If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that spy thrillers have seamlessly integrated themselves into Disney+ Hotstar’s Hindi lineup.
Titles like Special Ops, Commando, The Night Manager, and Shoorveer are just a sampling of what’s available.
The latest addition to this collection is The Freelancer, which has recently released its first four episodes on Disney+ Hotstar.
It is a thriller series, presently constituting for a little over three hours.
The premier date of the rest of the episodes is yet to be announced.
Here is my review.
The Freelancer Synopsis
Known for his heroics on the battlefield, Avinash Kamath, aka The Freelancer, returns to India after his best friend commits suicide in search of his missing daughter.
His only mission now is to bring her back at any cost.
Created by Neeraj Pandey and directed by Bhav Dhulia, The Freelancer stars Mohit Rana (Avinash Kamath), Anupam Kher (Arif Khan), Sushant Singh (Inayat), Kashmira Pardeshi (Aliya Khan), Ayesha Raza (Sabeena), Manjari Fadnis (Mrunal), and Navneet Malik (Mohsin), among others.
It is based on the book A Ticket to Syria by Shirish Thorat.
The Freelancer: Positives
To begin with, the show is driven by a rapid-fire narrative intricately woven into its storyline.
Despite a somewhat familiar premise, it maintains a compelling pace that keeps viewers engaged.
A woman is tricked into traveling to Syria after marriage to carry out terror activities in the name of religion.
The entire idea comes down to saving her, which is quite predictable.
What sets The Freelancer apart, particularly in its first four episodes, is that the protagonist doesn’t instantly transform into a heroic savior, deviating from the formula we’ve seen in films like ‘Khuda Haafiz’ starring Vidyut Jamwal.
However, you get a hint of how it might conclude eventually.
In such stories, the execution becomes important since predictability is predominant.
The Freelancer masters it to a very large extent, if not entirely.
Moreover, the story has a lot of adrenaline-pumping moments, coupled with dramatically intriguing aspects.
It holds your attention comprehensively from the early stages itself. Even the emotionally charged scenes feel stimulating, specifically because the pace doesn’t hold back.
Also, the plotting has been done nicely. Yes, there were a few patches I wish had been swapped with different timelines in the story, but it was an individual observation.
Moreover, The Freelancer doesn’t overlook the element of thrill. It has a lot of it, justifying the genre.
The show’s mass appeal will generate interest among its target audience.
Furthermore, you cannot ignore The Freelancer’s screenplay. From the flashbacks to the stagnant filmography, it aces the running onscreen factors.
The compelling screenplay ushers a sustainable audience.
How are the Performances?
Mohit Rana as Avinash Kamath is the best part of The Freelancer. His aggressive countenance takes you on a ride.
Rana’s dialogue delivery has improved and his screen presence also finds more takers. You might point out his emotional display, but the intense portrayal will definitely win your heart.
For a rogue cop, Mohit Rana fits the frame perfectly in The Freelancer.
Anupam Kher plays Dr. Arif Khan. In a limited capacity, Kher does complete justice to his role. Maybe, his straight-faced dialogue delivery is getting slightly repetitive in spy shows.
Sushant Singh owns Inayat Khan in The Freelancer. Given his previous role in Rana Naidu, similarities in character development are discernible, but his depiction is nothing short of brilliant.
Kashmira Pardeshi’s portrayal of Aliya Khan is honest and refreshing.
Watching her act for the first time, one can easily recognize her as a talented actress with immense potential.
It’s likely that her performance will receive even higher praise once the entire series unfolds.
The Freelancer: Downsides
At this point, the series notably lacks action, leaving us eagerly awaiting how it will incorporate combat scenes in the second part.
It’s a precarious situation; the outcome could be either exceptional or a complete letdown.
Many viewers, myself included, had hoped for a more prominent utilization of Mohit Rana in hand-to-hand combat scenarios, but this expectation remains unfulfilled.
Moreover, The Freelancer is less impactful towards the end. The first two and a half episodes generate curiosity, eagerness, and whatnot.
However, things seem out of place as the end nears.
This is a common challenge with partial releases, as series are typically designed to be binge-watched in one go.
Splitting them into two parts can lead to divided viewer experiences, with judgments made separately for each part, which is not the case with full-fledged releases.
The next downside is kind of inherent and more of an observation.
The show’s title gives a hint that the main protagonist will go on multiple missions. However, he ends up focusing on one single case.
The makers have implemented the idea well but it is just the misdirected title that concerns me, on a personal level.
Furthermore, the introduction of the titular character could have been approached differently.
Some captivating scenes from the middle of the show might have served better as a compelling start. This is a matter of creative perspective.
Additionally, The Freelancer takes a formulaic approach. An agent goes on a mission to rescue a female from the clutches of terrorism in Syria.
You get to see religion-based cheeky digs, which has become the style of late in Hindi creations.
Finally, I didn’t like The Freelancer using the example of Kulbhushan Jadhav, for whatever reasons.
Should You Stream or Skip The Freelancer?
It delivers on most fronts. Hence, go for it.