Finding Fanny: Fitful Engagement

Film: Finding Fanny

Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Kapoor, Anjali Patil

Director: Homi Adajania

Director Homi Adajania created a stir with his ‘Being Cyrus’ and jingled the Box-office with ‘Cocktail’ so his star is on the advent in Bollywood. At least it was…until ‘Finding Fanny’ got released. Though peopled with thespians like Naseeruddin Shah, Pankaj Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia  and coupled with red hot Deepika Padukone and Arjun Kapoor, this film has very little to show for it.

Set in a fictitious sleepy haven in Goa, this film focuses its flimsy plot on five characters who come together in search of a long lost love. The luscious young widow Anjolina (Deepika) who lost her husband Garbo (Ranveer Singh) to an inadvertent choking accident on her wedding day is now living with her mother-in-law widowed/ abandoned Rosie Eucharista (Dimple Kapadia) in a well used, largish Goan home.

One fine day she comes across her older friend, Post master Ferdinand/ Freddy (Naseeruddin Shah) weeping over a letter and once she figures out the reason, decides to set out with a team of eccentrics, in search of Fanny (Anjali Patil), Ferdie’s long-lost unrequited love from 46 years ago.

Accompanying these three are just-returned-from-Mumbai, Savio (Arjun) and a painter Don Pedro Cleto Colaco (Pankaj) who lusts after Rosie for his muse… and Rosie’s cat.

Not much of a plot and too much of a vacuous justification to set out on a road trip that takes them several kilometers away in a barely running car on a wild goose chase before they come together again at a funeral. The typical Goan setting cinematographed with rapturous engagement by Anil Mehta, makes for a befitting backdrop to the quirky goings-on of this unusual menagerie of misfits.

Unfortunately there isn’t enough fodder to chew on- just some exaggerated inter-personal engagement that comes out as pre-meditated and showy rather than integral to the telling. There are some sublime, funny moments but they are not enough justification for this exercise in futility. It’s not as if the story is set in a time way back. It’s only set in a place that may not exist beyond the imagination of its creator.

Homi Adajania, being Parsi, brings a very eccentric Parsi sensibility to the characters he creates on screen. As a result all of them behave like aliens in a place more renowned for its ‘sussegad’ a.k.a relaxed attitude rather than fictitious eccentricities displayed in this film. Goan culture and sensibility is also far more liberal than exhibited in this picture.

When Savio dares to kiss Angie, he gets slapped for his forwardness. Angie is also projected as someone who has been dutiful to her mother-in-law and faithful to her dead husband’s memory. Rosie is verbally projected as someone who hates Ferdie but there is no visual sense of that hatred/antagonism.

When Rosie gets hold of an antique gun and shoots it off accidentally, what follows is completely untenable. The manner in which the director shows us the incident and its aftermath, reeks of sloppiness.

Quirky for quirk’s sake is pointless. This is a facetious attempt at quirky satire, much like Vishal Bharadwaj’s ‘Matru ki Bijli ka mandola’ – the characters are interesting and at times even entertaining for a bit, but they don’t add up to anything substantial or worthwhile. There’s no ‘take home’ from this!

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