Film Review: THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF THE FAKIR (India/France/Belgium 2018) **

The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Poster

Ajatashatru Lavash Patel has lived all his life in a small Mumbai neighborhood tricking people with street magic and fakir stunts. He sets out on a journey to find his estranged father, but instead gets dragged on a never-ending adventure.


Ken Scott


Romain Puértolas (screenplay), Luc Bossi (screenplay) | 3 more credits »

The term fakir is more unfamiliar to North Americans than say the British who likely termed the word since India was part of the British Empire.  The best example of a fakir, as often seen in British comics, is the Indian with turban blowing on a pipe with a snake rising to its music from a basket.  In the fantasy comedy THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF THE FAKIR adapted from Puértolas’ novel “The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe,” that came out in 2014, the fakir is Aja (Dhanush), a magician who     performs magic tricks in crowd while pickpocketing unsuspecting watchers in the bustling city of Mumbai.  But he was son of a is ale mother who embarks on a journey to Paris in search of his father, after mummy passes away and yes, he has given away his sacred cow after seeking advice from her.  Any book with a title as odd as thine, must surely attract a lot of readers, but the title of the film has been toned down a little.

Quebecois director of crowd pleasing films like STARBUCK and THE GRAND SEDUCTION i an appropriate choice to heal this crowd please given his track record.

Any fantasy story with a message despite the fact that it is fictional fantasy requires some credibility int he story or the message will fail to come through.  It is unfortunately that the source material itself involves a journey of chance from one city to another all over the world but Scott’s direction does not help either.  He does not attempt to normalize any of the fantasy situations.  Even the main message of the film met through, through the protagonists’s mother in a photograph talking to him.  

The film on the positive side, contains an impressive list of international stars.  The lead himself (Dhanush) is a popular Bollywood actor though people outside India would likely not heard of him.  Thee is a complete Bollywood style dance midway during the film allowing him to strut hi Bollywood expertise.  Though the sequence is non-consequential to the story, it still makes one of the more entertaining moments in the film.  Berenice Bejo, the Argentine born French actress (star of her husband’s THE ARTIST, the Oscar Winner for Best Film) plays a movie star who befriends Aja as does Somolian Actor Barked Abdi (Academy Award nominee for Best Supporting Actor as one of the pirates in CAPTAIN PHILLIPS) playing a Somolian refugee.  French actor Gerard Jugnot (almost unrecognizable sporting hair) as the cab driver cheated out of his cab fare by Aja.

THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY OF THE FAKIR ends up feeling totally fake in its execution, message and entertainment.  But the film would be enjoyed by the lesser demand audience and the film did go on to win the Audience Award for Best Comedy at the Barcelona Sant-Jordi International Film Festival