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Shreelancer review: An honest, daring film busting the freelancing bubble

Release Date: 18 Aug 2017 / Rated: U/A / 01hr 42min

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

Director Sandeep Mohan's film portrays the life of a freelancer, which appears lucrative to others but comes with its own set of hardships.

The advent of the internet has opened up work-from-home and freelancing options for many, especially in urban India. Even though Hindi cinema, particularly independent Hindi cinema, has begun addressing urban, contemporary subjects, we haven’t yet seen a film based on the difficult life of freelancers, which seems perfect and lovely from the outside. 

Director Sandeep Mohan, who has previously directed the enjoyable Love, Wrinkle-free (2011), does the needful in Shreelancer. Through his witty and adventurous take on the life of a freelancer, he has also proven what one can achieve cinematically even with a shoestring budget. 

Shreelancer is about a 27-year-old freelance copywriter named Shreepad Naik aka Shree (hence, the title). He hails from the city of Bengaluru and stays with his retired father. His mother passed away in an accident few years ago. While he was out of job, Shree recieved a freelance assignment and has been stuck in the world of freelancing ever since. 

His profession appears shiny to those who are working full time. They even envy him for being able to work anytime and even out of cafes. But Shree’s life is anything but pleasant. Apart from fighting deadlines, he has to literally beg for payments, that are always delayed. Shree gets a chance to travel to Chandigarh for a close friend’s wedding. He is unaware of the surprises this trip will bring for him. 

Shreelancer succeeds in the basic and most important task of portraying the realistic life of a freelancer and the things he or she goes through on a daily basis. Anyone having worked as a freelancer would be able to relate with the character. The situations and dialogues are real and entertaining and, at times, naturally funny too. 

In between, the narrative also brings to light the unusual relationship between Shree and his father. One can feel the admiration and love the guy has for his dad, although he hardly expresses it. This speaks a lot about the changing parental relationships in urban India. 

The adventure part appears filmi and convenient though. The other issue with the film is that there is no explanation as to how exactly Shree got sucked into the world of freelancing. This could have been explored a bit more.

The technical department has done well considering the very tight budget. The camerawork and background score have helped in keeping things real. A couple of songs are also smartly used in the background. 

Coming to the performances, Arjun Radhakrishnan has literally lived the character of Shree, the freelancer. He has succeeded in portraying different facets of the character. Shreelancer is his first feature film and the actor deserves more chances in the future. 

Salmin Sheriff, who plays the father, rightfully underplays his character and succeeds in being realistic, except on a few occasions. Other actors like Monica Mahendru, the two foreigners and the actor playing tour guide offer perfect support. 

Overall, Shreelancer is an honest and daring attempt. It is a film for those who enjoy watching independent films without bothering about the production value, scale and stars.