Farrey Movie Review: Looks like someone at Salman Khan Films loves scouring through Asian cinema to pick out the right film for a Hindi remake, whether it stars Bhai or not. Farrey is the second Thai film remake produced by the banner, following the underrated Notebook, a remake of the Thai film The Teacher's Diary. An official adaptation of the 2017 movie Bad Genius, Farrey marks the acting debut of actor Atul Agnihotri's daughter, Alizeh, who is also Salman Khan's niece. Let's say, she is off to a pretty good start. Farrey Movie Review: Alizeh Agnihotri Scores High Marks With Her Acting Debut, Per Critics.
Directed by Soumendra Padhi (known for Budhia: Born to Run and Jamtara), Farrey revolves around a series of cheating scams taking place in elite school campuses. Niyati (Alizeh), an orphan living under the care of a compassionate couple (Ronit Roy and Juhi Babbar), who run a girls' shelter home for kids and teens under 18. Despite being a genius and topping all her exams, Niyati has no qualms about using her intellect for dishonest purposes, such as appearing as a proxy for others in entrance tests and charging a fee for it.
Thanks to her outstanding performance in state-level exams, Niyati is invited to join an elite school, but she's not the only one. Aakash (Sahil Mehta), another high achiever from a poor household, also receives gets admission. When Niyati helps a rich girl, Chhavi (Prasanna Bisht), out of a tough situation and later with her studies, they become good friends.
Similar to how Ranveer Singh's Murad was swayed by Sky's living conditions in Gully Boy, Niyati is enticed by Chhavi's lifestyle and quickly becomes part of her elite clique. Fortunately, there is no unnecessary focus on sex or drug usage; instead, the kids are preoccupied with more serious concerns—achieving better grades for admission to international universities. Chhavi and her gang ask Niyati for help, and she agrees to let them copy her papers in exchange for money through some ingenious manners.
While everything starts off as fun and games, things become more complicated as Niyati realises she is descending into a dangerous rabbit hole. Moreover, she drags a reluctant Aakash into her mess.
Watch the Trailer of Farrey:
What works for Farrey is that the makers appreciated the strong material in the original source and decided not to deviate too much (I am no fan of remakes, but as long as it is not harming the original, I let films like this pass). Still, there are a few changes from the original film, like making Niyati an orphan and giving her a more emotional cause in helping her guardians out. Otherwise, except for a party song, Farrey sticks closely to the original. However if you expect Farrey to be a strong exploration into class division and the fallacies of education system, then you are looking at the wrong film. While Farrey does skim through these issues, but it is more interested in the thriller aspect of its plot.
Being true to the source material is one thing, but maintaining the same level of thrill is another, and Farrey succeeds in this aspect too. The examination cheating scenes are filled with enough thrills to keep you engaged, especially in the second half when the action moves to Australia, where Niyati and Aakash attempt a high-risk but more lucrative endeavor in a global entrance exam. While I may not fully understand the intricacies of that particular examination, the sequence is undoubtedly nerve-racking. Aakash's moral degradation, although a bit rushed in the beginning, is well-depicted, especially in how it weighs on Niyati's conscience later on.
Let's not forget that it's the young cast that truly shines here. Alizeh makes a confident debut in a paradoxical casting choice— a star-kid playing a non-privileged character looking to make inroads with the richer circles. She particularly excels in scenes where Niyati goes through an emotional crisis and stands out in the final confrontation with Aakash. Who would have thought that the niece would outshine her uncle in 2023, where the latter delivered less-than-passable performances in Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ki Jaan and Tiger 3?
Sahil Mehta has less scope to perform in the first half, but the young actor impresses in the second half when his character allows himself to get morally corrupted by his circumstances. Prasanna Bisht is wonderful as the rich girl with Daddy issues, while Zeyn Shaw leaves a mark as her shrewd partner-in-crime, Prateek. Fortunately, Farrey doesn't treat these rich kids as cliches; they are flawed but layered with their own insecurities that drive them to manipulate the less privileged. Notebook Movie Review: The Kids Steal the Show in Pranutan Bahl and Zaheer Iqbal’s Love Story.
Among the supporting cast, Ronit Roy is very likeable as the kind-hearted guardian, though I am not sure why the film chose not to give him a name. At least his partner, Juhi Babbar's character, is called Zoya, but the end-credits simply refer to him as 'Warden.' Shilpa Shukla shines in the couple of scenes she is in. Arbaaz Khan appears in a cameo, and there is a bit too much grinning going on there.
While I was surprised at how engaging Farrey turned out to be, I found the climax to be a bit underwhelming. While the makers tried to be honest to the original to some extent, especially in the faceoff between Niyati and Aakash, it takes a more convenient, vanilla route to give a happy ending to its protagonist, which doesn't feel convincing.
Farrey works well as a faithful remake of an acclaimed film with a promising debut for Alizeh and also in eking out fine performances from the young cast. While the thrilling cheating scenes and the high-stakes escapade in Australia keep the audience hooked, the climax, though underwhelming, doesn't overshadow the film's overall appeal. Quite a dark horse this one!
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 24, 2023 01:58 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).