FREDDY (2022)

Kartik Aaryan as Freddy
  • Release Date: 02/12/2022
  • Platform: Disney + Hotstar
  • Cast: Kartik Aaryan, Alaya F, Karan A Pandit, Sajjad Delfrooz
  • Director: Shashanka Ghosh

Why couldn’t they release this in theaters?

— Ambar Chatterjee

A mild-mannered, awkward and introvert Dr. Freedy Ginwala (Kartik Aryan) is unable to find a girl to spend the rest of his life with. Every time he comes face to face with a girl, he huffs and puffs and says things that no one wants to hear. He is so on the edge when it comes to womankind that he always ends up stealing looks at places that he should not. Thus, to nobody’s surprise, he has been rejected by every girl for the past 5 years. The peer pressure is mounting and all his relatives can tell him is to get married before it’s too late.

Freddy is desperate and it is at this juncture that Kainaaz (Alaya F) walks into his life and he is instantly smitten by her. He doesn’t know that she is married and by the time he realizes that, it is already too late for him. He has fallen in love with her like never before and now he wants her for himself at any cost. Kainaaz who has been in an abusive marriage for the past 2 years gradually starts warming up to Freddy and things quickly escalate to a point where crimes are committed and trust is broken. What happens next is what Freddy is all about.

I had a good time with this film. While it starts off in a way that feels all too familiar, it takes twists and turns that leave us surprised. While I was able to predict the twists after a certain point in time, I feel that it will keep many of the viewers, who haven’t seen too many films of this nature, on the edge. The director Shashanka Ghosh is able to use twists and surprises to break the film down into distinct parts. This not only makes it a lot easier to follow the proceedings and be on the same page with the characters but also helps to connect with the characters — especially the protagonist, Freddy and understand why he was doing what he was shown doing.

Karthik Aaryan is terrific in a type of character that he hasn’t played before. After a long time, he felt like playing something different from his repetitive and usual fare and it worked for me. He keeps his awkward mannerisms subtle and uses them to introduce a sense of nervousness and jitter in everything that he does. The only time he seems calm is when he is shown working on his patients and when he is painting miniature models — something that he is passionate about. These little aspects of his character tell us about his meticulous nature and goes a long way to explain and justify the elaborate planning, plotting, and execution that he is shown pulling off without any glitches.

Alaya F as Kainaaz in a still

Freddy is also a very sad man here. It would have been difficult to justify the things he does for Kainaaz if he was a normal man. But with the history of past mental trauma and his mounting urge to find his soulmate almost explains the monstrous steps that he is shown taking to unify with the character of Kainaaz. I just loved the sense of duality that Aaryan was able to bring to the character. He is able to put out through his performance the numerous facets of Freddy and each of these facets helps in creating a clearer and more impactful image of the man that ultimately captures our imagination and captivates us in his crooked and punishing world.

Alaya F has the perfect personality and exudes the right amount of charm to render a character like Kainaaz believable and effective. One look at her in the film and you feel that she can spark the kind of romance in a man that would make him do the horrifying things that we see Freddy doing for her. It will also make you feel that when rejected by someone like her, a man could just reach his breaking point and this ensures that her presence, charm, and affectivity bleed into the performance of Kartik Aryan and enhances its effectivity, appeal and feel. Kainaaz is a complicated character and there are multiple aspects to it. Alaya F plays each of these aspects with conviction, power, and realism. This not only makes her character wholesome but also ensures that it extracts different emotions from the audiences at different junctures. This has become a rarity in recent times and is one of the most noticeable aspects of Alaya’s rendition.  

The background score (BGM) of the film is fantastic. While it does tell the audiences how to feel about a certain portion of the film, it does so with panache and gusto. I loved the bits where the BGM kicks in as the camera moves in on Karthik Aaryan contemplating his next move. The score also adds a lot to many of the sequences where Aaryan is having some alone time and is shown doing things that look and feel odd but tells us a lot about the character. The bits of the BGM that had made the teaser of the film so interesting is there in the film and they have the same impact.

The cinematography of the film is fantastic. I just loved the richness of it and it felt like a film tailor-made for the theater from start to finish. I don’t think they were planning to release it on the OTT from the beginning. This must have been a later decision. The cinematography is not only beautiful but also temperamental which adds a lot to the overall mood and feel of the film. In a film of this nature, that was something that was of paramount importance. Special mention must be made of how wonderfully and aesthetically the cinematographer captures Alaya F. This aspect not only elevates her beauty and persona but also ensures that the way she is presented in the film varies depending on the version of the character that she was playing at a certain juncture. The same can also be said about Kartik Aaryan’s Freddy.

A still from the film

The only issues that I had with the film were that it was very predictable for me as I have seen almost every iteration, permutation and combination of the plot and treatment that this film sets out to deal with. While it might not be a problem for many, it was one aspect of the film that was underwhelming for me. There was also an utter lack of tension for the safety of Freddy in the film that I felt robbed the film of a lot of tension. The protagonist should have been threatened more and should have been in mortal danger to enhance the tension and thrill but that never happens. The police in the film are unbelievably inefficient and ineffective. It would have served the film better had he had better cops who were onto what Freddy was doing and posed a challenge for him. That would have created some interesting dynamics. Some of the supporting actors are just doing their jobs. In a film like this, they should have been made to act better.

Overall, Freddy is an entertaining and engrossing watch with splendid performances from the leading actor and actress. It has enough to grab your attention and keep you hooked. If you are looking for a run-of-the-mill thriller to provide some quick entertainment, this could be your choice for the week. I wish they released it in theaters. It would have been a far better and more enjoyable watch on the big screen. On the smaller screen, it loses some of its shine for apparent reasons.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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