Freaky Ali Hindi Movie Review

Feature Film | UA | Comedy, Romance
It's a sports underdog movie where Nawazuddin Siddiqui gets to play a man from the wrong side of the tracks to win at a game meant for the idle rich. The story starts out to be great fun, but it becomes so repetitive in the middle that even the jokes are a drag and then dragged down by Bollywoodisation of the story: unsportsmanlike behavior, intervention by the gods, maa ka aashirvaad and big gangster with bigger heart...
Sep 9, 2016 By Manisha Lakhe

Nawazuddin Siddiqui certainly had the best time making this film. He gets to play cricket, golf and even sell undies on the street. His Ali is a freaky guy. Lucky at sports and lucky when it comes to his friends and his mother. Arbaaz Khan plays his best friend and partner in all the petty crimes they commit.

Asif Basra (plays caddy Kishen Lal) who has been working at the golf course for over twenty years, discovers the rare natural talent Ali has and offers to train him and get him out of his petty thug life.

Ali realises that his dreams of a respectable life can really be fulfilled if he just steps out and hits a sixer with a golf club just like Kishen Lal has shown him. There's a motley crew of characters who help Ali become a star of his neighborhood. Kids who look up to him. Randy old men who begin to call him 'beta', the Mazaar right next to the Sai baba temple where his 'mother' (Seema Biswas) found him. There's also a gigantic gangster who is ineffectual as a 'hafta collecting bhai' for the 'big brother'. His stupid crew and their antics are funny once. But they occupy so much of the events that you wish it has been edited out completely.

The trouble with sports movies is that so much of the story depends on the action. Golf, unlike a football movie depends on just one character. And even if you show four competing characters, there's not much to 'show' for action except the teeing. Jas Arora makes a good competitor for Nawazuddin but even his 'Golf is a game for rich folk and not riff-raff' becomes too repetitive.

Remember Kevin Costner in Tin Cup? He plays the open championship to earn the respect among his peers and his girlfriend. Amy Jackson plays the love interest here, but she does not have a substantial part to play. In Tin Cup, the last twenty minutes make for a memorable event in the story. Even though Kevin Costner does not win (and he could have won had he just played the safe shot to lose that hole), he chooses to play the difficult shot again and again and again just to get the better of the water challenge until he hits the birdie. Now as the commentary explains the madness and the despair and the ultimate win, you shake your head at the stubbornness of Costner's character and applaud.

In this film, the challenge is diluted by intervening by the gods, the maa ka aashirvaad (and the sweater), and a reformed bad guy who plays caddy for the day and the drums! No one but Bollywood could get away by having drums in a golf movie. Also what starts out to be a fun movie of an underdog, just gives lots and lots of room to Nawazuddin to ham it up to the gills. His cutting of the plaster scene can go down in his own book as the hammiest of them all.

You could wait for it to show up on cable TV. But if you must watch it in the theater, take lots of boisterous friends with you and popcorn.

Manisha Lakhe