When grey has silver lining : The Tribune India

When grey has silver lining

When grey has silver lining

Film: Web series: Farzi

Director: Raj and DK

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Vijay Sethupathi Kay Kay Menon, Raashii Khanna, Bhuvan Arora as Firoz, Chittaranjan Giri , Zakir Hussain, Amol Palekar, Regina Cassandra and Kubbra Sait

Nonika Singh

Raj and DK, the names of the director duo, who gave us the incredible The Family Man, raise the bar...Add to it the star power of Shahid Kapoor and Vijay Sethupathi, who make their digital debuts with Farzi and expectations rise manifold.  Now, the moot question is—does Farzi deliver and align itself on the line of our great expectations?

The answer is both yes and no. The premise is interesting; how a middle class artist is drawn into the world of counterfeiting. Fake notes and artistic prowess seem unlikely partners...but here our artist Sunny (Shahid Kapoor) discovers his ‘true’ talent while creating fake currency. From a small time thug to a big-time player, we know it’s just a matter of time before he would enter the real cartel of fake currency. Actually the very first scene is a pointer in that direction. The narrative goes back and forth. Predictably he has a back-story to buttress his persona. We meet his grandfather ( Amol Palekar) a man with lofty ideals who runs a paper called Kranti. Now, the idealism of the old and aspirations of the young could have been a perfect parallel to build up contrarian views. Yes, we get it like the image of Gandhi on currency notes reduced to tokenism, values of honesty too lie comatose. As one line goes—humne duniya ke sab se imaandar aadmi ki tasveer duniya ki sab se kameeni cheez par chaap di.

Raj and DK, who have written the series along with Sita Menon and Suman Kumar, get it right, especially when penning dialogues. And only they can place art and artists in the centre of a crime thriller and talk of Van Goghs, even his brother Theo Gogh in a mainstream series. Writing sparkles particularly in the banter between Vijay Sethupathi and Zakir Hussain, one a law enforcement officer Michael, the other a wily politician Pawan Gahlot. Zakir though seen in every other movie or series is almost rediscovered here. And for North Indians, Vijay is a revelation. Be it his sardonic wit, tingling humour or heartbreaking emotional ache he is a delight to watch. His chemistry with Zakir is crackling, together they provide the true fun moments of the series. Sunny’s bonding with bestie and partner in crime Feroze (Bhuvan Arora) too brings cheer. If Bhuvan is competent,   Shahid is cute and endearing, a fine actor undeniably and gets the grip of his part driven by ambition, greed and love for his nanu. The only problem is when you cast an established star as an anti-hero, much energy is frittered in justifying his actions aka his criminal activities.

Indeed, it’s interesting to show grey shades. So, if Michael is not outright scrupulous, clearly our middle class criminal will have some redeeming traits too. Why even Mansoor (Kay Kay Menon) is not completely dyed in black. The only pure shade we get here is in Amol Palekar’s character.... but, of course, his part does not lend any agency or urgency to the proceedings. Even otherwise the pace flags every now and then. But then that is the creators’ wont. They build up the tempo slowly in a measured way. The cat and mouse momentum is not meant for every episode. You have your heart in your mouth moments in the episode when Megha (lovely and consummate Raashii Khanna), part of Michael’s special team, raids the printing press. But it truly touches a crescendo in the final episode. Crash and Burn... the title is both befitting and telltale. But this is no final twist to the tale...rest assured, there will be a sequel. Which way it would turn is not hard to guess unless the makers stump us and may bring the characters from The Family Man. Here we hear Srikant Tiwary and actually see Chellam sir. The meeting of two verses is likely to be compelling. For now, let’s say season one is a tantalising warm-up which we hope will only get better as Shahid’s character is en route a new arc.

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video, if the peppy songs Paisa Hai Toh and Farzi (music by Sachin Jigar) get both the pulse and beat of the series bang on, Pankaj Kumar's camera work, especially top shots lend enchantment to the view. To borrow from Sunny’s dialogue, “enjoy the view.”