The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir (2018)
Directed by: Ken Scott | 96 minutes | adventure, comedy | Actors: Dhanush, Bérénice Bejo, Erin Moriarty, Barkhad Abdi, Gérard Jugnot, Ben Miller, Abel Jafri, Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse, Kay Greidanus, Amruta Sant, Vinod Jaywant, Naman Jain, Svar Kamble, Rewanth Patil
How does a person’s life develop if he is dealt the ‘coincidence’ card? That’s the starting point of director Ken Scott’s entertaining feel-good movie “The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir” (“Delivery Man”, “Starbuck”), based on Romain Puértolas’ bestseller, “The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe”. Fakir? Ikea wardrobe? Yes, just a matter of ‘go with the flow’, one development follows another.
Main character Ajatashatru Lavash Patel, Aja for short (played by Bollywood star Danush), is poor and lives with his hard-working single mother in Bombay. After school, he and his two nephews earn a little extra on the street with magic tricks and petty theft. Aja happens to see an IKEA catalog and becomes fascinated by the offer.
His mother’s dream is to visit Paris one day. When she dies, Aja takes her ashes to the French capital. He visits an IKEA store where he falls head over heels in love with an American, Marie (Erin Moriarty, ‘Captain Fantastic’). Out of necessity, because he is without money, he spends the night in a wardrobe. Then developments follow each other in quick succession and it seems to become a kind of ‘Around the world in 80 days’. Via London, Barcelona, Rome and Tripoli, Aja returns to Paris. Here he hopes to run into Marie…
Aja, now a teacher in his native country, tells this incredible story in India to three juvenile delinquents to give them the choice: either go to jail for four years or go to school every day and learn even more from beautiful stories. The police officer who accompanies the boys asks whether it was all true. Aja answers: “The most important things do.” For change “coincidence” into “karma” and everything will work itself out again.
‘The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir’ is an infectious mix of color, action, pace and fun made jokes. Furthermore, the protagonists are ‘easy on the eye’ and they play their roles believable. It is not a laugh out loud film, but one that knows how to entertain the full playing time. In the supporting roles, Ben Miller (as a singing English police officer) and Barkhad Abdi (‘Captain Philips’, ‘Eye in the Sky’) stand out.