Fan isn’t doing well at the Box Office. The signs were there on the opening day itself, the decline on Saturday was alarming and the fact that it couldn’t match even the Friday collections on Sunday made one wary of how the film would perform on the weekdays. The fact that the film dipped in a huge way on Monday meant that questions were being raised around its entry into the 100 crore club, something that was least of the problems that had seemed for the Shah Rukh Khan starrer before the release. The debate was around whether the film would stop at Rs. 150 crore or go beyond. However, a larger segment of audience has given the Maneesh Sharma film cold shoulder, something which is apparent in fall in collections on Tuesday as well.
So what went wrong?
“Fan has been rejected because people, and especially the masses, have not liked the film,” says distributor Rajesh Thadani, “Although Shah Rukh Khan is brilliant, there is no relief in the film. There are no songs or heroine either. Also, the second half and the climax have not been liked by most. Really, expectations were a lot more from the film.”
Not to forget the fact that not including chartbuster track ‘Jabra Fan’ in the film was professional harakiri. “Yes, audiences felt cheated for sure,” adds Rajesh.
The core (unbelievable) content of the film is coming for quite some flak.
Trade expert Atul Mohan opines, “How can you kill the very ‘Fan’ in the film? After all, it is because of him that you are what you are. Even if you really wanted to, Gaurav (the character of Fan), there could have been an emotional speech at the least. To begin with you fail to establish an emotional connect with Gaurav and then you bump him off. To make things worse, you have a mediocre and unconvincing second half. Not happening.”
Of course, ‘Jabra Fan’ exclusion is not being taken lightly. “Fans felt dejected and fooled when the most popular promotional went missing. There was no other item number, no glamour either.”
“There is not one, but many reasons for the underperformance of Fan,” says Harsh Jain (distributor and exhibitor), “First of all, the movie by itself is not good, especially the second half. People even missed the presence of a heroine in the film. The super hit song ‘Jabra Fan’ was not included in the film as well. I also feel that in some segment of the audience, there is a dislike for Shah Rukh Khan that cropped up after his controversial statements. By the way, I feel that is something really stupid for anyone to think like that, though I believe it is harming the trade is a big way.”
Adds distributor and film business analyst Girish Johar, “Despite Shah Rukh Khan’s performance being lauded, the audience did not accept the film as they felt that it was not well written. Furthermore, they found nothing new and exciting in the film. For certain portions, public may have felt them too to be illogical. Also, maybe they couldn’t digest the fact that Aryan Khanna, the star aka SRK, is arrogant and rude. I personally believe that the Jabra song, despite being heavily promoted, not being there also added to its woes.”
Ramesh Sippy, distributor, has an interesting observation to make, “The un-acceptance was of the very character of a ‘Fan’ hounding a male superstar, who in these days is surrounded by bodyguards. Moreover, it was a double role no less. The audience is in two minds who to sympathize with since both characters are played by the star himself.”
Some feel that there are factors other than the film’s content itself that played truant.
“The underperformance of Fan, when measured against the huge expectations that the audience had from the SRK-YRF partnership, can be attributed to multiple things. Releasing in a period that had the IPL, The Jungle Book (which had a huge draw among kids and therefore families) etc., Fan became ‘one of the many exciting options that the audience could choose from’. The division of the audience between all these options certainly had an impact on the Box Office performance of the film,” says Akshaye Rathi (exhibitor and distributor).
He goes on to add, “Besides this, a large section of the Indian audience is accustomed to a format of entertainment, which Fan completely strayed from. With absolutely no ‘relief’ in the form of songs, especially ‘Jabra Fan’, comical tracks etc., the movie was perhaps too grave and serious for the audience to digest in these times. Having said that, the film has still done fine by notching up the best weekend numbers of 2016 so far.”
This is the reason why no one is challenging Shah Rukh Khan’s stardom though as it is the content which is facing the most heat.
“To all who are saying that Shah Rukh Khan is on a downhill is completely wrong. All said and done, Fan started on a very strong and promising note just because of Shah Rukh Khan’s star power and that he is still the Baadshah of Bollywood. The opening numbers prove that fully. This huge opening is without the regular SRK dose of song, dance, masti, romance and masala. People yet thronged the theatres not only in India but globally too,” adds Girish.
Would a different ending have helped though?
“You never know! If only there was a happy ending with Aryan dancing on the title song ‘Jabra Fan’ at Gaurav’s wedding,” Atul says in retrospect, “It could well have been a fair tribute to a Fan as on one end the superstar is taking millions to dance at a wedding, and then on the other he pays his own homage to a Fan by dancing on his wedding. You never know, the prospects of Fan could have been better this way.”
Well, who knows!