Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Shreya Dhanwanthary, Snighadeep Chatterjee
Director: Soumik Sen
Soumik Sen’s ‘Why Cheat India’ is an attempt to expose what he considers to be the country’s flawed education system, and while it is a well-intentioned film, the narrative is marred by a labored pace and tepid treatment.
Rakesh Singh aka Rocky, played competently by Emraan Hashmi, is a suave conman. He ensures aspirants, who don’t have the aptitude to clear entrance exams, get an engineering/medical seat for a hefty price. He picks intelligent students, lures them with money, and then has them write entrance tests instead of the real candidates by using fake admit cards.
The business seems to be doing well and enough palms are greased to keep this con job going. But operations are thrown in total disarray when a bright student ends his life.
The filmmaker had good material to work with. India’s educational system might churn out a record number of engineers and doctors, but learning-by-rote method has often come under fire. An examination that seems to assess memorizing more than application has exposed the cracks of this system.
Crores of students in India are competing for a handful of seats in prestigious education institutions. Beyond a point, students with average intelligence run out of options. Only the ones with power or money seem to be able to make it big. The added stress also manifests as a climbing rate of student suicides. All this together doesn’t paint a very positive picture of the Indian education system.
A topic like this needed a skilled approach – a taut script, a fast-paced narrative, a suspenseful build-up would have made this film an engaging watch. The intensity of the drama is diluted by a romantic track and languid storytelling. Hashmi apart, there is no robust support from the rest of the cast as it sleepwalks through the proceedings.
Instead of focusing on one issue at hand, the director chooses to take on a lot of related aspects. This serves only as a distraction. After a while, you forget the point he is trying to make. He seems to sermonizing on an issue without actually providing any solution to what is essentially a very relatable problem.
‘Why Cheat India’ is a half-baked story where the key ingredients fail to come together. The flawed execution makes this one a laborious watch.