Movie review – Freaky Ali – At 100 minute duration, this Nawazuddin film would have been a lot more fun
By Joginder Tuteja
Can Nawazuddin Siddiqui pull a film on his shoulders? Well, after watching Freaky Ali, one can pretty much nod the head in approval. The man shows that he can play just about any role right. From being a serious villain in Badlapur to being a comic villain in Kick to being a strong supporting character in Bajrangi Bhaijaan and now the central protagonist of Freaky Ali, he gets the whole ‘sur’ perfectly right. Just for the confidence that writer-director Sohail Khan had in Nawazuddin Siddiqui warrants good acknowledgment. In fact not many would have thought of putting their money on Nawazuddin as a hero of a film and still all three Khans brothers have come in complete support of the man. For this, the team deserves full marks.
This is the reason why one wonders why the antics of Nawazuddin were not further utilised to the fullest in the film. When everything was playing out so perfectly well in the first half, why was too much of golf and elements of prolonged drama put into the second half when a crisper narrative would have made the film so much better. In fact it won’t be wrong to say that instead of 120 odd minutes, if the film would have been made as a 100 minute affair then it would done wonders as a final product.
That’s because you totally love what Sohail does with Nawazuddin in the first 60 minutes of the film. Right from his introduction to the extended scene played at the Maharani’s home to the camaraderie that he enjoys with partner-in-crime Arbaaz Khan to the fun they have with Asif Basra (who plays the caddie) to the face-off he has with top golfer Jas Arora, you grab everything that comes your way. It is fun and has several taali-maar moments in there. As a matter of fact Sohail also stays in the 90s mode for number of scenes (especially with the whole bhaigiri that plays with comic baddie Nikitin Dheer on scene). There are one liners and the game of one upmanship galore, something that you like in this battle of an underdog.
However, the laughs suddenly evaporate in the second half. Yes, there are occasion smiles and a few chuckles too. However, the fun element that was the core of the first half isn’t really in great force out there. Instead, the proceedings turn dramatic and though (thankfully) they are not boring, you would have liked the funny antics and one liners (written quite well by Raj Shandilya) more out there.
What you get to see though is a second half which is entirely dominated by golf. For an average person, the game of golf is hardly comprehendible. Now to have it take over the screen for a good part of the second half is way too much. Unlike cricket which is relatable to one and all, golf – although presented as a racy sport (which it isn’t actually) – starts getting a lot repetitive. So two shots begin to play alternatively right through – an aerial shot of the ball being hit and then a slide into the hole. It just goes on and on!
Now if only it was Nawaz instead occupying the screen more (though he is there on the scene), Freaky Ali would have covered a much larger distance. This isn’t all as the character of Amy Jackson could either have been fleshed better or get completely chopped off the narrative. She has practically nil contribution to make to the film. Instead, it is Arbaaz Khan and Asif Basra who are much more important to the film and both of them do a really good job.
The film is a decent affair and can be given a comfortable watch. However, do not expect the feel of a rollicking first half to carry through for the film’s entire duration.