Why Cheat India movie cast: Emraan Hashmi, Shreya Dhanwantary, Snighadeep Chatterjee
Why Cheat India movie director: Soumik Sen
Why Cheat India movie rating: One and a half stars
Why do so many students in India resort to cheating during examinations? Why Cheat India (previously called Cheat India) has a worthy theme, because it impacts the lives of so many of our young, as they mug night and day to crack that one exam which will lift them and their families out of the relentless grind of jobbery and poverty.
Rakesh Singh aka Rocky (Hashmi) is a saviour for those millions of parents and children who know that an engineering or a medical degree is a passport to a better life. That he does it by entirely dodgy means is presented to us as a nudge-wink necessity, because how else does a student score a seat (whose numbers are limited) after beating off the others (whose numbers are unlimited)?
Done well, this film on cheating and faking, and winning and losing could have been a timely, hard-hitting exposition: of a rotten, corrupt education system which sets more score by rote learning rather than learning per se, and a society which values the end and turns a blind eye towards the means.
But Why Cheat India is disjointed and disappointing, never quite knowing which side it is on, even as it spends time showing us how good students can be ruined by greed, and how parents can put killing pressure on their children in their struggle to break the vicious gap between present debt and potential income.
The material is slender and too stretched over two hours, as it goes from engineering-medicine into management, the holy grail. The entrance of gun-toting ‘gundas’ and stealing of question papers, and an unconvincing revenge angle, turns the whole thing ludicrous.
A couple of the acts — Snighadeep Chatterjee as Sattu, the good student turned bad, and Shreya Dhanawantary as Nupur, the girl who works hard to catch Rocky’s eye—are good. Hashmi, who can be excellent as the regular guy on the wrong side of the tracks, is not impactful enough, though, allowing his character both the luxury of wrong-doing and handing out lectures denouncing the very same thing.
Finally, the villain is outed: it is the confused, contrived writing. Why cheat us the viewers?