In Soumendra Padhi’s college-time thriller, Farrey, a young ensemble of Alizeh Agnihotri, Prasanna Bisht, Zeyn Shaw, and Sahil Mehta takes center stage. Adapted from the Thai film Bad Genius (2017), Farrey kicks off with the claim “inspired by true events.” Although these events occurred in Thailand, the movie unfolds in India. Let’s shift our focus from the initial joke and dive into the film. Farrey faithfully recounts the tale of Bad Genius, even though the blame lies more with the original than the remake. If genius leads to “bad” deeds, what’s its real worth? This fundamental idea originates from the original film and, while somewhat persuasive, feels a bit misplaced in the Indian context, leaning toward negativity. Despite this, Farrey cleverly navigates this concept, offering an enjoyable, one-time thrill for both young audiences and their parents.
Meet Niyati (Alizeh Agnihotri), a brilliant student residing in an orphanage under the care of Warden (Ronit Roy) and Renuka (Juhi Babbar). Her dream is to become an engineer and make a good living. Encouraged by a college headmaster, she is lured to attend Oxford University with a scholarship, promising a better future. Niyati befriends Chavi (Prasanna Bisht), a wealthy girl compelled by her father to enroll at Stanford University. With Niyati’s assistance, Chavi excels in her studies, leading to the involvement of Prateek (Zeyn Shaw). Aakash (Sahil Mehta), another top student, initially reluctant to engage in wrongdoing, eventually joins the group. Together, they orchestrate an elaborate cheating scheme, elevating the narrative to an international scale. The question lingers: will they succeed?
I’m not sure who said it first, but I once heard this saying: “The only way a poor person can climb over a rich person is education.” Dhanush used it effectively in Asuran. However, Farrey’s latest film goes against this idea, and that’s a downside. In the movie, they talk about Oxford University as casually as if it were an everyday college. Cheating methods like using codes and tricks are outdated in our education system. They patched up all the loopholes in the late ’90s when the internet started booming in India. Mobiles, smart watches, and other cheating devices are old news; I know this from my experience in school, college, and government exams. I can say, based on my own trials, that any kind of cheating doesn’t work, not even for one person, let alone a group. Yet, Farrey gives it a shot. The time-zone and answers trick is way behind the times. The education system adapted to it years ago with online exams and various sets of questions and answers. So, relying on Farrey’s methods is not very trustworthy. Despite these issues in the storyline, Farrey excels in acting, predicting outcomes, background music, technical aspects, and direction.
In her debut at Bollywood’s college, Alizeh Agnihotri not only faced the typical challenges of being a newcomer but aced her first exam with flying colors. The pressure of being a fresher didn’t seem to faze her; she handled it with great skill. When newcomers step into the scene, you anticipate them showcasing their talents to earn respect, and Alizeh has precisely done that. The second contender, Prasanna Bisht, is nothing short of amazing. She carries herself fabulously, exuding an urban-girl vibe flawlessly with her accent. Zeyn Shaw also performs admirably, and Sahil Mehta stands out, especially in emotionally charged scenes. Ronit Roy effortlessly ventures into a new zone, displaying versatility. Juhi Babbar and Shilpa Shukla deliver commendable performances in their supporting roles.
When it comes to the technical team, the standout is the background score. It takes the lead, even if the music may not always grab your attention, it serves its purpose in specific situations. The inclusion of rap and other elements might feel out of place for the student world, but given our current Instagram reels era, it’s somewhat acceptable.
Moving on to cinematography, there’s room for improvement, especially when compared to how well Bad Genius captured tense moments. The same applies to storytelling, like in the interrogation scene. Bad Genius starts with it, creating a belief that they’re caught and narrating the story. In contrast, here, the scene appears scattered, presented casually without gravity. The main character, hardworking in Bad Genius, comes off as greedy from the very start here, diminishing the sympathy factor. Nevertheless, Padhi does a commendable job maintaining discipline among the new students. The film would have benefitted from stronger writing. Despite this, Padhi ensures a thrilling and enjoyable journey into the world of cheating. To fully enjoy Farrey’s gang, you may need to set aside moral considerations, goodwill, and inspirational features you cherish. It’s not entirely harmless, but certainly not a waste of time.
Watch the Trailer below-