Watching Why Cheat India is like driving a 1992 Ambassador down a rocky slope…
When you’re watching Why Cheat India, consciously wondering about the grammatical blunder in the title of the film, all you can think about, or rather, are made to think about is what’s the purpose of this film! The premise of Soumik Sen’s film is interesting. He gets into the nuances of the ‘education business’ in India and how coaching classes and other agents of education, who claim that they will provide you a genuine degree by “cheating”. But where Sen fails, is in the execution and in the writing of his leading character, Rakesh, aka Rocky, because Emraan Hashmi can sure be as cool to pull that name off, subtly!
While the first half of the film comes about relatively better than the second half, and there is enough meat in it, enough potential for it to become a good film but the writing falters in the second half and it falters really bad, and what we get is a pretty confusing and convoluted second half. In fact, even in the start, things are a little confusing but it’s easier to connect the dots during that time but not in the second half. Things and people and situations appear randomly and in your head, you end up wondering, what happened and how! And what Sen does terribly wrong, is that he gives Hashmi a kiss, in a situation and a relationship where it’s least needed. I bet this would’ve been his most awkward onscreen kiss ever.
As Rocky, Emraan Hashmi is convincing at first, but then you start seeing the flaws in both, Rocky and Hashmi. And how many times is Hashmi going to play a character against the system? Here he plays the bad guy while remaining a good guy and that’s okay, but as Sen writes Rocky, you see him as neither a hero, nor a villain. In him, you see the goodness and he’s a bad person in the very next moment. He keeps fluctuating between the two, remains loyal to neither sides and in this process, Hashmi’s shortcomings as an actor are exposed.
But who shine in the film is everyone but Hashmi. Debutantes Snigdhadeep Chatterjee and Shreya Dhanwanthary as the siblings, Sattu and Nupur make commendable efforts. Sattu is an overachiever, Nupur is studying her BA as an escape from marriage. They live in small town India, in a middle class family and are made prey to Rocky’s ‘education business’, and though Rocky feels that these two are ‘special’ his focus remains on his business. Chatterjee is terrific as the studious person eventually becoming a drug addict. Dhanwanthary clearly understands the nuances of a small town girl madly in love. But the writing in the second half restricts them from doing what they did in the first half, especially her. Look out for Shibani Bedi, Rocky’s wife. She has a small role, but shines even when she’s on the phone and not on screen.
The music, in its entirety is a huge turn off and the background score will almost make you cringe.
All in all, a very initial scene in Why Cheat India – in a matinee theatre where a fight breaks out suddenly, and at the end of it, one of the guys says, “Villain Kajol hai” – makes you believe in the potential of the film. But as you move on, it begins to falter and eventually drops dead.