Emraan Hashmi’s most competent film till date
It would be unfair to say that Emraan Hashmi has never really tried with his acting. I only have to point to ‘Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai’, ‘The Dirty Picture’, ‘Shanghai’ and his very recent digital release ‘Tigers’ to prove my point. For long his audiences have only associated him with kissing scenes and it’s been quite a battle to shed that image ever since.
With ‘Why Cheat India’, Emraan dons the hat of a producer for the first time and decides to take the less-treaded route to give us his most competent film till date. ‘Why Cheat India’ is a stinging take on the malices plaguing our education system today.
Rakesh Singh aka Rocky (Emraan) is hurting from being a dejected engineering aspirant. He avenges this wound by infiltrating entrance examinations at medical and engineering colleges through unsuspecting deserving candidates who fraudulently appear for students belonging to wealthy and influential backgrounds. While money pours in little does Rakesh realise the lives he’s gambling with.
Delving into the technical aspects, the story written by director Soumik Sen is well-intentioned but the screenplay gets convoluted. When initially, we are made to believe that Emraan’s character is dubious, you force-fit romantic tracks to give him a redemption arc. And Christ, how does one justify the imaging of Emraan playing a harmonium? To give credit where it’s due, the production design by Sandeep Suvarna, cinematography by Y. Alphonse Roy, editing by Dipika Kalra and sound design by Pritam Das are on-point. The biggest plus point of the film are the dialogues penned by Juhi Saklani, Mishkka Shekhawat and Sen himself. There are many clever moments of dialoguebaazi thrown in between the film.
Coming to the performances newcomer Snigdhadeep Chatterjee who plays Satyendra Dubey aka Sattu, one of Rakesh’s preys makes the maximum impact. He conveys vulnerability and innocence in many telling scenes. Manuj Sharma as Bablu and viral content star Shibani Bedi as Rakesh’s forever cribbing wife are a total hoot. Just when you think that Shreya Dhanwanthary might just be reduced to a mere romantic trope like most actresses in Emraan Hashmi starrers are (barring Vidya Balan and Kangana Ranaut), the newcomer takes charge of her act, though she is pretty much unpolished.
Eventually, the film completely rests on the shoulders of its leading man and ‘Why Cheat India’ proves that there is much more to Emraan Hashmi than just his timeless romantic love-making ballads.