Toothless take

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 19 Jan 2019 09:45:32


 

FILM REVIEW

Why Cheat India

By Farina Salim Quraishi

Greed for grades in Indian parents and even students is perhaps one of the worst kept secrets in the country today. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and showing a stark mirror to desperation of ‘grade hungry’ junta is Emraan Hashmi’s Why Cheat India. Serving both as a comment and criticism of sorts about the loopholes in the education system in general and examinations in particular, Why Cheat India wades into troubles alright but fails to make ripples. A toothless take on a rotting examination system that rewards rote more than knowledge, Why Cheat India with its oscillating loyalties - it condemns and justifies cheating in equal measure - and a watered-down narrative, cheats us audience out of a worthy watch.

Why Cheat India builds its story on the life of young Jaunpur lad, Satyendra Singh aka Sattu (Snighadeep Chatterjee) hailing from a typical middle-class family and one who has painstakingly cracked a prestigious engineering entrance examination. Securing 287th rank, Sattu is happy with all the attention and adulation coming his way, oblivious to the evil designs of Rakesh Singh aka Rocky (Emraan Hashmi), his new-found admirer. Rocky, a smooth-taking white-collar criminal, fixes admission in prestigious medical and engineering colleges in lieu of hard cash. His network, spread across the country, functions on getting meritorious students to write entrance exams for the rich but dumb kids. Luring Sattu, who is already crushed under the weight of a student loan, an unwed sister, Nupur (Shreya Dhanwanthary) and an uncompromising father, proves to be an easy task for Rocky, who turns a mentor to the
impressionable lad.

Sattu, turning nakalmand from akalamand as suggested by Rakesh, is soon flying all over the country becoming a proxy candidate in entrance exams. The fast cash, faster girls and the even faster lifestyle enchants Sattu who happily cheats his way ahead in life. Things turn tricky when Sattu is unable to take the pressure of the fast life and Nupur, his sister, falls head over heels in love with Rakesh.

A seat into a prestigious medical and engineering college is often a ticket to better life for most Indians and students falling into the trap of cheating to get through competitive entrance exams, is an uncomfortable truth few are willing to acknowledge. Writer-director Soumik Sen had a fantastic concept but squanders a promising theme to toe the traditional Bollywood line. Clichés abound in the fine premise that highlights the flaws in education system. But the director doesn't venture in too deep into the ills and bows down to Bollywood diktats of conveniences instead.

Also, as Rakesh Sharma says - “Mujhe hero banneki koi ichcha nahin hain, villain banneka bilkul time nahin hain,” - the protagonist oscillates between being the good, bad to downright ugly guy, even as he cheerfully bends and breaks the law to suit his purpose. Long, over-drawn monologues -wherein Rakesh denounces the rote learning methods and justifies exploitation of the education system - seek of validation for cheating even as he denounces it. And what is with the songs! With a track playing for every occasion and emotion, it’s hard to differentiate between the numerous songs, more so, when they sound uncannily similar to Arijit Singh’s Phir Bhi Tumko Chaahunga from Half GirlFriend (a no winner by itself!). All the songs mesh into one with only one song, the reworded version of Hum Honge Kamyab standing out - glaringly that is!

Also the filmy flourishes are hard to ignore in the 120- minute saga, whose pace slows down post-interval. The simple plot becomes a tad too convenient and meander in one direction too many before coming to a creaky halt. Moreover, for a movie about the cheating mafia in the country, the mechanics of Rakesh’s empire are sketchily shown. Apart for morphing admit cards, duping eager students and the shocking ‘Munnabhai’ practice, little else is detailed in the movie. Even the sequence of leaking of question papers and answers is more clinical than intriguing. Politicians, coaching classes and cheating mafia nexus too is paid just lip service; even as the post-end credit stats highlight the humongous profit coaching classes are making in the
country.

Why Cheat India is an Emraan Hashmi show all the way, with rest of the cast being relative newcomers. Emraan Hashmi, on familiar turf having made a career out of playing amoral characters, shoulders the film superbly. Playing to the gallery, the actor mouths populist dialogues like, “Tum apne gyan ka faida unhein do, woh apni ameeri ka faida tumhein denge”, or even the “Greed is good...” line with infectious enthusiasm. His utter belief in his corrupt ways is strangely charming and Emraan doesn’t cheat out his role and gives Rakesh Singh his 100 per cent. Newcomer Shreya Dhanwanthary is enchantingly naive and performs well in her underwritten role. Young actor Snighadeep Chatterjee is vulnerability personified and strikes a chord with his evocative role.

All in all the film stays true to its premise, cheating the movie-goers of a timely take into the burgeoning ‘managed examination’ industry eating away into the education system in the country.

The Hitavada Rating : O O