The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir

Out Now On-Demand

A fakir tricks his village into paying for him to fly to Paris to go to Ikea in this French-American drama directed by Ken Scott (Starbuck).


Directed by

  • Ken Scott('Delivery Man', 'Starbuck', 'Unfinished Business')

Written by

  • Luc Bossi
  • Jon Goldman
  • (based on the novel 'The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe' by Romain Puértolas)



Rating: M Offensive language

France, USA

Tamil movie star Dhanush plays Aja in this filmed version of improbably-titled bestselling novel The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe. Raised in the slums of Mumbai by his single mum (Amruta Sana), young Aja graduates from conning cash out of tourists to budding magician. Following the passing of his devoted mother, Aja sets off for Paris, seeking his mysterious, long-lost French father.

Disguised as a fakir and claiming magical powers, Aja makes his way to France, falls in love with Marie (Erin Moriarty), and gets locked in a closet and shipped to England. So begins a series of bizarre adventures and chance encounters traversing Europe and blending comic mishaps, magic realism, Bollywood musical and sentimental schmaltz. Director Ken Scott leans hard into the requisite rom-com and poor-kid-makes-good feels, lending proceedings a colourfully charismatic veneer, combining off-kilter fantasy and heartfelt humanity. With an amiable lead in Dhanush, and suitably lush travelogue cinematography, it’s a fun European trip, tinged with the harsh reality of the treatment of immigrants at the whims of customs officials, border police and bureaucratic bullies. It’s in these clashes of cruel truth and flights of fancy that the film teeters on a tightrope between social critique and light-hearted rom-com.

Whilst it doesn’t wholly ignore the plight of the poor, seeking refuge from inequality and conflict, its light-hearted touch trumps any serious message. Like its lead character, the film proves optimistic and full of enough feel-good humanity to make the journey, if not essential, then certainly worthwhile.

FilmInk (Australia)


...a delightful treasure hunt of wild coincidences told in a fairy-tale of a story...

Hollywood Reporter


A winsome if all-too-saccharine migration adventure.

Screen International


Never too edgy or too suspenseful or too violent, it just rolls along at a nice pace telling a nice story.

South China Morning Post


Where Puertolas' novel humanised immigrants and asylum seekers, the film too often falls back on broad racial archetypes.

Daily Telegraph (Australia)


[Aja and Nelly's] Bollywood dance routine brings the house down.

NZ Herald (Toby Woollaston)


A movie that does eventually deliver its parcel by the final act - even if it is tenuously wrapped. (Graeme Tuckett)


If you're in an uncynical and generous mood, this is a colourful crowdpleaser with a little on its mind to say.