Wednesday, January 23, 2019

We felt cheatedA still from Why Cheat India
Movie Review - Why Cheat India

We felt cheated

18 Jan 2019 | 5:54 PM

Film: Why Cheat India

Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Shreya Dhanwantary, Snighadeep Chatterjee

Director: Soumik Sen

[ + read story ]

Nonika Singh

Hero banne ka muhje shauk nahi, villain banne ka time nahi, khiladi hun bas khelna chahta hoon. Only the game that Emraan Hashmi films, starring Hashmi himself in the lead, puts up is rather dour. Indeed on the surface, the concept is good; the rot in the education system, cheating scams, paper leaks and even more akalmand ko nakalband banana, that is proxy examination takers. But if Raju Hirani’s Three Idiots had us in splits as well as pointedly exposed what all ails our education system, Cheat India, oops Why Cheat India’s attempt seems cursory and shallow. 

Why should India cheat, unfolds in its first few chapters. Surprisingly enough the film doesn’t begin with Hashmi but a bright student Sattu (Snighadeep Chatterjee) bogged down by parental expectations and demands of entrance examination that holds the key to the future of millions. By zeroing down on one person, one family to begin with, Soumik Sen the director attempts to make us feel for Sattu, an endeavour in which he barely passes. 

Even before the industrious achiever Sattu’s tryst with the world of cheating begins, you know where it is headed. Post interval, the game supposedly gets bigger and from engineering, we move to another lucrative degree MBA. But the enormity of the khel is only confined to paper. The surreptitious manner in which bookings are made in a hotel reminds you of Special 26 and its conniving ways, only it lacks the same bite or tension. 

With a hero as the mastermind of cheating India, clearly the writer/director don’t know which side to bat for or against; the system or its fault-lines. Indeed, who one can deny all is not well with the education world in India. But is that an excuse or an alibi… you almost expect Hashmi as Rakesh Singh to give an impassioned speech in the courtroom but we are saved the bother. 

Sure, Hashmi as the ring leader of the education scams, seen on the silver screen after a hiatus, is earnest. However, he is let down by the script that tries to justify his character and hence his ignoble actions with a backstory. Also, but for him the film doesn’t keep you interested/invested in any other character. His second in command Bablu (Manuj Sharma) almost seems like an intrusion. Perhaps, introduced for some merriment, he barely brings the house down. Singh’s love interest Nupur (Shreya Dhanwantary) too is not interesting enough and before you pass judgement on her behaviour, well a surprise is in store.

Past catches up with all of us or does it? One dialogue we love is, ‘khiladi hoon khel rahan hoon, only scam gets bigger.’ Alas, it comes too late and till then we have to suffer inanities like ‘greed is good’ and other mumbo jumbo. Not to say that the film is blather. But nor is it a powerful statement or scathing indictment or even outright entertaining fare. With the heart in the right place, it fails to rise above the newspaper headlines that it showcases in the end. No doubt, students commit suicide on a regular basis, no denying that in India parents spend an enormous amount of their income on children’s education and that coaching industry is a billion-dollar enterprise here. 

But just as these facts leave us cold, so does Why Cheat India. 

Confused and inconclusiveMovie Review - Glass

Confused and inconclusive

18 Jan 2019 | 6:04 PMstarstaremptyStaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: Glass

Cast: Sarah Paulson, Bruce Willis, James McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson, Anya Taylor-Joy

Director: M. Night Shyamalan

Where is the story, KakaJi?Movie Review - KakaJi

Where is the story, KakaJi?

18 Jan 2019 | 5:56 PMhalfstaremptyStaremptyStaremptyStaremptyStar

Movie: KakaJi

Director: Mandeep Benipal

Star cast: Dev Kharoud, Aarushi Sharma, Jagjeet Sandhu, Dheeraj Kumar, Aashish Duggal

Nothing accidental about the motiveMovie Review: The Accidental Prime Minister

Nothing accidental about the motive

11 Jan 2019 | 5:52 PMstarhalfstaremptyStaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: The Accidental Prime Minister

Cast: Anupam Kher, Akshaye Khanna, Arjun Mathur, Aahana Kamra, Suzanne Bernert, Vipin Sharma, Divya Seth

Director: Vijay Gutte

Skilfully orchestratedMovie Review: Uri: The Surgical Strike

Skilfully orchestrated

11 Jan 2019 | 6:03 PMstarstarhalfstaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: Uri: The Surgical Strike

Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Mohit Raina, Yami Gautam

Director: Aditya Dhar

It’s Second BestMovie Review - Second Act

It’s Second Best

11 Jan 2019 | 6:38 PMstarstaremptyStaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: Second Act

Cast: Jennifer Lopez, Leah Remini, Vanessa Hudgens, Annaleigh Ashford, Dan Bucatinsky, Freddie Stroma, Milo Ventimiglia, Treat Williams, Dave Foley, Larry Miller, Elizabeth Masucci, Alan Aisenberg, John Cronin, Dalton Harrod, Phil Nee, Anna Suzuki, Lacretta Null

Director: Peter Segal

The calculation went wrongMovie Review - Do Dooni Panch

The calculation went wrong

11 Jan 2019 | 6:36 PMhalfstaremptyStaremptyStaremptyStaremptyStar

Movie: Do Dooni Panch

Director: Harry Bhatti

Star cast: Amrit Mann, Karamjit Anmol, Sardar Sohi, Isha Rikhi, Rana Ranbir, Harby Sangha, Nirmal Rishi, Malkeet Rauni, Rupinder Rupi, Nisha Bano

Once upon a time in Punjab

Once upon a time in Punjab

04 Jan 2019 | 8:07 PMhalfstaremptyStaremptyStaremptyStaremptyStar

Movie- Dulla Vailey

Director- Devi Sharma

Star cast- Gugu Gill, Yograj Singh, Sarbjit Cheema, Gurvar Cheema, Avtar Gill, Mohd Sadiq,

Buzzing with feelingMovie Review: Bumblebee

Buzzing with feeling

04 Jan 2019 | 7:12 PMstarstarstaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: Bumblebee

Cast: Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.

Director: Travis Knight

Mary casts her spell, againMovie Review: Mary Poppins Returns

Mary casts her spell, again

04 Jan 2019 | 7:14 PMstarstarstaremptyStaremptyStar

Film: Mary Poppins Returns

Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Angela Lansbury, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Colin Firth, Meryl Streep, Dick Van Dyke, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson

Director: Rob Marshall

Writer: David Magee

  • No time to pause...

    No time to pause...

    By the age others look forward to a relaxed life post retirement, veteran actor-cricketer Yograj Singh is still a force to reckon with.

  • SpectrumBreaking stereotypes from within

    Breaking stereotypes from within

    Almost all Punjabis in the US have these things in common: they’ll probably be in the restaurant business (either as owners or chefs); they usually stick together and you can never take Punjab out of their heart. These typical traits of this inclusive community are bound to generate stereotypes about them.

  • Reading the Ramayana, differently

    Seeing those large and extensive series of paintings that used to be produced in India once — not in the north alone, like Rajasthan or the Hills, nor in known groups of styles, like Rajput or Mughal, for instance — one often wonders who constituted the ‘audience’ for those.

  • A brave new narrative

    A year before #MeToo wave swept India, a known name from Delhi’s theatre circuit, Shilpi Marwaha, had raised a finger at top theatre director Arvind Gaur.

    more Spectrum...