Dr Freddy Ginwala (Kartik Aaryan), is an extremely shy and introverted dentist who has suffered emotional trauma in childhood. He has put up a profile on Meri Shaadi.com for five years but hasn’t been able to find a soulmate so far and has been the butt of jokes because of that. A chance encounter with Kainaaz Irani (Alaya F) changes all that. She’s been caught in an abusive marriage and her fragility draws Freddy to her. She grows from being a patient to a clandestine lover. Freddy has now become obsessed with her and is willing to push any button to get her permanently in his life. He would go as far as murder if need be. But there’s more to her than meets the eye. The love story segues into the thriller category in the second half and soon it becomes a game of wits between the various players and the police as well.
The film is a slow burner for sure. A lot of time is spent building up Freddy’s character. He’s shown to be most comfortable around his tools, losing himself in his job and earning the trust of his patients. But he just isn’t a people’s person outside his clinic. He’s socially awkward and can’t seem to have any sort of a relationship, with a man or a woman. His best friend is a turtle named Hardy. Add to that, he’s a hopeless romantic at heart. So when he turns into a stalker, you don’t abhor him. He actually earns your sympathy. You want him to stop what he’s being doing as you feel he’s too naive to know the ways of the world. You want to warn him that he’s walking into a trap. Freddy might be slow but he isn’t daft. He sets about planning his revenge with clinical precision, keeping two steps ahead of everyone else in the film. It’s this Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde dichotomy that’s so interesting to see in the film. From a meek dentist, Freddy slowly turns into Dexter and that transformation is intriguing to watch.
There’s a monster hiding behind the skin of every man and left unprovoked, it won’t do any harm. But poke it enough and it’ll come out for sure. That’s the film’s story in a nutshell. The film hinges on Karik Aaryan’s performance and he doesn’t disappoint. He sinks himself deep into his character and makes his good-boy-next-door image work in his favour. The drama comes through his quirks and eccentricities. He slowly breaks apart and it’s when he begins to pick up the pieces and reshapes himself that the movie comes through. The film is his attempt to showcase his versatility and he’s done so admirably. Alaya F has managed to look both vulnerable and cunning in the film. She’s shown here that she has the ability to deliver a performance and isn’t just a pretty face.
Shashanka Ghosh is a maverick director who has shown a yen to be different from his first film, Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part II (2003) itself. He’s in his element here and has borrowed heavily from Hitchcockian tropes and noir elements to mould a tale of muddled desires and edgy characters who look most human when they’re being inhuman.
Trailer : Freddy
Renuka Vyavahare, December 2, 2022, 12:40 PM IST
Synopsis: A twisted take on love, loneliness and revenge. Freddy is a psychological thriller that sees the player and the one who got played indulge in a dangerous cat and mouse game. This race blurs the line between the victim and the villain.
Freddy’s thoughts can resonate with Arthur Fleck who wondered, “Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?” For director Shashanka Ghosh and writer Parveez Sheikh, Freddy must be Joker (2019) in spirit and Ek Hasina Thi (2004) in execution. You even see Kartik playing the imaginary violin and breaking into Joaquin Phoenix-esque creepy dance moves. The suspense and sinister energy around Freddy is finely mounted, making you immerse in his story. Atmospherics add to the tension established. The latter half however feels sloppy and juvenile. Once the mystery dies down, the psychological thriller turns into a mundane revenge drama that isn’t as gratifying as the initial premise.
It’s good to see that Hindi cinema is warming up to psychological-crime thrillers. The highlight of the film is Kartik Aaryan’s terrific unnerving performance. He is an absolute revelation as Freddy, a wronged man obsessed in love, seething rage and yet calm as a cucumber. The actor has altered his weight, body language, gaze and that trademark smile to play Freddy and the efforts pay off. You will think twice before heading to your dentist, thanks to Kartik and his sociopathic portrayal of the lead character. Alaya F does little to make her presence felt.
Freddy is fairly engaging and unsettling but it wavers to go all out. The film starts off well but doesn’t reach its full potential. It skims through issues of mental health, childhood trauma and its impact on an individual, something that deserved a deeper understanding. You can watch this for Kartik though and his successful brave attempt.