Amidst a clutter of sports biopics that often concentrate on mainstream games like cricket, boxing etc., FREAKY ALI dares to be different as it explores the not-so-known world of golf. Treating it with humour, the film shows the journey of an ordinary, poor man turning into a winner in a world of sports that is dominated by the rich and the sophisticated. Whether this experimentation works for Bollywood or not, let’s analyse.
Brought up in the bylanes of Mumbai, Ali (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is an adopted orphan who tries to make his living by doing odd jobs like selling undergarments. When his engagement breaks because of his image as a salesman and he sees tears in the eyes of the one woman he loves the most – his mother (Seema Biswas), Ali decides to turn rich by hook or by crook. He joins hands with his bestie Maqsood (Arbaaz Khan), a small-time gangster working under Sohail Khan aka Danger Bhai (Niketan Dheer) to extort money. Besides this, Ali is passionate about just one sport, cricket and even wins the challenge of scoring sixes at every ball during a gully-cricket match. During one of his extortion assignments, he decides to take up a golfing challenge and ends up victorious and he is spotted by Kishan Lal (Asif Basra), his neighbour and family well-wisher who believes that Ali’s talent can create wonders in the world of golf. As his destiny takes him towards a new way of life, with new goals, dreams, Ali comes across new friends and love, Megha (Amy Jackson), he also makes new enemies like Vikram Rathod (Jas Arora). What follows is a series of matches where Ali has to prove his worth to his coach Kishan Lal while dealing with the success-obsessed Vikram Rathod and a man with selfish motives, Danger Bhai, who would go to any lengths to ensure the defeat of Ali at the tournament, even if it means turning his loved ones against him.
We must give it to actor turned director Sohail Khan for bringing about a new sport to limelight with FREAKY ALI. While it’s often cricket that takes away all the attention, sports like golf are left ignored. The film, that quite frequently reminds us of Adam Sandler starrer HAPPY GILMORE, has an intriguing first half filled with humour and the antics of Ali will definitely leave you in splits. While the expectations are at its peak during the second half, soon disappointment creeps in as director Sohail Khan fails to keep up the benchmark that he sets in the initial half of the film. The film succumbs to Bollywood cliches of an underdog’s triumphs that makes the second half predictable. It also falls flat when it comes to humor, contrary to the first which boasts of a good collection of punchlines.
Special mention to dialogue writer Raaj Shandiliya who has managed to give some of the best dialogues to Nawazuddin Siddiqui, especially in his introduction scene where he is seen selling male undergarments, however, we wish he could have retained his series of punches even in the second half. The screenplay written by Sohail Khan along with Raaj is decent but nothing beyond average. Despite the fact that the film manages to find its space between the series of films that show an underdog ultimately reaching his goal, some are done-to-death sequences that could have been easily avoided.
As far as performance is concerned, FREAKY ALI solely rides on Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s shoulders. And no points for guessing, the actor manages to carry off the role with aplomb despite the fact that this is his first full-fledged comedy role and he is known for serious cinema. Another special mention to Arbaaz Khan who has done a good job of adding those humourous punches in the film. Nawaz and Arbaaz’s timing is one of the highlights of the film. On the other hand, Amy Jackson as the glamorous, pretty girl is decent but her character seems a tad bit half-baked just like the chemistry between her and Nawaz. Also making a mark with their presence are Seema Biswas as the mother and the actor playing Nawaz’s bachelor uncle who deliver believable performances. Others help take the film forward. Jackie Shroff‘s cameo in the end seems forced neither does his ‘bhidu’ humour bring anything new to the table.
The music of the film (Sajid – Wajid Ali) hardly has anything to boast about and the editing (Prashant Singh and Rathore) is strictly average. The cinematography (Mahesh Limaye) is decent.
On the whole, FREAKY ALI kick starts with rib-tickling moments but fails to retain the humorous momentum throughout as it falls prey to predictable plotline and a disappointing second half.