[tps_footer]Could-have-beens and should-have-beens – this is the basis for Homi Adajania’s quirky comedy told through a group of dysfunctional characters from the same Goan village. Finding Fanny, Adajania’s third feature and more in the mould of his debut film Being Cyrus, is a feel-good, often hilarious and sometimes tender take on second chances.
The story pivots around Ferdie, played delightfully by Naseeruddin Shah, a lonely postman who has spent his entire adult life believing his one true love, Fanny, rejected his marriage proposal which he had sent by mail. But one day, more than 40 years later, the letter returns to his house, undelivered. Ferdie feels a faint tinge of hope. Encouraged by the ethereal local young widow Angie (Deepika Padukone), they decide to set of in search of Fanny.
In the process, a motley group joins in – Savio (Arjun Kapoor in the best role of his career so far) as Angie’s childhood friend and heartbroken suitor is the only one who can drive the car. The car – a rusty old blue Dodge – belongs to an artist-in-residence Don Pedro (played devilishly by Pankaj Kapur), who has a penchant for fulsome women with wholesome derrieres. The object of his affection is Angie’s holier-than-thou mother-in-law Rosie (Dimple Kapadia). Oh, and Rosie’s cat comes along for the ride too – no doubt in order to set up some shocking gags! I love the line when Kapur describes Shah as the ‘Casanova of the Konkan’.
As they trundle through rice fields, past whitewashed churches, the characters begin experiencing a catharsis. In that sleepy village, life muddled on, but on the road, there is no getting away from the truth. However, in Adajania and Kersi Khambatta’s script, we are given a glimpse to the layers but they are never unravelled. The story stays within the confines of comedy, hinting at more but never scratching below the surface. However Adajania exhibits assured control over his material and actors, exorcising the ghost of the hugely problematic Cocktail.
Anand Tiwari as the village priest adds a cheeky touch of humour. The only superfluous character is the clichéd unwashed Russian leftover in Goa.
Anil Mehta’s cinematography and the performances also lift the film. While you expect nothing less from the veterans, it’s Padukone and Kapoor who surprise with their comfortable English dialogue delivery – not a hint of English elocution-type rendition here, thank god!
Finding Fanny is fun and heart-warming. Enjoy!