Cinema

Finding fanny: Lost and found

LOVE STORIES A scene from "Finding Fanny"  

How far will you go to find love? After a Bollywood “Cocktail”, Director Homi Adajania drinks neat and manages to capture the quirks of love and longing with lust playing hide and seek. On the surface it appears as nothing more than absurd humour highlighting the eccentricities of five Goans caught in a time warp. But as the wrap unravels, Homi delivers the bitter uncertainties of life in the form of a sweet pill without letting us know what he is up to. Like a seasoned magician he takes the carpet off our feet when you least expect it.

It is a kind of film which keeps a smile on your face but at the same time makes you feel guilty about how pride can ruin budding relationships. It shows us the shapes unrequited love can take. It is this twitchy feeing that makes this screwball comedy special. Not many films manage to make the heart twinge these days, when, like many things, emotions are also manufactured.



FINDING FANNY

Genre: Comedy
Director: Homi Adajania
Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Kapoor, Pankaj Kapur, Dimple Kapadia
Bottomline: More than just a road movie, it’s a journey to clear the cobwebs that most hearts develop.


Set in Pocolim, a fictional Goan village where change is not the only constant in life, an aging postman Ferdie cries one night when he finds a letter that he posted more than four decades has returned to him. It is a letter where Ferdie had spelt out his emotions for Stephanie Fernandes (Anjali Patil). A young angelic widow Angie (Deepika Padukone) helps him to find Stephanie or Fanny by putting together a journey where they are joined in by Angie’s frenzied widowed mother in law Rosie (Dimple Kapadia). They need a car and a driver. So they lure Don Podro (Pankaj Kapur), a painter in love with Rosie’s voluptuous body and the brooding Savio (Arjun Kapoor), who was in love with Angie but was too proud to express it.

Rosie comes with her cat Nareus, who soon becomes a metaphor for what these travellers are hiding. As the masks come off, mirth and melancholy become intimate bedfellows, best captured in the scene where Angie gives Savio a polite dressing down after making love. Or the one where Don Podro discovers that his passion for Rosie is only skin deep.

One has learnt that the screenplay is drawn from a yet to be published novel by Homi’s long time collaborator Kersi Khambatta. Though it doesn’t guarantee but when you draw from a well soaked material, chances are that the characters don’t crumble easily. Also the dialogues don’t slip into contrivances. The film is made in English and there is not a single moment where you feel that these people are putting up a façade. There is a Hindi dub version playing in theatres as well. This critic watched both and found that not much has lost in translation. It is partly because Homi has retained crucial words and sentences in English and largely because he hasn’t relied only on words to express the quirks of the characters. A lot has been captured through expressions and he has got the cast to deliver the goods. Take the opening scene where Ferdie discovers that the letter never reached Fanny. Before Homi spill the details, Naseer conveys the pain of the unrequited love through his mien. Seasoned cinematographer Anil Mehta turns the languid pace of the place into a work of art and French composer Mathias Duplessy tunes and arrangements generate the Portuguese flavour even when the lines go the “Mahi vey”.

With “Cocktail”, Homi established that Deepika has more to her than just a pretty face. Angie is the opposite of Veronica but as we found an Angie in Veronica, here we discover a streak of Veronica in Angie. Playing an irresistible dame who will say sorry before slaying, Deepika takes off the fineries of Bollywood and you can sense the freedom from baggage in her performance. Arjun shows restraint with his scowls and for once sounds genuine in his anguish. Kapur doesn’t allow the flamboyant Don Podro to go over the top but it is Dimple who lends scars to this otherwise pretty-faced film as the lady whose fragile ego and frantic disposition often lead to funny results. Things get untangled rather easily towards the end making one feel that Homi hasn’t paid heed to don Podro’s advice – ‘In art there is no compromise.’ Still there are many reasons to get lost!

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 4:45:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/finding-fanny-review/article6404665.ece

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