Why Cheat India is that classic example of how just picking up germs of a relevant issue doesn’t automatically transfer into a good film. That needs sifting through one’s research, coming up with a perceptive and insightful screenplay inhabited with well-fleshed out, believable characters who drive an engaging narrative flow, cinematically. This film falters, and badly so, on all these fronts.
Why Cheat India, helmed by Soumik Sen and renamed due to an objection by the CBFC on its original title, Cheat India, takes off from the pitfalls in the Indian education system where marks matter more than anything, is a muddled film that doesn’t quite know where it want to go.
The confusions are on many levels. Does the film want to focus on the stress caused on students under tremendous pressure to crack entrance exams, sometimes even driving them to suicide? Or is it an exposé of a faulty system on different levels, where, for instance, the loopholes are exploited by people like Rajesh ‘Rocky’ Singh (Emraan Hashmi) who run a scam by hiring brilliant students and making them take proxy exams for the rich, lazy and not so intelligent students. What are we to make of Rocky? In trying to put its feet everywhere, the shallow film loses all sense of balance and falls flat on its face.
Nothing quite works – be it the shoddy writing without any great insight, the jerky narrative flow, the actual filmmaking or even the performances. Still, Emraan does have his odd moments as does Snighdadeep Chatterjee as Satyendra or ‘Sattu’, a brilliant student who loses his way to a tragic ending following his joining up with Emraan. Shreya Dhanwanthary has an interesting screen presence as and comes off best in the film as Sattu’s sister who gets back at Emraan. One problem could be that the film needed to give us far more introspective moments to go along with the characters. As it stands, it hardly gives us any. Neither is there a directorial control over the storytelling. The technicalities and the music make no impact and neither do the statistics we are bombarded with at the end of the film as by then, one is beyond caring.
All in all, Why Cheat India is so disappointing that it actually makes one ask the question that why make the film at all…
Hindi, Drama, Color