Web Review: The Freelancer is just an average thriller

Mohit Raina in The Freelancer on Disney+Hotstar. Photo: Trailer Video Grab 

Maybe my expectations from the master at patriotic thriller dramas—Neeraj Pandey—are set at a very high point. After movies like A Wednesday!, Baby and Naam Shabana and the Special Ops series, my confidence in him has been high. And so, I found The Freelancer, Season 1 just alright.

For one, this series has a personal rather than a hardcore patriotic base, but by itself, that really does not matter. Dismissed cop-turned-trained-mercenary Avinash Kamat (Mohit Raina) is on a mission: his best friend and also a cop. Inayat Khan (Sushant Singh)’s daughter Aaliya has married a ‘normal’ Muslim boy, Mohsin. But suddenly, after their wedding, Mohsin’s family with Aaliya has gone missing. They have, in fact, joined the ISIS fundamentalist group of radicalized Muslims. Inayat knows that something is wrong, and so, after trying out all official means, the poor man stages a drama outside the American Consulate and is killed by security.

It is found that this was a clear ploy to attract the attention of his best friend, Avinash, as Inayat knew that only he can trace and bring her back safely from wherever she is, which is now Syria. The series stops at a crucial point where Aaliya is instructed by Avinash (as a phone communication has been established between her and him) about following certain steps to ensure her escape.

Like The Night Manager¸ this series’ concluding chapters will be aired only after a few months, and that adds to the negative quotient! For the concluding half of the story can compensate for this average first half, if it is terrifically made.

As things stand, the technical values and action are superlative as always in a Friday Filmworks presentation, but Bhav Dhulia’s direction is nowhere as inspired as even in his web enterprise, Khakee—The Bihar Chapter. The series is based on the book, A Ticket to Syria, by Shirish Thorat, but at least in the four episodes streamed, the screenplay has just formulaic thrills.

Mohit Raina is impressive in parts as Avinash Kamath, and I loved Sushant Singh’s cameo as Inayat Khan. Kashmira Pardeshi is alright as Aaliya, and the same is the case with Navneet Malik. The rest of the cast does what is needed, though Anupam Kher’s mysterious character intrigues.

But the series disappoints. Hopefully, the rest of the show will change my views for the better.

Rating: **1/2

Disney+Hotstar presents Friday FilmWorks’ The Freelancer  Created by: Neeraj Pandey  Directed by: Bhav Dhulia  Written by: Shirish Thorat, Neeraj Pandey & Ritesh Shah  Music: Sanjoy Chowdhury  Starring: Mohit Raina, Anupam Kher, Kashmira Pardeshi, Ayesha Raza Mishra, Manjari Fadnis, Sarah-Jane Dias, Sushant Singh, Navneet Malik, Geeta Agrawal Sharma, Hardika Sharma, Edward Sonnenblick, Danny Clifford, Mario Silva, Balaji Gauri, John Kokken, Aakkash Dabhade, Sairi Salma, Sangay Tsheltrim, Jalila Talemsi & others



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