In the first ten minutes of Sohail Khan’s Freaky Ali, the protagonist plays in a colony cricket match and hits sixes at will. In the final moments of the film during a crucial match, he tells a friend, “chakka maarta hoon” (I’m going to hit a six).
You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a film about cricket, given the number of cricketing terms used in it. Instead, it’s about a man who plays golf.
That alone is enough to not take Freaky Ali and its makers too seriously. This is an unabashedly populist film that makes no attempt to actually understand the sport at the centre of it.
Ali, an underwear salesman cum small-time extortionist, discovers golf accidentally while collecting money from a businessman playing a round on the greens.
Egged on by a neighbour who works as a caddy, Ali rises to the top so fast you’d be forgiven for thinking he was India’s equivalent of Tiger Woods.
Every time he swings the “gulf club” (as he calls it), Ali hits a hole in one. Soon, his only real competition is current champion (of what, we are never told) Vikram (Jas Arora), a haughty prince who turns up his nose at Ali, a slum dweller who dares to play the rich man’s sport.
Amy Jackson plays the token love interest and a motley cast including Seema Biswas, Arif Basra and Arbaaz Khan throw sporadically funny one-liners at each other.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui tries his best to be a convincing enough underdog who has his day, and is a good foil to Khan, who plays his bumbling friend.
Under the flimsy cover of a sports film, Freaky Ali is just another Bollywood ‘good guy versus bad guy’ movie.
Every character is a caricature and every plot point already seen in a thousand other films. This one doesn’t quite “putt” it.