‘Finding Fanny‘ is fashioned like a serio-comic journey, featuring a wooly romantic, a lusty painter, a middle-aged matron, a lithe maiden, and a sulky young fellow. It is an unlikely bunch, getting together for an unlikely reason, and in the way of this kind of film, we are supposed to fall in love with the characters and their quirks, as they wind their way towards their destination and discovery.
Trouble is, the film is patchily quirky. An undelivered love letter comes back to the sender, more than four decades after the fact, and it sets into motion this little tale, which leaves you both smiling, when the whimsy is just right, and impatient, when it turns flatly prosaic. (You want to see how it’s done, watch Wes Anderson’s latest and most magnificent creation, ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’).
When the going is good, it is excellent. The little Goan village where the action takes place is lovely, its sun-dappled paths leading us to the cluttered abodes of Ferdie (Naseer) the postman, the recipient of the undelivered letter, of Rosie and Angie (Dimple and Deepika respectively), the two women who live without their men in resigned companionship, and the garage run by Savio (Arjun Kapoor) which houses a run-down car.
The characters set off to find long-lost love: the journey isn’t too long as the crow flies, but many home truths are uncovered as the miles go by. I really enjoyed Naseer’s performance in this one: he is as unmannered and unburdened by tics as he can be, and as bashful as a young lover in the first flush.
I’d pick Arjun Kapoor as a near-match. Arjun Kapoor has the right physicality for his role, and he makes the best of Savio, who once and forever loves the dimpled Angie, who , in turn, turns to him for some answers: Deepika is getting to be a relaxed performer, learning to put aside her rangy beauty to reach inside for something true.
Dimple Kapadia shows just how sharp she can be, especially in a sequence towards the end where she fills the screen, but is encumbered by a dissatisfied curve to the mouth and an evidently heavily-padded posterior: yes, there are all kinds of fannies in the world. As Don Pedro, the florid painter with a thing for oversized bottoms, Pankaj Kapoor is mostly overdone flourish, rescuing his act with one great one, which is the gasp-inducing shocker of the film.
Adajania is back on the ground he had sketched in his debut ‘Being Cyrus’ ( we will forgive him his ‘Cocktail’), and that’s a good thing. But he is still honing his craft. ‘Finding Fanny’ flies true when the director manages to imbue the film with the right dream-drowsing quality, but it isn’t anchored enough : the darkness slides by much too swiftly.
And that makes it a slight watch, occasionally pleasurable, but not entirely memorable.
Two and a half stars (2.5)