The hour-long episodes stagger from adrenaline-pumping to yawning, observes Deepa Gahlot.
After two successful seasons of The family man, there was interest and curiosity as to what directors Krishna DK and Raj Nidimoru would do next. Her film and television work has so far been unpredictable.
In Farsipull off the terrific casting of Amol Palekar, Shahid Kapoor, Vijay Sethupathi and Kay Kay Menon who provide good reasons to check it out.
The topic is unusual, but also a bit dry.
The pursuit of terrorists and various enemies of the country is far more exciting than a counterfeiting operation, so the eight-part series needs to be padded with family drama and emotional heartbreak.
As a child, Sunny (Shahid Kapoor) was abandoned by his father and grew up with his grandfather (Amol Palekar), his best mate Firoz (Bhuvan Arora) and family friend Yasir (Chittaranjan Giri).
Grandpa keeps a newspaper Kranti Patrikathat nobody reads, but it gives him a purpose in life.
Sunny is an excellent artist, but she has to make ends meet, selling paintings on the street to haggling idiots. Then debt threatens to shut down the printer and Sunny has the brilliant idea of using his artistic skills and Firoz and Yasir’s printing experience to produce counterfeit banknotes.
Meanwhile, maverick cop Michael (Vijay Sethupathi) makes it his mission to stop counterfeit currency from circulating around the country and finds a kindred spirit in serious Reserve Bank operative Megha (Raashii Khanna) who has the tech know-how -how to spot counterfeit banknotes and wants to join the special unit with the unfortunate acronym CCFART put together to catch the counterfeiters.
The man behind the thug is Mansoor Dalal (Kay Kay Menon), who runs a mansion in Jordan.
Megha has helped create a machine and an app to spot fake currencies, but somehow Sunny’s notes are so good they slip past the devices.
It’s only a matter of time before Mansoor finds and recruits Sunny and Firoz to make bills for him. He charms Sunny by paying for grandfather’s brain surgery, and eventually, when the needs are met, greed takes over.
While the plot (co-written by Raj, DK, Sita R. Menon, Suman Kumar) stays in the thriller zone, there are grandiose sequences such as Michael and his team fleeing the hawk eye to take a huge amount of currency to India to smuggle – They use the real incident of a ship going to Alang ship breaking yard and ran aground on Juhu beach (Northwest of Mumbai). But the show keeps bogging down when it comes to Michael’s troubled marriage to Rekha (Regina Cassandra) and estrangement from his nerdy kid, who he wants to “turn into a man.”
Then there’s the lazy plot comfort of Sunny slightly wooing Megha so he can keep track of what the task force is up to.
The hour-long episodes stagger from adrenaline pumping to yawning.
Whenever Vijay Sethupathi and Kay Kay Menon are on screen, the show gets perky.
Michael gets the character’s anger and wicked wit while blackmailing a minister (Zakir Hussain) to get what he wants, while Mansoor is hilarious as a hopped-up bully with overbearing and a “Vincent Van Goog” on his wall.
It’s hard to feel much sympathy for Sunny, who doesn’t even have the excuse of being genuinely anti-establishment to get into crime.
It is strange that the educated, middle-class man with artistic aspirations should speak like one tapori.
As the other actors immerse themselves in their roles, Shahid Kapoor’s performance is look-me-I’m-a-star until the final episode, where he pulls his performance together and captures the nuance needed.
Hopefully the inevitable Season 2 will bring greater challenges to his talent.
Farsi Stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Farsi Review Rediff Rating: