As a result of everything that happens, Sunny evolves from an anti-hero to a villain. Even though you know he's wrong, you still want the best for Farzi, so you find yourself rooting for him.
Michael (Vijay Sethupathi), a fiery, unconventional member of the task force, wants to get rid of the counterfeiting problem in the country. Sunny (Shahid Kapoor), a smart, small-time artist, is thrust into the high-stakes world of counterfeiting when he designs the perfect fake money note. Losing is not an option in this gripping game of cat and mouse.
In the very first episode of Farzi, Shahid Kapoor and Bhuvan Arora's characters inquire about a club where the entry is for Rs. 27,000. They are insulted by the manager for their "status," and in return, Shahid as Sunny asks him if his salary allows him to buy the ticket to the club; if not, then why can't he empathise with where they are coming from? This is his character, who questions society for treating the middle class as the "middle finger class," and the game changes instantly in the pilot.
Farzi introduces us to an artist who can meticulously replicate the world's most famous paintings, making them look exactly like the originals. This gives him an idea of how to create fake notes, whether with digital help or anything else. He recreates the note with his magic as an artist and prints it. Thus begins the journey of counterfeiting notes, wherein he has the advantage of having a printing press of his own, as his grandfather Madhav (Amol Palekar) is the founder of Kranti newspaper.
"Kranti" brings a different meaning altogether; his grandfather was a freedom fighter and continues to be so with his principles. Despite shortcomings and the newspaper not doing well, he believes there will be a revolution. On the other hand, Sunny decides to bring about a revolution by counterfeiting notes.
He, along with his friend Firoz (Arora), reeks of the motto of Guddu Bhaiyya in Mirzapur: "Shuru majboori mein kiye the, ab mazaa aa raha hai." The taste of success in one's efforts is felt in a very special way, even if it is a heinous crime.
This is about Sunny; now, a parallel story track is about Michael (Sethupathi), an investigating officer who is in search of the man behind counterfeiting notes. However, it's easily established that the main man in the business is Mansoor (Kay Kay Menon), who has been the main target for Michael for many years. The cat-and-mouse chase is about them, and Sunny's business is nowhere near a priority as such for the cops, for the obvious reasons.
Farzi is about how Sunny and Michael eventually cross paths, making them come face-to-face for a showdown. The eight episodes are the subplots leading up to it. However, the great idea is that this creation of Raj and DK makes for a slightly tedious watch, bringing us information that adds nothing to the table.
To give credit where credit is due, it's a treat to see how an Rs. 500 note is created with such finesse by a gifted artist like Sunny that even he forgets which is the genuine article and which is a forgery. The actor is seen as a calmer artist before the storm hits his life. He has patience and studies the surrounding area well, which keeps him at an advantage. There are instances where Shahid will remind you of his role in Badmaash Company, where he made money by being a brainiac.
Being an actor from Mumbai brought about a great advantage for him, as his dialogue delivery is just too good. Shahid has got great lines, and he just aces them with the right tone and expression, of course. Supporting him well is Bhuvan Arora as Firoz, who is among the major highlights of the show. Both of them make up the new friendship duo that Bollywood has given us over the years.
However, it's not the performances that are to be complained about in Farzi; it's the storyline, which falters in many instances. For example, when making Megha (Raashii Khanna), the link between Sunny and Michael was quite predictable. If it had to happen, it takes place quite late, when the series becomes somewhat exhausting to watch. Another problem is that, despite being a binge-worthy and entertaining watch, you might not miss anything if you keep your eyes away from the screen for some time.
The biggest issue I had with the series was the character development of Sethupathi's Michael. The character is shown to have a dark past, which led to all hell breaking loose in his life. And where does it have the greatest impact? His marital life. The typical subplot of making cops have a marital life is done and dusted in movies and series; it just could have been avoided easily. Showing him as "the family man" brings about no change in the way we see Michael as a character.
The scenes between Sethupathi and Regina Cassandra are just rip-offs of what we have seen in Talvar between Irrfan and Tabu's characters.
The character deserved better, and Sethupathi does an excellent job with what is given to him. The best thing about his performance is the way he has done dialogue delivery in Hindi. In one of the scenes, Zakir Hussain's character asks Michael to learn more about Hindi than just abusive words, which will leave you in splits instantly. The actor talking in Hindi is a delectable treat, and Sethupathi being a cop is like icing on the cake. You know you'll get a no-nonsense approach quickly.
Another actor to watch out for in Farzi is none other than Kay Kay Menon. The actor is indeed a master of expression and sarcasm. He takes the cake and eats it too by making a reappearance in the series after the premiere episode. Interestingly, his scenes with both Shahid and Sethupathi are meatier, and the actor indeed brings out the best in him and them.
Raashii Khanna plays Megha, an RBI agent, who gives a decent performance. At first, her character is a spark, but after a while, it's just bait.
Until Farzi reaches its climactic stage, you just want to know if Shahid and Sethupathi will come face-to-face or not. That becomes the talking point for which you might be waiting for a long time. But you might be a little bit let down by the ending because it leaves you wanting more.
But the best part of the finale episode is a chase sequence, which is totally relatable to people in Mumbai. On the scene, cops are trying to nab the criminals but get stuck in traffic. It so happens that they get out of their vehicle and run towards the criminals, only to get confused when the signal turns green. The scene immediately makes you laugh and demonstrates Raj and DK's incredible ability to make things relatable—and how!
Farzi disappoints with its ending, as it's a predictable plot that could have made it to the screen to set the precedent it approached the show for. However, the cliffhanger leaves space for another season, and I hope it just gets better than this.
Sunny goes from being an anti-hero to living long enough to become a villain as a result of all the circumstances. You root for him despite knowing that he is wrong, which makes for a win-win situation for Farzi as a whole. But I just hoped it worked better for Sethupathi than what was displayed onscreen. However, demonstrating how to counterfeit a note on screen is a risky business!