Soumik Sen's 'Why Cheat India' had such a great subject to pour light into exposing the corrupt Mafia missionaries that operate in the educational system that too in the established MBA Institutes of the country. The film starts very promisingly showcasing the struggle of an Engineer aspirant Satyendra Dubey (Snighdadeep Chatterjee) who is prepping up for his entrance exam in Kota, Rajasthan. Emraan's gripping narration makes us feel the sweat and hardship of the million students out there burdened with the dreams of their parents along with the financial pressure but crossing every hurdle with his capability Sattu confirms his seat with distinction ranking in the All India entrance test. Bringing joy to a bothered father, a praying mother and a chulbuli sister played by Shreya Dhanwanthary and a convincing family bond is nicely catered.
It is the backdrop of Lucknow, Sattu is enjoying a film along with friends after five long years and here enters the hero without wasting any time Rakesh Singh (Emraan) tracks down Sattu followed by a tip from an informer and offers him 50,000 for a proxy examination. As he goes home a few entrance exam students offer him 15000 for Physics and Maths tutions, but he has already made his decision. Rakesh quickly enters his family and takes charge of his life by making them believe he would earn all the money by right means but what begins is the Cheating part. Satyendra Dubey is a dummy candidate to these big shot money minded monkeys who throw lakhs to get their undeserving kids seat. Now, Rakesh Sinha has a whole nexus where he functions smoothly with a top-level Minister and his relative Bank manager and even after getting caught in an official raid he goes clean of the crime in seconds. The first twenty minutes of the film keeps up the pace but proceeding towards the interval it gets a bit draggy. The film ends in a silly way with Rakesh Sharma opening his own private MBA institute and the audiences wonder how on earth he did that.
Now director Sen has quietly turned down facts and didn't even talk about the reservation cut-offs in these high-end examinations, nor the depressed students falling prey to suicides is showcased with detail. The film runs away from facts and meets fiction with utter comfort and these dummy candidates are treated lavishly; provided with female escorts during leisure. An abstract world of Mafia which is beyond media reporting running scams with no sting operations and interference. They breathe easily and we have a pinch of the debutante Shreya Dhanwanthary and Emraan Hashmi. A torn narrative which justifies cheating was an absolutely bad idea rather the makers could have taken the guts and spoken about the unfair reservation system which is implemented in JEE entrance and a lot of other high cadres entrance examination including medical entrance exams. A general category candidate would have 95% cut off but an SC/ST or OBC would breathe in a sigh with 75% cut off and neither does the film showcase the struggle and woes of the financial crisis the families face. Everything is explained from the surface and director Sen doesn't try getting in the depth of it.
Performance wise debutante Shreya was notable and did well with her limited act. Emraan didn't give the best shot but the moustache man was very strong with his narration. He gets full marks for his dialogue delivery although creating an authentic character was clearly missing. Snighdadeep Chatterjee as Satyendra Dubey played a convincing character of a geeky 'padhai waley ustaad' and his performance was the most rustic and real out of all. The songs from the film are graceful especially Armaan Malik's romantic number 'Dil Mein Ho Tum' and Jubin Nautiyal's 'Phir Mulaaqat' that blends with a logical narrative. We missed Guru Randhawa's 'Daaru Wargi' as it was not there in the end credit scene as well.
Soumik Sen has overdone when it comes to the hype of the education mafia and he has justified the act with a confident Emraan Hashmi's dialogue delivery. He missed on a lot of facts and insights that bothers the education system of the country and it is a golden chance missed to talk about this crucial subject. Dialogues by Mishkka Shekhawat are convincing too. Cinematography could have been much better. Also editor could have surely taken care of some lengthy sequences that made it draggy at moments.
Overall this Soumik Sen film just hits the reality from the surface and does not dive deep in. Watch it for Emraan Hashmi's confident act.