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Farrey Movie Review: Keen teen scene

Updated on: 24 November,2023 09:53 PM IST  |  Mumbai
Mayank Shekhar |

What about such a movie in a theatre? Can’t recall. I think we’re still stuck on Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992)! And that, foremost, makes Farrey worth the ride

Farrey Movie Review: Keen teen scene

Farrey Review

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Farrey Movie Review: Keen teen scene

Director: Soumendra Padhi
Actors: Alizeh, Sahil Mehta, Prasanna Bisht
Rating: ***

This is a film playing on a conflict with fairly low stakes, if you ask me. And that only makes sense, considering it’s about a bunch of teenagers at school. 
In hindsight, whatever happens during this time, to do with academic education in particular, more often than not, has such low bearing on the rest of your life, that one wonders why we fretted over small things like cracking an annual school exam anyway. As if our existence depended on it. 

It does for a couple of rich kids in this film—at a school so fancy that it doesn’t even have a school bus. This phenomenon came into the Indian education system only a decade or two ago, I suspect. Which explains school fees so high that it should actively discourage you from having kids in the first place.

Only, the reputation of such schools is still earned, not by the economic class of their students—but the colleges they get placed into, eventually. Hence the need to admit some hungry, bright children as well. Doesn’t matter what income group they come from.

As with two children from poor homes admitted into the ‘international school’ in this movie. It’s obvious that such kids will suffer from an inferiority complex by virtue of class, that talent can transcend, still. 

But there’s barely any insight in the picture on that account. What you receive plentiful of is a swiftly running plot, intense at key moments, effectively releasing tension at certain others.

This film is a family production. In the sense that it’s been produced by former actor Atul Agnihotri, presented by Salman Khan, marshalling resources to put together a vehicle to hoist the superstar’s niece, Alizeh, on whom the film is wholly centred. One is rightly apprehensive of such vanity productions.

Except, young, charmingly understated Alizeh is easily the brightest spot in the film. As is her character. She plays a poor girl from an orphanage, making it to a school beyond her economic means. 

She’s a topper type, having scored 102 per cent, presumably in the Class X board exams. How does one even score such marks? Maybe the extra two per cent is for hitting 100/100, already. 

How does one even get to 100 per cent across all subjects—something we notice regularly with cut-off percentages at colleges in Delhi, where the film is set? I guess with objective-type question papers, which is not the sort of tests blokes of my vintage grew up taking.

What could be the benefit of such a genius-level kid for the rich students she’s surrounded by? Well, she could do with money. They could do with her answers in the papers. The swap is complete. 

Mercifully, the impossibly affluent kids aren’t caricatured as totally tone-deaf, bratty morons. Which seemed more the case with the similarly set Netflix series, Class (2023), adapted from the Spanish show, Elite. 

I kinda liked these designer-label children as well. Speaking of performances—what’s there ever not to love about the supremely sorted Ronit Roy in any film. He plays the orphanage warden here.

Farrey is Delhi slang for cheat sheets slipped into an exam hall. A cheating racket is in place in the pic. The script from thereon hinges on what happens next. As an audience, do you, at every point, wish to know, what happens next? You do. That’s the passing mark, to begin with. Totally cut to cut, the job is tightly done. 

The film is reportedly based on Nattawut Poonpiriya’s Bad Genius (2017). The original was a Thai blockbuster. Making this a safer adaptation. Also, Asian cultures are seemingly similar, especially when it comes to overemphasis on school grades.

The director Soumendra Padhi perceptively hit upon a popular cyber scam operating from Bihar-Jharkhand with the Netflix series, Jamtara: Sabka Number Ayega (2020). Absolutely everyone has been through some online/phone fraud or the other, originating from an Indian small town. 

The connect of that subject is instantly universal. The genre of Farrey isn’t. As in, it’s a teenaged drama, or a drama about teenagers. Sometimes I find it hard to access shows such as Sex Education for just that reason. 

GenZ, like any generation, are a world of their own. But they do pique your interest, don’t they? As does Farrey, simply for somewhat navigating that universe entertainingly enough.

When was the last time I watched a movie entirely about desi high school kids? Friday Night Plan (2023), starring Babil Khan on Netflix—likewise, a low-return breeze. 

What about such a movie in a theatre? Can’t recall. I think we’re still stuck on Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar (1992)! And that, foremost, makes Farrey worth the ride. On my way back, of course, I wasn’t once thinking of the film or its essential crisis. And that’s fine, I guess.

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