If I had a nickel every time someone threw an educational metaphor at me, I would be a millionaire, no matter what the language is. Very early on, I learnt the importance of education in life, but for mostly the wrong reasons - pressure, societal expectations, rat race and so on. Just like any human, we resort to shortcuts in trying to excel in exams and somehow be done with it. But I can easily say that I was too much of a coward ever to cross the line of cheating that involved exponential risk. Salman Khan produced Farrey, which stars a mostly fresh cast consisting of Alizeh Agnihotri, Prasanna Bisht, Zeyn Shaw and Sahil Mehta, takes this case and turns it upside down in ways that you cannot imagine.
These kids here are only interested in taking shortcuts and cheating but for their own reasons - ranging from validation to money and a better living and so on. But the interesting thing is that director Soumendra Padhi (Jamtara) has taken the known tropes of cheating in exams and created a concoction of so many unique angles to it, thus lending freshness that is just what a concept like this needs to travel. Having seen the film beforehand, here is what I thought about it-
Never Being Preachy But Being Informative With Edge-Of-The-Seat Drama
Farrey has several things going on for itself, but the biggest one is the fact that it is truly engaging. To be centring a movie about cheating exams can easily be monotonous and drab after a point of time, but that is never the case here. Biting your nails while still reaching out for the popcorn but not wanting to look away from the screen - that is the kind of riveting drama it enables. The writing here is intricate and layered as well, where none of these four young leads have a black or white shade to them - there is grey, but there is empathy and a general sense of understanding towards them.
In a movie that talks about cheating, or more so, adopting wrong methods to get desired results, the focus is kept on the matters at hand, and it never gets preachy. There isn't unwanted gen-z lingo, there aren't speeches or extreme exposition about how 'cheating is bad and how it shouldn't be done', I mean, duh! Everyone knows that. But it is still done, and the reasoning, consequences and life alterations it brings are what shape the person as a human being. Director Padhi is now a master with this as he made the phenomenal Jamtara on Netflix, which was about a phishing scam in a remote setting. The scam here is towards several people and authorities - and in a way - towards yourself, too.
It helps that these young guns, some of them having their first exposure on-screen, look completely natural. Alizeh Agnihotri has a certain raw and authentic feel to her screen presence and dialogue delivery and is already more refined than so many 'budding 'star kids' out there. There is still a certain roughness, but that is obvious just how it is the first step. Zeyn Shaw might have the least etched-out role, but he does well with what is provided to him. Sahil Mehta gets the most amount of shades and a full arc to portray, which he performs with precision and finesse. It is Prasanna Bisht, though, who shines out and about. She is absolutely spot-on with her unlikeability but still has a sense of likability to her, which is such a tough nut to crack, especially with the kind of character she has to play.
Falters In The Third Act But Still Leaves a Lasting Impact
Farrey isn't devoid of its gaps, and most of them come towards the beginning of the third act and then the climax. The decision-making of characters and the makers taking a call to leave a few stories at a certain place, which felt a little incomplete, hamper the film, especially considering the weaving it enables from one point to another. The way things are left with Prasanna and Zeyn's character feels insufficient. Mostly, the supporting characters, while played by reliable actors like Ronit Roy and Juhi Babbar Soni, have rather one-toned and even perplexing development.
Even though these holes hamper the film to quite an extent, considering the climax is what you're left with as you leave the cinema hall, the instant thought and what the film brought to the table on the whole wins over. To have one-star kid and three-star kids adopting a movie debut that isn't going to glorify or accentuate their on-screen persona and instead focus on the story in hand is such a breath of fresh air, and Farrey is exactly that.
Farrey has indeed sprung in a surprise and a pleasant one. Hovering around a concept that could easily be a slog once the essence is conveyed, the film never lets you out of the world and instead actually keeps you on the edge of your seat. Amid the big films before and after, it might be easy not to notice Farrey, but the film deserves eyeballs indeed.
Rating - **** (4/5)