Review: A school drama with fresh faces is mostly about love and romance, peer pressure, or the clash between the haves and the have-nots. Or is it? Not for director Soumendra Padhi, who delivers an extremely refreshing and thrilling movie. The set-up isn’t novel — two gifted board toppers from a humble background, Niyati (Alizeh Agnihotri) and Akash (Sahil Mehta), attending an elite school in Delhi on a scholarship programme. But what ensues during their stint is nothing like one has seen on screen before.
When passing farrey (chits to cheat in exams) is impossible, Niyati improvises in the most genius ways to help a bunch of her ridiculously rich and spoilt classmates. Leading them is her bench partner, Chhavi (Prasanna Bisht), and her friend, Prateek (Zeyn Shaw). What begins as innocuously saving Chhavi from their teacher’s ire leads Niyati down the rabbit hole of cheating in exams in exchange for money. Each time, the plan is cleverer than the previous one. The film’s main plot is a final international exam where all the students go to different examination centres. Niyati’s ingenious plan, which Akash gets pulled into, and whether it will pan out forms the rest of the story.
The USP of writers Soumendra and Abhishek Yadav’s narrative lies in avoiding the tropes of school drama and the thrill it serves. The contrasting worlds of the rich and the poor kids are presented well. While the former has the opportunities but not the fire to study, it’s the other way around for the latter. Interestingly, albeit dissimilar, parents’ expectations are a common factor. Chhavi’s father (Arbaaz Khan) wants her to give up her dreams of becoming an interior designer and study at Stanford to carry his business forward, and Akash’s mother wants him to let go of the full scholarship at Oxford to handle their humble laundry work. The movie’s music is another strong point. Sachin-Jigar give a club banger with Ghar Pe Party Hai, which is a chic portrayal of how the youth lets its hair down, a desi dance number with Macha De Tabahi, and MC Stan’s hip-hop title track. The splendidly-scored background music perfectly complements the drama.
Although Soumendra (renowned for Jamtara: Sabka Number Ayega) presents a well-crafted outing overall, the sequences of cheating in the exams tend to overstretch, including the final exam track that would have benefitted from being shorter. The thrill reaches a crescendo but plateaus towards the end, with a portion of the main conflict left unexplained, which makes the resolution pale in comparison. As the focus is on the main protagonist, what happens to the other characters is left unanswered.
Alizeh Agnihotri makes a strong debut as a spunky topper. She’s convincing in her role as a bright, cheeky, yet reckless girl. Sahil Mehta effortlessly pulls off his complicated character arc. Prasanna Bisht and Zeyn Shaw stand their might as manipulative teenagers. Ronit Bose Roy and Juhi Babbar as the orphanage’s wardens and loving parent figures shine in their roles.
Despite some loose ends, Farrey is a compelling watch that will keep you entertained throughout. As it resonates with energetic performances, with her impressive debut, Alizeh Agnihotri is someone to watch out for!