Shabbir Ahluwalia's TV stint may have been too long for the viewers to forget his otherwise swagger attitude and acting chops from the past. And hence, it almost seems fitting that he goes back to his crime-drama roots with his digital debut.
Alt Balaji's latest presentation, Fixerr went live on the application and Zee5 just a while ago and having viewed a couple of episodes, here's what I think of it.
In an attempt to get you confused, the first few minutes roll around how Malik (Shabbir Ahluwalia) gets shot and even in the hospital, as he is recovering, is attempted to kill only to be saved. But after those minutes, Malik, who is also the narrator brings the viewers to attention with a flashback that basically is the actual story. Willing to not waste too much time, in a mere two episodes, The show portrays how Malik, an honest and dedicated cop turns into a 'fixer.' An accidental encounter, suspension from police duty and humiliation leads him to adopt a road which gets him corrupted money and living on the edge.
It is, however, Varun Badola's Dalmiya that becomes the reason for Malik to catapult into this world as he plots the ouster of actress Ahana Sharma (Karishma Sharma) from Dalmiya's son, Tarun's (Gagan Anand) life. Easily able to do that, Dalmiya is now a relieved man. However, as you would remember that is a flashback and coming to real-time, Malik is shot and recovering in the hospital, where a countdown of 48 hours begins. Malik's wife, Kesar (Mahie Gill) worries about how he only has that many hours left and someone might kill him.
Ahluwalia's return to crime drama seems as fitting as it can be. Before his on-going stint in Kumkum Bhagya, the actor wowed one and all with his role as a gangster in Shootout at Lokhandwala. Here, even though he doesn't play a gangster, he has the ultimate swagger, persona and acting chops to play Malik to perfection. Also, the idea of breaking the fourth wall is smart for an almost nihilistic character like Malik as he talks to the audience time and again.
If you take Tighmanshu Dhulia, there is a rare chance he can go wrong. Playing Malik's senior, he is a morally corrupt, blowjob-frenzy Malik-hating policeman who has been given some of the best lines to say, and the actor pulls it off with perfection.
The ladies of the show get some really pound characters to play in what could have been a testosterone-driven plotline. While Gill's Kesar doesn't have way too much to do initially, she is clearly an integral part of the suspense that will unfold in the later episodes. Isha Koppikar is one of the best characters of the show as not only is she involved in saving Malik (or not) but has a layer to play tackling her failing marriage and her police duty. It is almost an extension of the character she played in Kya Kool Hai Hum. Karishma Sharma as Ahana is pretty much the central piece of the main plot where this 'fixing' done by Malik involving her character is what will result in unforeseen circumstances.
The humor of the show is edgy and the dialogues will instantly remind you of Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (also an Ekta Kapoor presentation). Making a crime thriller funny is an idea that only goes wrong if the humor is bad, which here certainly isn't.
The subtle hints at portraying progressive content are absolutely fabulous in the show and deserve a special mention in themselves. From Malik talking about homosexuality NOT being a problem or crime but a choice to Ahanna assuring Tarun that she doesn't have any problems with him being bisexual, it is important to show this in a presentation and it is important to convey it in a manner that it doesn't seem preachy. Fixerr does that brilliantly.
While the idea of having real-time but random scenes leading to Malik's shootout obviously seems essential but the way it is treated with gets you all confused. And with your initial minutes being too convoluted, a viewer may not be willing to continue with watching the rest of it.
Mahie Gill's Kesar, while may have a great character arc in the upcoming episodes, it is the actress' portrayal that (surprisingly) disappoints. Gill is actually a rather fine actress but her acting here seems too caricaturish and at times, unnecessarily loud.
The blend of thrill, whistle-worthy dialogues, comedy, and action is a mouth-watering combo that hardly gets wrong. And while Fixerr may not tick all the boxes, it is still a binge-worthy show that may keep you glued.
Rating - *** (3/5)