A classroom full of students pays off a teacher just before the exam sheets are given out so that they can cheat openly. But one student resists. And his answer sheet is shredded into bits. The boy is heartbroken but our spectacled hero steps up and sets it right, even punishing the teacher. It’s all part of a bigger plan to redeem himself and win over the lawmakers. But writer-director Soumik Sen is unable to weave together a story that makes him worthy of applause. Instead, he pedals an illogical plot that glorifies a twisted campaign against the flawed education system.
His Rakesh Singh (Emraan Hashmi) smugly goes about cheating the system because the system had cheated him. He ends up putting unqualified people on the job thus risking thousands of lives but is quick to blame pushy parents for slamming their dreams on their children. Or, how they use their children to turn into cash machines.
On moralistic grounds, it’s easy to trash the unrepenting Rakesh, but we’ve seen enough movies on gangsters who have been humanised and sometimes even glorified be it their greed or crime. So we forgive Emraan Hashmi for playing the anti-hero (yet again!). And we unquestioningly buy into his world, until a podgy businessman boasts about how he’ll soon make a biopic about Rakesh in Bollywood so that we can celebrate him. Even when he’s caught with blood on his hands!
The sheer audacity of that man is pretty much what sets the tone in Why Cheat India. No matter how unethical the proceedings are, the filmmakers are bent upon giving Rakesh a halo to wear. It’s a relevant topic, no doubt, but one that’s handled with lethargy.
Cracking under pressure (some) young boys take their lives but the suicides happen without much impact. It’s unlike the emotional upheaval the boy in 3 Idiots caused. Sen, unfortunately, is unable to dwell deeper into the psyche of boys who are caught in the con. There are drugs, women and money thrown in to entice them but everything appears tacky and forced. The movie shifts from one scam to another without much thought and relevance, presumably for shock-value. And it shows in its treatment.
What Sen does impeccably, however, is the casting. Singdhadeep Chatterjee fits the mould of the vulnerable Sattu and Shreya Dhanwanthary as his loyal sister Nupur. Even their parents are pitch-perfect. Emraan Hashmi too tries earnestly to lend depth and meaning to a character that Sen has left one-sided. He manages to impress with his warped heroism for most parts. But his efforts are soon crushed as Sen is unable to shake off either Emraan’s ‘serial kisser’ image or his penchant for great soundtracks, and obediently hands him a song and a lady to liplock.
“Needs never end,” Rakesh announces, and hence, he’ll let the world run on autopilot. Did Sen also cash in on some ‘movie’ scam? We can’t help but wonder.