Bollywood Film Review “Freaky Ali” 1

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First, the Recap:

When you’re stuck at the bottom and there’s no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, how does one rise to better things? Faith, family, and asking for some help, that’s how! Of course, in what form that help may come from–that’s a different story. Down on his luck from an unsuccessful undergarment selling business in a street market, Ali (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) has had a bad run lately. When circumstances become even more dire, he ends up taking a new position as a low level debt collector with his good friend Maqsood (Arbaaz Khan), both employed by local goon Danger Bhai (Nikitin Dheer). A thankless job, the money itself is enough to improve Ali’s life a bit.

However, fate has other plans, as on one particular collections job, Ali has the fortune to find out he has a natural ability to excel at–golf. Hesitant to even consider the possibility of actually learning to play enough to compete in tournaments, Maqsood, along with a coach Kishan Lal (Asif Basra) from the local golf club, persuade Ali to take on the challenge and truly bounce back in life. Along the way, he meets the lovely Megha (Amy Jackson) as well, who becomes a close friend. Soon, Ali’s reputation builds, much to the discontent of reigning champion Vikram Rathore (Jas Arora), Danger Bhai, and Bhai’s boss, Bade Bhai (Jackie Shroff).

Not conceding to any obstacle, it becomes a lesson in perseverance for Ali to overcome the odds and gain the respect and success he’s always desired.

Next, my Mind:

One supposes it has to happen after a certain amount of time, as it’s inevitable when watching film of any favorite genre, style, origin–one finally becomes the first disappointment experienced.  It was this effort, sadly, for this reviewer. Admittedly, not totally having had much exposure to the comedic side of Bollywood cinema, enough have been viewed to weigh what was executed well and what was not. Despite the pedigree associated with this film in director/co-writer/co-producer Sohail Khan and actor Arbaaz Khan, both brothers to Bhai himself, Salman Khan, the film just fell flat, its comedy perhaps lost a bit in translation, or simply not executed with the level of skill and timing this year’s excellent and completely hilarious “Housefull 3” delivered. Plus, the two hour runtime here seemed just a bit too long for being non-engaged in it all.

Now, Siddiqui is one of this reviewer’s personal favorite Indian character actors, as demonstrated via his fantastic performances in “Badlapur“, “Bajrangi Bhaijaan“, “Raman Raghav 2.0“, and “Te3n“. But here, truthfully, his skills feel wasted. It was a new chance to see more of his dynamic range, and there is no doubt he could do comedy, but somehow, this effort just didn’t seem like the best overall vehicle to showcase the lighter side of Siddiqui. Dheer is a total trip as the goliath, yet bumbling, Danger Bhai, Khan is decent as Maqsood, Basra’s golf coach is fine, Arora suitably covers the over-the-top, arrogant golf champion, Vikram, and Jackson’s Megha is also played to ok effect as the bubbly, supportive friend to Ali. Shroff’s grand entrance in the second act is playfully reminiscent of his very similar cameo in “Housefull 3”, which was a hoot here as well.

Additional turns from Seema Biswas and Paresh Ganatra round things out, but unfortunately, in total, “Freaky Ali” slices badly off the tee and ends up in a sand trap of mediocrity, which is a shame, as in an industry where excellence truly rules the day in so many of the other efforts seen this year, it was very hard to find one that just didn’t quite live up to the standard.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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