The million dollar question - Kajol's back, paired with Aamir Khan for the first time in a Yashraj film with a hit director! So, does the film live up to it's hype? The answer is a loud and resounding NO! In fact, Fanaa is a shockingly inept film that makes you wonder what attracted the actors to it in the first place. Maybe the filmmakers themselves understood the film might have no repeat value and hence wanted to raise ticket prices to make as much money they can in the first week of its release.
A faulty story and screenplay, laughingly archaic dialogues, an excruciatingly slow pace and never ending length of 3 hours all combine to make this film a 'turkey.' The story starts with us being introduced to blind girl Zooni (a cute sequence as other girls laugh as her as she is facing the other way while saluting the National flag) in Kashmir. We follow Zooni to Delhi where she falls for Rehan (a mite too easily and conveniently especially as he comes across as a sleazy road side Romeo rather than a true charmer) and then suddenly towards the end of the first half out of nowhere the terrorist angle is brought in for the big twist in the interval. Now the story turns neutral as focus shifts to the IKF, the Anti-Terrorist Group Activities etc with Zooni conveniently forgotten for 7 years. Perhaps if this element had been ingrained earlier from the beginning of the film, it would have worked much better. Worse, key plot points are too, too predictable. Of course the only house the wounded Rehan is going to land up at is Zooni's. Of course, she has had a son out of that magical night they had together (an embarrassingly tacky love scene) and of course the precocious supposed-to-be-cute brat is called Rehan. And of course cringe-worthy sequences of father - son bonding follow before a predictable 'Mother Indiasque' climax.
There are hardly any redeeming scenes or moments you remember. If the first half is predictable and repetitive in following the romance, the second half 7 years later is the death knell for the film. Though an intriguing situation is thrown up in that Rehan recognizes Zooni and that the other Rehan is his son, Zooni doesn't know he is the same Rehan she fell in love with when she was blind. But the scenes played out to the key scene where she recognizes him (an awful antakshari sequence) fail to work or move you. And yes, loopholes in the script are aplenty. It appears for all the obvious 'affection' shown to Zooni, the parents are just waiting for someone to come and take their blind girl away from them so she's off their hands. How could they agree to her wedding just like that without meeting or knowing anything about Rehan? And Zooni too comes across as having come to Delhi just to find someone to latch on to. Later on when Rehan is recovering in her house and if he is on such an urgent mission and is trapped there only due to bad weather, why does he continue to stay on even when the weather has got better? And the less said about the comedy track (Vrijesh Hirjee) or the track between warring Anti-Terrorist Investigators Sharat Saxena and Tabu, the better. The Anti-Terrorist Squad in fact comes across as totally idiotic and short on brains. By the time the climax comes, you are too far out of the film and are really just waiting for it to end.
The two central actors are the only two real positives of the film as they gamely rise above the script and try to bring conviction to their characters. Kajol, in fact, is the life of the film. She shows us what the Hindi film industry has lost with her self imposed sabbatical. She is spot on in every scene and is able to switch moods with consummate ease and breathe life into every scene she is in. See her in the scene in the morgue where she has to identify Rehan's body or where she turns on him for making her live with the guilt that she was responsible for his death for 7 years or the elated abandon with which she dances when she's told that Aamir has come to watch the show! Aamir too is in reliably top form but his age is now starting to show. Also, unfortunately for him as the tour guide dropping cheap one liners and shitty poetry and declaring he doesn't believe in love, his role is simply an amalgamation of all that he has played in the past from Raja Hindustani, Rangeela, Dil Chahta Hai, Earth, Rang de Basanti and Mann so in that sense you are seeing nothing new in that part of his performance. Rishi Kapoor lends able support but what were those blink-and-you-miss appearances from Lara Dutta or Shiney Ahuja? Surely if you utilize actors in cameos, there has to be something interesting in the role or something vital to the plot. These walk on appearances serve neither purpose and amount to nothing.
On the technical side, Ravi K Chandran's cinematography though inconsistent has some splendid moments. Locales of Delhi and yes, even parts of Poland doubling for Kashmir have been captured extremely well. The music by Jatin Lalit is hummable (Chand Sifarish, Dekho Na) but by the time Mere Haath Mein comes along in the second half, though well tuned and nicely picturized, it brings the already faltering narrative to a dead halt.
All in all, a major misfire from Yashraj Films.