Freaky Ali cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Arbaaz Khan, Seema Biswas, Amy Jackson, Jas Arora
Freaky Ali director: Sohail Khan
The first thing that strikes you when Freaky Ali begins is what an odd-bod collective this enterprise appears to be: to have Nawazuddin Siddiqui play the lead is a masterstroke, but to have Seema Biswas play his mother? Like, really?
This apparent randomness wouldn’t have been such a deterrent if the plot had some meat to it because Nawaz is quite capable of carrying a film on his own. But within a few minutes, we know that it is a David-Goliath clash between a ‘sadak-chaap’ fellow and a suited-booted character. The novelty of it being played out on a golf course dissipates in a few rounds, and it becomes the usual ‘tamasha’ between goons and good ‘uns, and haves and have-nots, its good-natured daftness drowning in silliness.
There’s a ‘message’ that’s dinned in to us via Nawaz’s ‘ordinary’ man. That no one, even a guy who hawks undergarments at a road-side stall, is worthy of contempt. That golf may be seen as a sport for the wealthy, but there’s no stopping anyone from becoming a champion. All you need is skill. And will. The poor vs rich clash is set up for laughs, and we are amused to begin with, but then the amusement dries up.The one person who keeps us watching is Nawaz, who busily shakes a leg and romances a pretty girl (Amy Jackson), when he is not sinking a hole-in-one much to the consternation of his wealthy rival (Jas Arora).
Watch: Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Freaky Ali Audience Reaction
His connect with the audience is instant, and he keeps it going with wry one-liners which he delivers with consummate ease. It’s also nice to see him in a light-hearted role : except perhaps for his blundering TV reporter in Bajrangi Bhaijaan, who is a hoot, he has been condemned to dark, twisted turns in dark, twisted flicks.
In addition, to see him command the screen in a solo turn is a delight : he is our first true subaltern `hero’ who has moved from the fringes to claim the centre. If only this were a better film.