Making a film about crime offers makers unlimited possibilities to explore with their work. It could be quirky, absurd, gritty, rooted, comic, and more. Kartik Aaryan’s latest film, 'Freddy', takes a dark and psychological route. The makers try to build a sinister and twisted world around the titular protagonist but falls short eventually.
Freddy follows the dull life of dentist Freddy Ginwala who is lonely, desperate, socially awkward, and comes from a troubled home. His only companions are his grandmother, and a tortoise named Hardy. Besides his day job as a dentist, and a hobby of painting toy planes, the other activity that runs Freddy’s life is him meeting potential suitors from matrimonial sites.
He meets with girls at the same Café Blue and orders his staple falooda. And every single time, women find him off-putting for his socially awkward nature, and even borderline creepy. But there comes a dawn in Freddy’s gloomy life when he meets Kainaaz Irani at a wedding and its attraction at first sight.
We don’t really get to see a natural romance blossoming between the two, and after some stalking and conversations with Kainaaz, who comes in for a tooth extraction, Freddy gets to know about her abusive husband Rustom Irani. The two, who are now lovers, hatch a plan to kill Rustom. Soon, Freddy is sucked into a quagmire where things are not what it seems to be.
What is best about Freddy is Kartik deftly showcasing the complicated psyche of an outcast, who is trying his best to fit into society. But there is only so much an artist can come up with, when the meat in the script is hollow with wafer-thin characters. While Freddy’s revenge idea has a quirky engagement factor, it isn’t strong enough to allow the entire film to be carried on Kartik’s histrionics. What was needed more was the world-building of Freddy that can make us empathise with a murderous dentist. There are hints of Freddy’s dark childhood, and we know there is a lot that is left unsaid. But even as the credits roll, they really don’t say anything, and we are left building the script on our own.
The way Kainaaz’s character unravels is a high point of Freddy, but this aspect isn’t explored enough.
They just stick to tried-and-tested tropes that just tick boxes rather than saying a story. Why paint a potentially promising woman into a one-note cardboard character? The film also has a shallow understanding of domestic abuse and its survivors, and uses the theme just as a plot pusher and not with the necessary seriousness.
Freddy is a premise that allows the makers to go on multiple routes, and explore many layers, but unfortunately, the film fails across most of them. There is a crime, a motive, a suspect, a betrayal, a revenge, but the gaping oversight takes the audience for granted, which leaves you with a sour taste of watching a film with a lot of potential going down on a freefall.
Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Alaya F, Jeniffer Piccinato
Director: Shashanka Ghosh; Rating: 2/5 stars