Cash review: Crime comedy about demonetization is a smart entertainer

Release Date: 19 Nov 2021

Cinestaan Rating

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Keyur Seta

Starring Amol Parashar, Smriti Kalra and Gulshan Grover, the film is a pleasant surprise.

The sudden demonetization of Rs500 and Rs1,000 banknotes, which was abruptly implemented by the Indian government in November 2016, has been used as a plot device in quite a few films in recent years such as Ranchi Diaries (2017) and Choked (2020). But it is intrinsic to the story of first-time director Rishabh Seth’s Cash.

The film starts a month before the controversial decision was announced and tells the story of close friends Armaan Gulati (Amol Parashar) and Vivek Sodani aka Soda (Kavin Dave). They are eager to start a business of their own but have failed twice. But that doesn’t stop them from giving it another go. Armaan is the more confident of the two and he has faith that they will make it someday. Soda, on the other hand, is generally unwilling to take risks and highly superstitious.

Unfortunately, their third endeavour also falls flat after an investor backs out at the last moment. They try out other ideas but get nowhere. One day, out of the blue, demonetization is announced. Armaan decides to make the most of the situation by offering a service where folks can convert their black money into white. Soda, after expressing reservations about the illegality of the enterprise, reluctantly joins him. 

While going about their new ‘business', the friends get associated with the beautiful Neha (Smriti Kalra), who is as cunning as Armaan. The duo also faces a constant threat in inspector Tukaram Pingle (Anand Alkunte), who derives pleasure from nabbing people in possession of black money. If this isn’t enough, they are compelled to deal with an evil independent legislator, Gautam Acharya (Gulshan Grover), who is known for chopping off people’s ears if they betray him. 

When it comes to comedies, mainstream Hindi cinema has mostly churned out films filled with slapstick humour. But Cash is an exception since it is a situational comedy that uses smart and witty jokes that are simple in nature. Never does the film go overboard or try too hard to make the audience laugh. 

The writing needs to be lauded, as the crime drama aspect of the narrative is established well. The writers have clearly done their research on the subject of demonetization but the film neither defends nor condemns the policy. There is a scene where both anti and pro-demonetization rallies are depicted, which is genuinely funny. Similarly, the narrative is more concerned with telling the story at hand while peppering it with entertainment. 

Having said that, one can’t deny that the makers have taken creative liberties in various sequences, especially the penultimate scene with inspector Pingle. But other than that, the film doesn’t cross the line and become a mindless affair. One underwhelming aspect is the music, which is just passable. 

Parashar doesn’t fall in the conventional hero category, the likes of which are generally cast in such comedies. But he has enough energy, acting skills and comic timing to pull off such a character. Kalra displays the right amount of smartness and chutzpah. 

Dave, who was recently seen in the Gujarati web-series 110, is perfect as Soda. Grover, the senior-most member in the cast, is menacing but he doesn’t overdo it since that would have gone against the light-hearted nature of the film. Alkunte, as the police inspector obsessed with black money, leaves you in splits with his quirky mannerisms. 

On the whole, Cash is a pleasant surprise. 

Cash is being streamed on Disney+ Hotstar


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