Farzi is a black-comedy-crime-thriller web series directed by Raj & DK (The Family Man fame); reportedly conceived as a film in 2014, Farzi was later expanded into a television series by 2019. The expectations from the web series were already high for multiple reasons. The most important being it directed by the ‘The Family Man’ (TFM) duo, which has already seen two successful seasons. It appears that the success of the second season of TFM, which had Samantha Ruth Prabhu playing an antagonist gained respect and confidence amongst the other stakeholders so much so that Farzi has multiple heavy weight artists for a web series including Vijay Sethupathi, Shahid Kapoor, Amol Palekar and Raashi Khanna.
Farzi is about Sunny (Shahid Kapoor), a young boy abandoned by his father left to fend for himself. He befriends Firoz (Bhuvan Arora) on a railway platform. They instantly hit it off as a team of an artist and a marketeer!! Eventually the kid Sunny meets his grandfather/nanu Madhav (Amol Palekar) an artist and owner of a publication ‘Krantii Patrika’. Sunny grows up as a genius artist and his friend Firoz as an expert in printing press. Sunny is disillusioned by the income inequality after failing to keep his nanu’s printing press in business. He believes that since his art is not getting paid off, why not put it to use and literally ‘make’ money with his art. He decides to team with his best friend Firoz to make counterfeit notes. Their life as ‘con artist’ takes off only to face challenge from Mansoor Dalal (Kay Kay Menon), a gangster, and Michael Vedanayagam (Vijay Sethupathi), a Special Task Force officer.
The eight-episode season of Farzi deals with the lives of different people intertwined in a single narrative. We can probably call it a story about a ‘Farzi’ and ‘Farz’. While Sunny has his own reasons in dirtying his hands into the financial terrorism, Michael is fighting his own demons in his personal/family life. Sunny doesn’t want to go back to the penniless life and Michael would not rest until getting to the root of the crime even at the cost of losing his family life. There are two parallel tracks, and each has its own hero – Sunny and Michael.
The makers display their efforts in giving an outline on the trick of the trade. For instance, the elements of a currency note, how they are hidden for a commoner to understand and on the other side explaining the process of making it and some secrets between the two. Similarly other thrills here and there make an endearing watch for the naysayers.
The other side
Though one may get excited to know some unknown facts, but every coin has two sides. Here, we may look at the other side enabling people in knowing and trying out ways and means of wrongdoing. It also demonstrates that the greed of money sees no limits and engulfs relationships too. The episodes may look thrilling while watching them for the first time, but they do leave you with afterthoughts, loopholes and liberties taken to achieve a narrative. The other element that the makers force in nowadays is the liberal use of cuss words, which prevents the series from being a family entertainer. They fail to understand that it is not the cuss words that add value to the scene, but the dialogues, screenplay and the overall direction that does the trick. There are ample examples of super successful thriller movies that have a repeat value.
The character design of Michael (Vijay Sethupathi) has multiple layers. He is one who goes to any length for his ‘farz’ and gets things done, but he is the same who looks so vulnerable when it comes to his family matters. A cop who has the capacity to manipulate a politician is at the mercy in family matters. His lines and mannerism are something that holds you on and ask for more of his screen time.
The once chocolate boy of Bollywood has grown up. With films like ‘Kaminey’ and ‘Kabir Singh’, Shahid looks comfortable getting into that ‘tapori’ looks. However, the fact is that Sunny is not a tapori but an ‘artist’. The art department has gone overboard and dressed him up like a tapori in most of the scenes. The same is proved within the narrative when he is about to meet his Nanu, his friend Firoz reminds him to dress decently.
It appears that the writers have gone bonkers on the idea of a know-all character in Megha (Raashi Khanna), an officer with the RBI and an expert in her field. With so many sleuths in her company, it is only her who has a say – for everything, every time, at that. Though, she tries her best to balance the act.
Kay Kay Menon, Amol Palekar and Bhuvan Arora
It is such a pleasure seeing Amol Palekar on screen. His rich ethical demeanour demands so much of respect not just from the audience but his co-actors too. Kay Kay Menon as gangster Mansoor Dalal is just ordinary with a weak character design. He is portrayed to be powerful but lacks the elements in bringing out the personality. Bhuvan Arora as Sunny’s childhood friend Firoz gets a sweet character. Bhuvan gets into the character subtly and performs naturally as Sunny’s man Friday, a friend indeed.
With a story revolving around fake notes, gangsters, and politics, it had the potential to showcase powerful & dramatic twists and turns instead of making it a story of convenience. However, with interesting actors, rich production design and a few interesting lines, Farzi is an engaging watch.
With Sunny (Shahid Kapoor) avenging his Nanu’s death and challenging Mansoor makes him a complete criminal from just a money making ‘artist’ and his friend in crime Firoz taking the train to a different city, one will have to wait for what’s in store in the next season.
Web Series: Farzi
Directed By: Raj & DK
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Vijay Sethupathi, Kay Kay Menon, Raashii Khanna, Bhuvan Arora, Chittaranjan Giri, Zakir Hussain, Jaswant Singh Dalal, Amol Palekar, Regina Cassandra, Kubbra Sait
Season 1: 8 Episodes
Episode Run Time: 42–66 minutes each