Ashwini Chaudhary’s film is sincere in ideation but delves too much into chor-police structure
It’s been only three months than Emraan Hashmi brought the scam story in education with Why Cheat India. It’s Setters now. Similar story. Similar modus operandi. Similar structure. Only thing- you have more known faces here. Infact it seems like a remake to the Hashmi starrer. However this one is more coherent.
A thrilling story set in Mumbai, Delhi, Varanasi, Jaipur and few other Indian cities, it revolves around academic scams where bright students are made to appear for examinations in place of weaker ones in turn for huge amount of money.
Story by Chaudhary and Vikash Mani is positively rooted in the socio-political narrative of India. It brings forth the hidden face of educational scams rampant all around us discreetly, which give rise to larger problems in the society. The first sequence sends chills, and if even half of what is shown happens in real, its a bas state we live in.
What happened with Why Cheat India is exactly what happens here. The screenplay written by Siraj Ahmed is not upto the mark. It isn’t able to make you relate to the story. A story of this sort should be able to drop your jaw where you are constantly reminded of how ‘setters’ ruin the society and coming generations, where you are also adversely affected. But nothing happens while you are watching the film.
You don’t feel the gravity of the issue. You don’t relate with the good characters. You don’t disgust the wicked ones. It hardly matters to you what will be the climax. A film evoking such sense isn’t just the right one.
There are incidents no doubt where you disgust the situation of scams and how mafia operate, but half hearted writing never convinces you enough of the seriousness. It seems routine- the main problem of the plot. Also, the second half stretches way too much and after a point you just can’t take the monotonous spread.
Aftab Shivadasani in good in parts, average in some, bad in some other portions. He gives an average performance.
Shreyas Talpade is brilliant on the other hand. In fact he makes you realise why Bollywood has reduced him into a casual comedian when he can act so well in serious roles. He’s one person who makes the film worth watching, the strongest point of the film.
Ishita Dutta and Sonnalli Seygall have managed to look good but do nothing beyond that. Their roles are written shabbily, hence they are not at fault basically.
Vijay Raaz is amazing in a very brief role. Wish the makers put more of him. Pavan Malhotra is a brilliant actor, undoubtedly. Here he doesn’t get much scope. He remains true to his lines and that’s about it.
Jameel Khan and Manu Rishi have their brief moments but a stellar cast like this is utterly wasted in a wafer thin screenplay.
Salim Sulaiman couldn’t give one noteworthy song. Its a puzzling affair. There are a few numbers in the film but they seem jarring instead of taking the story forward. Background score by John Stewart Eduri is okay, could be better. There were events in the films where background score could have done wonders. But alas!
Cinematography by Santosh Thundiyil captures the essence of Indian cities brilliantly. Transporting you there, camera does give you cultural feel. But the visual appeal otherwise is flat, also because of a routinely etched production design by Wasiq Khan. The lighting too is straight from a school play and utterly poor.
Editing by Manik Dawar is decent given the bumps in the plot structure itself. It has some thrilling moments but don’t give you excitement.
It’s a film that could soar high especially after the failure of Why Cheat India. But the makers here seemed content by only making a film with no intention of presenting it with grace. Depsite such stupendous cast on board, the film isn’t able to reach the finishing line, let alone win the race.