These days quite a few foreign directors are making films with Indian backdrop and Indian actors. Danny Boyle made Slum dog millionaire, Majid Majidi made Beyond The Clouds with Ishaan Khattar etc. Now Canadian director Ken Scot has made The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir with south superstar Dhanush in the lead. The film is based on the French novel by the same name by Romain Puertolas. The unconventional looks of Dhanush help the script and his innocence makes the film believable. The director seems to believe in Karma and that reference keeps cropping up now and then from various sects of people. The movie literally travels from Mumbai in India to France, England, Spain, Libya, Italy and back.
Ajatshatru Lavash Patel (Dhanush) aka Aja is born to a poor mother (Amrutha Sant) in slums of Mumbai. In school days Aja finds out a way to make money by performing as a Fakir using magic tricks. He starts earning with his two cousins, who con foreigners and bystanders, but the police keeps chasing them. His mother dies and he finds out, through an old letter found in mother’s belongings, that his father lives in Paris. He ventures out to Paris with a passport and a fake 100 euro note in search of his father. On reaching Paris he reaches a famous furniture store, Bergman Bogart. He spots Marie (Erin Moriarty) there and falls for her. She too finds him interesting and they decide to meet next day at Eiffel Tower. But destiny has something else in mind. Aja gets exported to England that night with Sudanese Illegal immigrants for a company. Then his journey continues further to Spain, Libya, Italy and back to Paris. In between he comes across assortment of characters, including an European star Nelly (Berenice Bejo), and he goes through humorous and dangerous situations. But the Mumbai street smartness helps him wriggle out of difficulties. What happens to his lady love? Does immigration laws trouble him? The answers lies in The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir.
The screenplay jumps swiftly around locations with the help of animated guide map. The director keeps the narrative lively and funny, but not matching up to his earlier sperm donor comedy Starbuck, despite Aja facing calamities. He has infused a few gags which work reasonably. Also we have a bollywood style dance number too. Like all foreign directors Ken Scott does not allow audience to forget Indian poverty. The movie takes a dig at different countries’ immigration policies too. The true appeal lies in Dhanush’s winsome personality and his innocent portrayal. His english too helps movie to be more entertaining. He looks naive but his winsome turn as a lost foreigner in Europe is appealing. Erin Moriarty and Berenice Bejo are very good in the movie and also Abel Jafri, who plays Aja’s Sudanese friend. The production values are of high standard and the music and background score is appealing.
The Extraordinary Journey Of The Fakir, which tells the story of poverty and illegal immigrants and thwarted romance, is charmingly entertaining.