Director: Bhav Dhulia
Cast: Mohit Raina, Anupam Kher, Kashmira Pardeshi, Manjari Phadnis, Ayesha Raza Mishra, Navneet Malik, Sarah Jane Dias, John Kokken, Balaji Gauri, Edward Sonnenblick, Aakkash Dabhade, Sangay Tsheltrim, Salma Sairi, Arnav Maggo
Where: Streaming on Disney+Hotstar
Rating: 3 stars
Derived from former cop Shirish Thorat's book A Ticket To Syria, The Freelancer: The Conclusion, featured on Disney+Hotstar, marks its foray today, to resolve the lingering mysteries from its initial 4-episode release in September.
In this geopolitical thriller, Mohit Raina reprises his role as Avinash Kamath, the independent agent tasked with rescuing Aliya, portrayed by Kashmira Pardeshi. Aliya finds herself ensnared in a marriage deception, as her in-laws, initially believed to be conventional, reveal their radical inclinations and intentions towards the path of Jihad. As Kamath tackles the immediate mission, he faces the added challenge of navigating professional tensions with various intelligence agencies. These agencies are determined to eliminate the threat, even at the cost of jeopardizing Aliya's life. Moreover, Kamath grapples with his own internal struggles, particularly the emotional strain stemming from his marriage to Mrunal, played by Manjiri Phadnis.
Set to stage for the ultimate confrontation, the newly-streaming 3 episodes will unveil how Avinash, under the guidance of his mentor Dr. Arif Khan, portrayed by Anupam Kher, collaborates with a diverse team of agents. This eclectic group includes the formidable Gurung Thapa, played by Sangay Tsheltrim (recently also seen in Shah Rukh Khan's Jawan), and the resilient new mother Nadia Kadri, portrayed by the enchanting Salma Sairi. Together, they face the daunting task of rescuing Aliya from the clutches of doom and death. The question remains: will they succeed, or is the outcome uncertain?
As mentioned in my review previously, the show's pacing tends to be extended and somewhat self-indulgent. The inclusion of certain sequences in the screenplay seems solely aimed at prolonging the screen time, which could have been omitted for a more cohesive narrative. Another notable issue with the script is its predictability. Some plot twists, particularly those in the 7th episode, were rather apparent, therefore, coming across as a buzzkill for viewers who are familiar with numerous films and shows within the same genre.
Nevertheless, the collaboration of showrunner Neeraj Pandey, along with writers Ritesh Shah, Benazir Ali Fida and Shirish Thorat, maintains a predominantly authentic and faithful adaptation to the source material. Cinematographer Tojo Xavier skillfully transforms the Moroccan settings into Dubai through his lens. The action sequences, skillfully handled by Abbas Ali Moghul and Jeremie Vigot, maintain an intense yet not overwhelming pace. Additionally, Sanjoy Chowdhury's background music effectively heightens the tension within the plot.
Once more, it's the compelling performances of the cast that overshadow the technical aspects, with Raina standing out as the show's backbone in his portrayal of Avinash Kamath. While Kher brings weight to the narrative with his commanding presence as Dr. Arif, Kashmira Pardeshi as Aliya, holds her own against the more seasoned lead. Transitioning seamlessly from moments of vulnerability to a powerful display of strength, she navigates each emotion with the precision of a seasoned performer. Here's wishing more opportunities for her in the near future. Manjari’s portrayal of Mrunal carries more than what she had to offer in the initial episodes, making you want to empathise with her. Navneet Malik as Mohsin maintains his despicability. The additional supporting cast including Sarah Jane Dias, Aakkash Dabhade, Edward Sonnenblick and Arnav Maggo are fairly serviceable.
Although The Freelancer: The Conclusion doesn't conclude with a traditional cliffhanger indicating a potential second season, it does tease viewers with a suggestion of an idea waiting to discover its purpose.