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Freddy review: More potential than proficiency

Kartik Aaryan stars in this flamboyant but predictable romantic thriller by Shashanka Ghosh

Kartik Aaryan in 'Freddy'
Kartik Aaryan in 'Freddy'

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In the world occupied by Dr. Freddy Ginwala, it’s not okay to be single. Concerned aunts keep suggesting he find a girl. Matches from dating apps and marriage portals don’t usually go well. Freddy has consumed countless glasses of falooda and bought numerous bouquets of flowers to woo his dates, but the outcome is anything but fruitful. Even the café staff is familiar with his pattern.

As unsuccessful as he is in love, Freddy (Kartik Aaryan) has a thriving dental practice and is a well-respected member of the community. Freddy lives in a lovely apartment with his pet tortoise, Hardy, who is not just best friend but also his only friend. He does have those Parsi aunties who counsel him too.

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There is nothing unexpected in this story of a socially awkward dentist who suffers from PTSD and doesn’t take rejection well. He manages to live like a functioning adult in an unkind society, but when he’s pushed over the edge, Freddy Ginwala begins to show shades of Freddy Krueger. Only shades, because Freddy is smarter than his victims and adversaries. He can even outwit the cops.

Freddy breaks the jinx of romance when he meets the troubled and much-married Kainaaz Irani (Alaya F). The damsel in distress evokes the saviour in him till the affair takes a dark turn. When the outcome is far from what he imagined, when his fantasies are destroyed, Freddy spirals. This is where the crux of screenwriter Parveez Sheikh and director Shashanka Ghosh’s film lies. But the more interesting and complex narrative lay in exploring the psychology of a lonely, socially dysfunctional man carrying trauma and a lot of baggage, whose love story is scripted with malicious intent. The idea was pregnant with potential but what we get is a visually rich but predictable romantic thriller.

The story takes many liberties. The death of a man is barely explored. Crime and violence are randomly used to exact revenge or mete out a warning. Freddy’s alibis and claims go unchallenged and his traumatic backstory is relegated to a sidebar. Greater attention is paid to art direction, sumptuous old Mumbai locations and lighting than to character development. 

The cast is a mix of Parsi and non-Parsi actors. Among them Karan Pandit, playing Kainaaz’s friend (dubbed ‘protein shake’ by the local cops), overdoes the intonations and accent. The two non-Parsi leads—Kartik Aaryan and Alaya F—don’t play stereotypes, despite their character’s flatlining early on. Aaryan hits a high note when his character finds joy in his otherwise introverted existence, but as a calculating killer, Freddy needed to be less Kartik. 

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