of the backdrop. It’s like an effortless parallel story-telling. Also, the background score by him does a major part of the conveying of the plot effectively. Hats off to the man for maintaining sanity in the otherwise scattering screenplay, wherever that is.

Deepti Gupta, Preetha Jayamaran, and Bakul Sharma’s camera has amazingly set the perspective right, only in the opening sequence. Just after that, it gets as bad as possible for any motion picture. Shaky movements, abrupt panning, in camera zooms, jarring close ups, blurred shots, haphazard compositions are all so frequent that you wish you should’ve operated the camera. Neither the underbellies of Mumbai nor the stunning landscapes of Venice have anything to do in such shoddy camerawork.

Editing by Bunty Nagi could have been much better. There are places where intelligent editing could have saved the film to an extent. Weird, absurd, and futile cuts disgust you often.

Production design is just okay. The sets, elements, colours are all so amateur and childish that you feel you are watching a 3rd grader’s project.

A strictly one-time watch (can be missed though), the film is a story of two socially different contrasting individuals and their understanding of the world and themselves. No promotions. Not much shows in any city across the country. Even with glitches, this film deserved better, not in terms of at least the footfall, but the presentation and treatment.

Rochak Saxena

Rochak Saxena a Mass Media Teacher, former journalist at DNA and an ardent lover of Hindi films - literally. The blog derives its name from the popular term ‘Willing Suspension of Disbelief’, most commonly used in the world of literature and cinema. Meaning to immerse yourself in an unreal world (where you know what you see on screen is fake) with a self-proclaimed/declared belief/wish to consider it real, the willing world becomes magical. It’s the same magic every Friday that drives Rochak to share things in the perspective that it needs to be observed with. Every film is different. And the difference needs to be cherished.

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