Shah Rukh Khan
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For anyone who has followed Sohail Khan’s career as a director, Freaky Ali is going to surprise you. Son of the legendary Salim Khan, Sohail seems to have finally come to his own with the film. For once he is not looking to ride on star power or overt commercialisation. While at the idea level, possibly his Jai Ho was more interesting, with Freaky Ali he has managed to better his execution skills.
Freaky Ali is not really the most unique story. Like most sports film it has an underdog making it big. Its protagonist, Ali, is a lower middle class businessman who sells cheap undergarments. Ali stumbles upon his golfing talent and he is goaded by an older neighbour to actually give the sport a chance. Like most sports films there is a rise, some dramatic moments and a happy ending.
The writers, Sohail and Raaj Shandilya, does not aim too high with the screenplay, keeping it just about functional. What they rely on are dialogues and keeping the characters true to themselves.
The biggest strength of the film are the performances. Nawazuddin Siddiqui manages to keep his over-the-top side in check, keeping his character believable. His spontaneity is a boon as usual. Arbaaz Khan plays second fiddle, and does well. Seema Biswas and Asif Basra shine in a couple of scenes. Amy Jackson does not have much to do. And then you have the surprise Jackie Shroff act, which you can’t figure the need for.
If we talk about directorial blunders, there are far too many on this film. For example, he tends to overlook the background action when his primary characters are on screen, resulting in unintended comedy. Also he makes a golf tournament look like a joke. As a director Sohail has done a far less-flawed Pyaar Kya To Darna Kya, which was the second film he made. Yet with Freaky Ali he shows glimpses that possible he could do better. Where he scores is his ability to keep away unnecessary melodrama that can creep into a film.
Freaky Ali is intended to be a fun experience. And thanks to the performances and the lack of melodrama it is just that - a light-hearted entertainer.
By Noyon Jyoti Parasara
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