Episode 1 of Farzi begins with Sunny and Firoz both in a heap of trouble. They’re bagged and tied up, taken to a secret house and questioned over a bank note. “What the fuck were you thinking?”
Rewind in time and we learn that Sunny is an artist in his spare time. He has a real talent with a paintbrush or pencil and can copy any famous painting. His grandfather also had this gift, although he had something else to fall back on when his dreams failed to materialize – Kranti Magazine. This publishing house happens to hold Firoz inside, Sunny’s best friend and work colleague. His grandfather is the one in charge here, commanding grueling 15 hour days.
Sunny shows up to see his grandpa, learning that their magazine isn’t doing so well. Nannu has big plans and wants to put it online and expand their reach, but Sunny doesn’t think it’s a good idea. No matter how much Sunny hates it, he’s stuck with this run-down printing press as part of their family. It’s never really done well, as flashbacks confirm that Firoz and Sunny have kept that a secret and saved up their money to stash in Nannu’s draw.
As the years go by, Firoz and Sunny begin to see a price to everything. When you have no money, all you can see is money around you, and as Sunny dives into his painting and Firoz works more with the factory, the pair keep a close bond through all these years.
New Year rolls round and Firoz, Sunny and hi group end up on a rooftop for a big party. Sunny’s girlfriend Ananya only sticks around for a few minutes though, given she instead decides she wants to hang with the rich kids over at a hotel which Firoz and Sunny struggled to get a ticket for earlier in the episode.
Sunny speaks to Firoz on the roof as they discuss their current situation. Firoz believes they just need to eke through a few more years of struggle before they make it. Sunny though is sick of having to struggle, believing that things will never get better. Something needs to give.
When Sunny shows up at work, Nannu admits that the recovery people have shown up and want him to pay up. The thing is, the place is broke and they’re now swimming in debt. Asa result, Nannu decides to do one final issue for the editorial before shutting the place down.
Sunny and Firoz head off to see Mr Ratanlal, trying to gain favours from the loaner and wanting more time to pay back their debts. They manage to get an extra month but it’s only delaying the inevitable. As a result, Sunny remains dead-set on bringing a revolution to off-set the system and put power back in the hands of the common folk.
Firoz and Sunny decide to sell their bikes, and also get rid of all Sunny’s paintings in one fell swoop. It’s still not enough though so the pair decide the only solution is to go and see a shady guy called Anees. He’s living in a lively house, and he brings up a scheme that could help them. This comes from a guy called Sketch Manja. He’s a talented guy who’s excellent at forgery. He’s a crook no doubt, but definitely the guy who could help them out. Sunny has an idea of printing money, painting bills through using the printing press.
The pair work together, using Firoz’s printing knowhow and Sunny’s excellent artistry to perfectly forge the notes. Print, clean, change, repeat. Eventually they manage to make the notes and even drip them in tea to give a more authentic look, making sure they’re not too clean and crisp. Unfortunately, they’re immediately found out and chased. As for Sunny though, he’s not about to give up that easily.
Over in Nepal, Michael and his team touch down, hot on the heels of a fake currency gig run by a bunch of crooks. The ringleader here is Mansoor Dalal. He’s been printing Indian currency in the Middle East, packaging it in Nepal and then distributing it around India. Mansoor talks a big game but he and his team are arrested… or are they? Suddenly, gunshots rain down outside as the police are forced into action. It’s pure carnage, while Mansoor manages to skip away, killing Michael’s partner in the process.
Meanwhile, Sunny realizes that they need the right paper; that’s the reason why the bill wasn’t working before. They decide on bleaching the paper, having found the right consistency, and then intend to print on each side of the currency. And it works! They get their prize and realize the money is perfect.
Fast forward to the earlier moment from the start of the episode and Mansoor is the one who’s holding Firoz and Sunny captive. Unfortunately, Firoz is shot dead once Sunny admits he’s the one who made the bank note.
The Episode Review
The first episode of Farzi gets off to a pretty good start, with decent characterization for Sunny and Firoz. We have pretty clear motivations for why they’re doing this, and have all the foundations to excel through their background knowledge in art and printing.
There’s a nice way of tying this into the Mansoor subplot too, with it revealed at the end that he’s the one who has the pair held captive. Whether Firoz has actually been shot dead or not remains to be seen, as this could well be a big fake-out, especially this early in the game.
There are definitely some similarities to Catch Me If You Can with the notes and the whole operation, but beyond that Farzi feels like an original spin on this idea so it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.
One thing’s for sure though, this looks like it’s going to be quite the rollercoaster ride over the coming episodes!
You can read our full season review for Farzi here!