Why Cheat India takes us into the life of Rakesh Kumar Singh, a conman who treats education like any other lucrative business. His immediate targets are vulnerable aspirant engineers, MBA applicants who would leave no stone unturned to bag a seat at the IITs and the IIMs. He milks their potential, pays them well to serve his clients, who come to him in the quest of buying seats from top-ranked institutions in the country, come what may. Rakesh lives his life always on the edge, rigging examinations, receiving threats from cops, disgruntled parents, underworld dons and politicians. However, his modus operandi destroys the life of a gullible yet talented Sattvinder, who falls for his trap in return for quick money. Sattu's sister meanwhile finds herself attracted to an already married Rakesh. What is this maze all about? It's a rather simplistic story that needed more meat to make a mark.
Artistes’ Performances: Emraan Hashmi, who also has bankrolled the film, happens to be a natural choice to play the lead role of a conman who exploits the desperation, societal pressures of parents and students in earning top grades, bagging seats in top universities, come what may. He seems to be fairly comfortable in the zone where he deceives the system. But the problem is his stereotype of doing a lead role with grey shades, time and again. Maybe, that's why his credible performance doesn't strike a chord as much as it did in his earlier films. Snighdadeep Chatterji, essaying the role of an innocent youngster crumbling under the pressure of his father's expectations, comes up with a resonating act that would relate to most talented yet pressurised students in the country. Shreya Dhanwanthary, cast as Snighdadeep Chatterji's elder sister in the film, gets a rather passive role and her character graph feels too flat. The supporting actors contribute to the authentic middle-class atmosphere that prevails through the film.
Technical Merit -
Direction: This is certainly among the better films that director Soumik Sen has made to date. The premise catches hold of your attention, the filmmaker creates a right backdrop mirroring the struggles and pressures of middle-class parents in seeing their wards succeed academically. However, more effort could have been put in explaining how Emraan Hashmi makes use of the loopholes in the education system. Why Cheat India makes the rigging of examinations, creation of fake certificates seem like a piece of cake. The lucrative financial side to the education scam is shown well, but the nuances behind the deception are completely ignored. The film literally crawls in the second hour and the conflict in the climax doesn't evoke surprise. Still, Soumik manages to engage us and makes sure there aren't many dull elements in the screenplay.
But for occasional punchlines given to Emraan Hashmi, the dialogues are kept rather simple and straightforward. They don't go overboard on word-play and situational relevance is stressed upon, which works for the film. Cinematography: There's only so much that a canvas can contribute to a film that deals with activity behind closed doors, police stations, and examination halls. Within this space, though, cinematographer Alphonse Roy is in sync with the intentions of the story. Nothing really out of the box, but nothing to complain about either.
Staying in tune with the popular trend of using different composers for songs through the film, Why Cheat India has a music score doesn't quite stay with you. Although the background score is passable, this is a film where music remains only a perfunctory element of the narrative. So the lesser you expect of it, the better. Editing: One of the film's positives is its crisp 113-minute running time. Why Cheat India, is always on the move, the sequences are short and the drama element in the film is relatively underplayed too. The flow of the film is pacy enough, though better work could have gone on the editing table in making the second hour more organic. Production standards: The film, shot with good aesthetic sense, however, has its limitations with the execution. Thanks to a credible technical team, the makers don't let their budgetary constraints come in the way of the film's overall appeal.
* Interesting premise * Portrayal of middle-class setup * Emraan Hashmi's performance
* No significant conflict, detailing * A relatively dull screenplay * Ambiguous ending
While there have been a handful of films that have portrayed the ills of the education system and the academic pressures of students, Why Cheat India points the finger at desperate parents for turning education into a profitable commodity. The film throws impressive light on the loopholes of the system and the work that goes behind the several college admission scams. But, the story could have been more well-rounded. There's no tipping point in the film despite its pacy narration. Everything happens in a matter of factly fashion and the film nearly whitewashes the scamsters within the education system. The second hour, especially the climax portion, could have gone a long way in making a more impactful film. For now, it's happy being an intermittently engaging outing that runs on Emraan Hashmi's shoulders.
Icing on the cake:
A reasonable film that needed more spunk