Why Cheat India, Cheat India
Why Cheat India poster featuring Emraan HashmiTwitter

Emraan Hashmi's film Why Cheat India, originally titled Cheat India, will hit the theatres on January 18 in India and film critics, who got a chance to watch director Soumik Sen's education satire, have already given their verdict.

The movie has received mixed response from the critics. While some found the first half of Why Cheat India quite engaging and entertaining, the film faces setback in the second half. Emraan Hashmi's performance as a Cheating Mafia Rakesh Singh aka Rocky Bhaiya has managed to impress the critics with his stellar act and has dominated the movie from the start till the end.

Debutante Shreya Dhanwanthary has also put up a confident act with her role and has a great screen presence. The film's dialogues have also managed to strike the right chord along with the cinematography and an interesting background score to keep the audience hooked to their seats.

According to the critics, the editing part could've been a bit sharper to make the screenplay more engaging and interesting to the audience.

Why Cheat India is about the scams that take place in the Indian education system. Emraan plays the role of a scamster who has a team of toppers writing exams for other candidates seeking admission in reputed educational institutions. Hashmi had stated in an interview that the film was a first-of-its-kind for him, besides being topical and relevant for students and parents. Its controversial tagline, 'Nakal Mein Hi Akal Hai', clearly points towards the rampant malpractices in the country's financially lucrative education sector.

Take a look what critics have to say about Emraan Hashmi's latest release Why Cheat India.

The Indian Express: "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."

Rating: 1.5 Stars

Hindustan Times: "'Greed is good,' Hashmi spits the line from Oliver Stone's classic Wall Street, missing the point of how that film applauded the smoothness of the operator. Why Cheat India moralises without taking a stand. The film has three endings, indecisively shown one after the other — one of which uses a refrain to Hum Honge Kamyaab as an afterthought, pasting it on immediately after another song, diluting any potential impact. This movie doesn't appreciate trick or trickster. It takes craft to be crafty."

Rating: 1.5 Stars

News 18: "In the acting department, Hashmi who can display angst and humour with a poker-faced indifference is convincing in the role of Rakesh who is shaken but never stirred. Shreya Dhanwanthary as Sattu's sister Nupur holds her own and Chatterjee as a fresh-faced student, turns in a credible performance.

The producers, clearly have a knack of picking on interesting and intriguing subjects –their last venture Neerja and Tumhari Sulu were outstanding films but this one- alas, just about makes the grade.

However, because the film's heart is in the right place and its observations astute, Why Cheat India is worth a watch."

Rating: 3 Stars

LiveMint: "There are some nice touches. Before starting to write their engineering entrance papers, many of the students place flowers and small figurines on their desks for good luck (Satyendra actually takes his flowers – marigold, auspicious – back home). And there's Rakesh's habit of offering prasad to everyone he meets, a constant cleansing of the soul even as he tempts them into sin. Hashmi seems to enjoy himself; if the writing was brighter and the other characters had more agency, the film might have played differently. The best moments are early on, when we're amongst the dreams of hungry toppers and desperate parents. Once that passes, Why Cheat India becomes just another Hindi film unwilling to admit that its hero is a villain."

Rating: Not Known

Scroll.in: "Hashmi is the only clearly recognisable face in a movie staffed by mostly unknown actors. They convincingly stand in for the lakhs of hopeful Indians desperate for degrees that might help them rise a few rungs on the ladder. However, the problems with casting a movie star as a small-town Gordon Gekko show up in Rakesh's trajectory, which is not as bumpy as it needed to have been. A shoddily directed courtroom scene allows Rakesh to stand on his soapbox and skewer the film's supposed concern with exposing malpractice and corruption."

Rating: Not Known

Zoom TV: "Performance wise, it is an Emraan Hashmi show from start to finish. After a long time, he has played the kind of character he was famous and loved for back in the day and brings his A-game. Be it changing accent from that of a Jhansi boy to the head of a cheating mafia empire, he carries the movie on his able shoulders.

Shreya Dhanwanthary has made a confident debut. She has performed well in her role, especially in the second half. The actor who played Sattu has done a good job and so is the actor who played Bablu, Emraan's friend. Other actors too have supported well.

The dialogues of the film are good, the cinematography supports the movie. The background score, as well as the music, is interesting too. The editing, however, should've been a bit sharper. It's fine nevertheless.

Overall, watch Why Cheat India for its interesting, never-seen-before premise and for Emraan Hashmi's great screen presence and solid performance."

Rating: 3 Stars

Masala: "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."

Rating: 1.5 Stars