Fan. The movie. I anticipated this film with child like enthusiasm, ever since I heard of its plot, few months back. I credit it to reaching a point in my life of getting extremely impatient with mediocrity. People pulling half-ass attempts at “creativity” left and right, and then label it as – killing it! God, I hate that phrase. Specially when one loser tells another loser: “Wow, you killed it!”, underneath their Instagram pic showcasing an attempt at nothing. Can we kill all those that are “killing it” daily? Thank you.

I can write a hundred page think piece on people and their unawareness with what kind of project you need to do/create/be a part of today to stand out; so i’ll leave that subject for some other times. I want to touch on FAN and what questions did it evoke. The subject of fandom, stardom, fame vs. success is something that strikes a cord with me.

For those of you not familiar it, Fan is the movie about 50 year old Bollywood superstar and his 20-something, eager, obsessive fan. The superstar is played by Shah Rukh Khan, a Bollywood superstar. The star is not based on him, the star IS him. All the footage used in the movie, is real Khan footage. If you don’t know who Khan is, check out one of my previous posts to get acquainted. But this is were it gets epic, Shah Rukh Khan is also playing his 25 year old fan, with the help of prosthetics done by three times Oscar Winning special make-up effects artist Greg Cannom, as well as VFX & special effects. Fan is not referencing or is based on De Niro’s The Fan.

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As I already mentioned, Fan takes on stardom vs. fandom. Fan takes on the sub-culture of Khan’s real fandom, and it gives a strong message. I will not go into much detail about that and spoil the movie for you, but also because, everyone will receive this message differently, depending on which end of spectrum you are.

What is the spectrum? I read something a long time ago, and it stayed with me: “There are two kinds of people, the ones with a mass mentality and the ones with individual mentality. It solely depends on how we are inside, irrelevant to social status, wealth or education; some people are just confident, with super emphasised individuality, whereas some have that mass, group, follower mentality. Individuals rely on themselves and don’t need validation. Whereas mass mentality needs to “feed off” of someone they admire, but also “blame” them with same resolve, if they don’t get the expected validation”.

The mass mentality always puzzled me. Adoring someone you don’t know, screaming, all those messages underneath star’s pictures – “I loooove you, pleaseeee notice meeee, please come visit Brasiiiil so I can seee you”….i mean why? Is the star going to read that, tell you he/she loves you back, pack the bags to Brasil and come have tequila shots with you? Surely, you know the answer to that question.

I read a hilarious story somewhere once. About the guy breaking in into Shah Rukh’s house. He jumped into the pool, took a swim, before the guards saw him. They called Shah Rukh to see if he wanted to press charges, and then the guy said – “I don’t want your picture, or autograph, I don’t even want to meet you, I just wanted to take a swim in your pool and leave”. Brilliant. See that right there? Balls. Dare I say even strangely meaningful? Surely not submissive. (please don’t break into anyone’s house on my watch!)

I always had supreme issues with submissive. I might be a tough crowd, but I just don’t speak it. I speak inspired. I don’t have idols, i’m not really a fan of anyone. But what I am is greatly inspired with people. Adoration scares me, because it so close to possible hatred. And as much love and adoration Khan enjoys in the world, there’s also that other side; he endures unreasonable hatred, gets his words twisted left and right, gets boycotted at the box office as a result, whereas his celeb counterparts almost get away with murder! Why?

I had someone told me once:

Contrary to popular belief, people are not going to hate you for good looks, or having a lots of money, or even success; as much as they will hate you for having a relentless drive, energy, unbreakable spirit, ability to live free of social norms or any rules! People are not jealous for something that’s unattainable to them, they are jealous at something that is attainable to them, but they don’t have the resolve (read, balls) to BE it.

Think about it. People are not jealous of what you HAVE. People are jealous of what you ARE.

And this is where Khan is God. And why Fan is brilliant. He will call you up on shit, give you a message that might not be the thing you want to hear for your end of spectrum, all while self-deprecating himself and poking fun at his own mythology. But is he really? Poking fun at his own stardom? Or poking fun at you, you who complained about him doing the same movies over and over; fine, he will give you a different movie, but he’ll make sure he packs the footage of all 25 years of his career in it! Did you call him up on being too old to romance 20 year old actresses? He will give you Fan, raise an army of experts to create the young face, in unrelated subject, but it makes you think, isn’t it? He made you think! God, he can VFX his face until he’s 70, look the way he fucking pleases, and romance whoever he wants!

You just can’t win. He is too aware, too present, too ahead of everyone. He will make you see one thing, while drilling space for something completely different, down the line. He’s a homie, down on your level; cleverly reminding you ever so often – but not really.

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And he can. He deserved it. He did his time. He made it all on his own. On his on resolve. And that’s the message of the movie, universal for both ends of spectrum. What he actually verbally points out in the film. Don’t be a fan of my glamorous life. Be a fan of my struggle, the path that took me to this life. Be inspired with how I got here, all on my own resolve and hard work. Not with being here.

Epic career. Achievements. Razor sharp wit. Endless charm. Sex appeal. Movement. People are usually one of these things. Or few, if lucky. No one is ever all of these things. Sheer superiority. Its been established. But his present, however Zeus-like it might be (Hi Issy!), it’s never as inspiring as how he got here.

As I said, I don’t do following; I do inspired. I welcome inspiration from anywhere I can. All kinds of people. The tricky part is how to find the inspiration. People are usually unaware, not concentrated on the world around them, and they see themselves as the center of the universe, instead of realizing we are a part of it. It’s all a correlation. If you’re not seeking it, you’ll never get inspired. And those of you who think it’s crap and you don’t need inspiration, you are wrong. The power of inspiration can transform your whole life.

When I discovered Shah Rukh Khan, I was in a very bad state of being fed up for having to constantly explain myself to the people that are not like me. Constant, every day misunderstandings, not being alike, people persistently not getting you; it took a huge toll on me. The TIMING where something enters your space is a exact right time, if you are aware to pay attention to it. I discovered him when I was about to blow my brains out, or the brains of people around me. Surely something was about to be blown. Then I watched a movie to see someone I have met being in it, and by chance, it was a movie with Shah also in it. 

When you’re heavy hearted, when things bother you in life, look around yourself. At the living people around you, celluloid people in front of you, pay attention to art being exposed to you, whether its a movie, book, anything, be aware, when you’re about to lose it, something is there to scream at you, translate a message you need to hear.

I finished a movie and went on to research this person. An actor who went on to do masters degree? Education turns me on, immensely. He won a Sword of Honor in his school, given to the students that are best in sports, academics, debate; all-round performance. He doesn’t come from acting family, or money, he lost his parents early in his life, came to Bollywood and created this legendary career all on his own. He’s tough. Razor-sharp. Arrogant. But extremely humble. He calls up his haters, on national TV, to come to his house and tell him shit face to face, instead of yapping on Twitter. He publicly slaps a colleague when he’s trying to rile him up at the party (not promoting violence, but come on, don’t you sometimes want to slap the annoying outta people?! Admit it.). He’s a demi-god in Eastern part of the Globe, yet he’s a true homie that invests an unbelievable amounts of time and energy on his fans. He lunches with them. Dances with them. He doesn’t sleep. He’s always late. He likes to hug people to see if their hug fits.

Then there was his Yale speech. There never was more inspiring material, communicated on truly simple, individual level, that told me more about life and its perils, than this speech.

Why is this inspiring to me? Because this person, a poster boy for sheer domination, as early as from the school days, managed to achieve all that he did in life, all while being superior in every aspect of life. Isn’t that normal, you say? Superior, equals success, right? Sounds like logical sentence. But not quite. Most likely, it’s actually the opposite. People don’t like superiority. They do once it’s already established, when they can’t do anything about it, but only want to be associated with your superiority at that stage. But if you show any signs of it while growing up, while trying to get there, people will shut you down. Try to disable you.

For someone that’s been disputed all my life, for being great at art, math; competing level, sports; competing, national level, for being unconventional, not giving shit what society tells me I should do, looking the way I do, having more energy and life in me than all the people around me combined; I have spent all my life apologizing for it. All of it. I’ve been stopped in my track, hated, manipulated, trash-talked. I’ve lost jobs, opportunities, friendships; you name it. I felt such hatred towards me, still do, for the reasons that even those hating me can not pin down. And doesn’t even matter that I’m actually a nice person, once you bother discovering it, who helps people more than I help myself; apparently, people don’t like to be reminded of what they aren’t, or can’t do.

How did this guy do it? How did he managed to carve this legendary career, when there was surely everyone and their mother out there to try to prevent him? I still have no answer to that. And I might never will. I will probably research him to the end of times, trying to ingest his essence and try to make sense out of it.

In the mean time, and coming back to our point of Stardom vs. Fandom, and why you shouldn’t be masses who adore someone’s status, life, fame, wealth; but instead appreciate their art and get inspired by their path to here; how did I get inspired? How did he help me in my crisis moment, when I was about to lose it?

By “telling” me I’m ok. I’m not weird. And I should own who I am and stop apologizing for it. He didn’t talk to me sitting across me, but he said something, he put in in the universe, into the world to fly. And it came to me.

If you know me, you’d know that the two main things about me is not sleeping, and being late. I’m an introvert person, even tho I’m a life of the party when I’m out, where I draw my strength is from being alone. I’m lucky that I don’t need much sleep, and can function perfectly with 3-4-5 hour sleep. Other then not needing it, I really don’t have time for 8 hour sleeps. There’s so many things to learn, research, discover; those things I do at night, after the regular day finishes, is the things that keep me sane. Truly, I would lose my mind, if I don’t have that time for myself, when everyone’s sleeping; pitch black, no noise, where I can read, watch, learn.

Shah Rukh Khan also does not sleep. Few hours. He says – ” I like to watch movies in the darkness of my car, at 3-4 am, or read, or just research stuff online. Those things prepare me for the next day, more than sleep does.”

So why I needed to hear something like that from someone else, to feel ok? Because people are shitty. Because all those “normal” folk love to “torture” everyone that’s not like them. Because they feel challenged with everything that’s different then them, even thought it absolutely doesn’t change their lives in any way.

All my life I had to explain my sleeping habits to people. Why? Why? Why? And how can you. And to my parents who for 20 years, every time I come home, point out how I don’t sleep. And you don’t sleep. And you never sleep. Do I tell them 36 things they do that’s shitty? No.

Lateness. And that one is controversial, I get it. But sorry if I don’t feel being 15 minutes is the end of the fucking world. I’m late. I need to be super concentrated not to be. It doesn’t come to me as natural as to other people. I’m doing gazillion things, I’m curious about everything, I have three careers, I have a need to experience it all, know it all; I’m dazed in my own world, and sometimes it physically hurts to get out of my world and join real life. My body is slow, because it’s resisting. 

Shah Rukh is known for being late. And, naturally, always gets flack for it. Even at his status. One of his legendary responses was – “Yes I’m late. But then I stay 2 hours later with you (press), because I was late. I said I was sorry. For wasting your time. Now let’s move on. Because why point it out 5 times? Do I point out how you wasted my time asking me really dumb questions?”

Most of you are not going to agree with this one. And I don’t expect you to. Totally understand. But see, that’s the beauty of this realization. We don’t need to agree. You don’t need to get me. And I don’t need to apologize. I don’t need to feel bad for being 15 minutes late, and people who are liars, cheaters, and overall terrible people to give me flack for 15 minutes, like the world just went down. I just don’t agree with world’s obsession with time, time is nothing to me, and while I’ll try to be as respectfully as I can with other people’s time, no one is going to convince me lateness is an equivalent to attempted murder. 

Discovering there’s someone like me, and not just anyone but someone legendary who managed to create something legendary, while being alike, tells me it’s possible. Tells me it’s about my attitude, and not people that are trying to shut me down. They shouldn’t matter; they still try. But this realization helps me remove it from my equation. It’s about me owning it. I started to talk like him, with the firmness in my voice, and saw a tremendous change in people’s reactions toward me. Security. Reminding yourself who you are. OWNING IT.

Which takes me to his most epic quote that summarizes EVERYTHING –

I believe I’m the one with God. I’m not saying it because I became a big star. I became a big star because I always believed like that.

Owning what we are. Believing. Sole reason why we succeed or fail. Trust in ourselves and the process.

And the last one. Adore the last one. Bowing out with this last one –

And everything happens if you’re happening.

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Miranda Vidak

Designer. Creative Director. Founder & Designer of Moodytwin Brand. Founder of Rhaw Studio.

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