Web Series Review: The Freelancer – The Conclusion

Written by on December 17, 2023

THE FREELANCER – THE CONCLUSION is the story of a mercenary going all out to save his late friend’s daughter. After the events of the first season, Mohsin’s (Navneet Malik) parents Khalid Fazal (Shahid Lateef) and Asar Fazal (Geeta Aggarwal) are killed in a suicide bomb explosion in Raqqa. Aliya (Kashmira Pardeshi) is stuck in Dayr Az Zawr in ISIS-controlled territory in Syria. She continues to communicate with Avinash Kamat (Mohit Raina) who’s moving heaven and earth to safely get her out. She clicks videos secretly of her surroundings and also successfully injects Trojan into the devices of his in-laws and husband. This enables Avinash to gain access to their activities. He passes on this information to Mark Ross (Shaun Paul) and Radha Baxi (Sarah Jane Dias), CIA officials in Tangier, Morocco. Their seniors at Langley, USA, however, are more concerned about Mohsin, who’s a trained pilot and a terrorist. Since they are tracking Aliya and the Fazal’s family, they plan to explode their residence through a drone attack when they are all together at night. They have decided to execute the plan in 48 hours. This means that Avinash only has two days to form a team and think of a flawless plan that will help him extract Aliya from arguably the most dangerous region on the planet. What happens next forms the rest of the series.

Both the seasons of THE FREELANCER are based on the book ‘A Ticket To Syria’ by Shirish Thorat. Ritesh Shah and Benazir Ali Fida’s story is detailed and researched. Ritesh Shah and Benazir Ali Fida’s screenplay is simplistic and very captivating. It is only three episodes long with a run time of 150 minutes and doesn’t bore. However, the first two episodes could have been shorter. Ritesh Shah and Benazir Ali Fida’s dialogues are realistic and conversational.

Bhav Dhulia and Rahil Nadiadwala’s direction is terrific. Their biggest strength is that they keep viewers on the edge of their seats constantly. One can understand the seriousness as Aliya is stuck in a territory ruled by a ruthless bunch who will finish her off instantly if she gets caught. Hence, every time Aliya goes to the washroom to secretly talk to Avinash, one’s heart skips a beat as one fears the worst. The best is, however, reserved for the finale. The tension levels rise to another level in the last episode. Since it has Neeraj Pandey’s stamp all over, it gives one a déjà vu of the climax of his acclaimed film BABY [2015].

On the flipside, the arrangement of staying away from family and debriefing by the CIA is not properly explained to the audience. The action is minimal in the first two episodes, and this might make viewers restless. Also, though the last episode is engaging, it has too many cinematic liberties. Agreed that Avinash does stumble upon several obstacles while in ISIS territory, yet his operation also seemed like a child’s play in a few scenes.

Mohit Raina shows limited expressions, and it works perfectly for his character. His screen presence and aura add to the impact. Kashmira Pardeshi is too good a performer and her career should go on a high after this series. She also handles the part of Soniya Shah with conviction (though it defies logic). Anupam Kher (Dr Arif Khan) is dependable and only he could have pulled off this role with ease. Navneet Malik looks dashing and is fine. Shaun Paul is fair while Sarah Jane Dias is just okay. She suits the part, but one wishes she had more to do. Ayesha Raza (Sabeena Khan) lends able support. Same goes for Manjari Fadnis (Mrunal). John Kokken (Raghavendra Setu) is great. Balaji Gauri (Farhat Khala) rocks the show, after an equally commendable performance in MUMBAI DIARIES SEASON 2. Sangay Tsheltrim (Gurung Thapa), last seen in JAWAN [2023], is decent. Sameer Al Obaidli (Osama Maqsood) is a great find. Breshna Khan (Nabeela; Aliya’s friend and neighbour) makes her presence felt. Aakkash Dabhade (Wilson) is hilarious. Kavin Dave (Mukesh Shah) and Jiten Mukhi (Jayesh Patel) essay great characters but are hardly there in the show. Daniel Clifford (Buzz Jones; Avinash’s team member), Vikas (Varun; Avinash’s team member), Aditya Rawat (Veer Aryan; Avinash’s team member from Pune) and Sairi Salma (Nadia; Avinash’s team member) are fine.

Sanjoy Chowdhury’s background score uplifts the tension. Tojo Xavier’s cinematography is breathtaking, especially the locales of Morocco. Abbas Ali Moghul and Jérémie Vigot’s action is not disturbing and fit for family viewing. Falguni Thakore’s costumes are authentic while Sukant Panigrahy’s production design is realistic. Raj VFX Pvt Ltd’s VFX could have been better in some scenes. Praveen Kathikuloth’s editing, on the other hand, could have been slicker in the first two episodes.

On the whole, THE FREELANCER – THE CONCLUSION is worth watching due to the plot, performances and a nail-biting climax that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

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