Emraan Hashmi in a still from 'Why Cheat India'. Photograph:( WION Web Team )
Hashmi plays Rakesh aka Rocky who has a knack to spot intelligent students from not so privileged background and employ them as substitute writers for students who may have the moolah to buy the seat but not the desired IQ to crack it.
At the onset, Emraan Hashmi's latest 'Why Cheat India' looks promising. A film on the great Indian middle-class dream of making child a doctor or an engineer and how the rat race often leads to catastrophe for the child and his life, 'Why Cheat India' looked interesting and relevant on paper perhaps, but its execution on the big screen ultimately leaves too many questions in one's mind about the film itself.
Hashmi plays Rakesh aka Rocky who has a knack to spot intelligent students from not so privileged background and employ them as substitute writers for students who may have the moolah to buy the seat but not the desired IQ to crack it in one go. Hashmi's business is a thriving one naturally as he knows his client base well - the middle-class parents who aspire things way out of their child's league.
While Rocky has several students working for him, the narrative focusses on young 'achiever' Sattu (Snighdadeep Chatterjee) and his family. A topper from a lower-middle-class family, Sattu is well aware of the responsibilities he has and gets attracted to Rakesh's business idea easily. As he goes around the country appearing for exams for others, Sattu's family's financial status also improves. The film thus narrates not just the story of Rakesh and his rise but also Sattu's on how it affects his college life as he goes around 'cheating' for others.
Written and directed by Soumik Sen, the story attempts to hold a mirror to our existing society where scores of students are pressurized to study engineering or medicine even if they are not cut out for it or do not have an interest in it. Parents take up hefty loan and spend most of their earnings on educating their kids so that they can get the desired degree. But the message overall gets diluted in the film primarily because of a poorly written screenplay. In fact, apart from Hashmi, who plays the charming Rocky with great ease, no character is really able to create an impact. Hashmi slips into the role of a con-man with principles (he doesn't leak papers ever) quite effortlessly. With a smirk firmly placed on his face, Hashmi delivers some really dramatic lines charmingly. But Hashmi alone cannot take the film forward.
Two of the female characters in the film- one of Hashmi's wife and the other his love interest- played by debutant actresses Shibani Bedi and Shreya Dhanwanthary show spark but ultimately are let down by a poorly written script. There could have been so much more to the character that Bedi plays as Hashmi's talkative wife or the character Dhanwanthary played of Sattu's sister who seems way liberal in a small-town setup.
In the end, the film majorly suffers because of its incoherence. It fails to connect the problems of the archaic education system in our country to Rocky's purpose of earning money out of it. Near the climax, Rocky is seen delivering a long monologue on the flawed education system that depends more on rot and fails to provide seats to meritorious students. But the scene doesn't give a possible solution- it just gives reasoning to why Rocky loots wealthy aspirants each year in exchange of a college seat.
Shoddy editing, incoherent script and lack of connect between the first and the second half of the film mars 'Why Cheat India' to a great extent. It doesn't provide the viewers with anything new, it just shows how India cheats- which is a known fact.