After a long wait, the Fakir has come to Hyderabad. For the uninitiated, it is based on Romain Puertolas’ ‘The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe’.
It is the story of a poor man/ con artiste from India, who convinces people that he has super powers, and happens to travel the world because of certain (mis)fortunes. This portrays Dhanush’s entry into Hollywood.
Ajatashatru Lavash Patel/ Aja (Dhanush) is a street magician in the by-lanes of Mumbai. After his mother’s (Amruta Sant) untimely death, he sets off on a journey to find his estranged father in Paris with a fake 100 Euro note.
He takes up temporary and free (illegal) residence in the renowned Swedish furniture store IKEA. He meets Marie (Erin Moriarty) and promises to meet her at the Eiffel Tower. Lady luck, however, has other plans. His boarding – a wardrobe is transported to the Kingdom of the Queen. He is promptly detained as an illegal immigrant.
This starts his journey around Europe that include a Louis Vuitton suitcase to Rome, Italy, and a hot air balloon to Tripoli, Libya, while being pursued by Parisian taxi-driver Gustave Palourde (Gérard Jugnot), whom he swindled out of a cab fare back in Paris.
Along the way, he befriends a Sudanese man named Wiraj (Barkhad Abdi), an illegal immigrant, whom he met on the way to London. Not to mention, landing in Rome hidden in a large suitcase on a chartered flight with an actress, Nelly (Berenice Bejo). Will he rendezvous with the ‘pari’ is the question.
Along the way (assuming a tribute to Bollywood), we have a forgettable musical intermezzo by an immigration officer. In contradistinction to the book, the film often falls back on broad racial archetypes rather than showing humanised immigrants and asylum seekers. Director Ken Scott could have gone the extra mile to showcase the tragedies of illegal immigrants in this age, but plays it safe.
Hearty Singh as the young Aja makes quite an impression with his limited screen time. Dhanush is Dhanush. He is always there to lift it up when the script tends to fall short. With a reputed list that boasts of names of Oscar nominees Berenice Bejo (The Artist) and Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), it is Dhanush who saves the day. That is what he is expected to do. It is Dhanush-centric. It is about Aja’s tryst with destiny and karma. It does make for a fun watch.
This Fakir has tricks up his sleeves!