The makers of Emraan Hashmi’s Cheat India had to reportedly change the film’s title to Why Cheat India after being asked to do so by the censor board. Emraan has said the change is illogical, and they are making it days before the film’s scheduled January 18 release, only because the CBFC thinks the title is misleading.
“The Cheat India title has been there for a year. CBFC approved all our promos earlier, but now what they have done is absolutely illogical,” he told IANS at the film’s promotional event.
Cheat India is Emraan Hashmi’s first production. It is co-produced by Atul Kasbekar, who has made films like Hindi Medium, Neerja and Tumhari Sulu. Debut actor Shreya Dhanwanthry plays the lead with Emraan.
The film is said to be about the malpractices in India’s education system. Emraan had said, “According to the CBFC, our film is showing India in negative light, but that’s what it is. What we are showing is a mirror to the system. The CBFC should understand it.”
“Fundamentally, if the system has an open and analytical thinking, then you would not do such illogical things. Changing the film’s title at the last moment does not make any sense.”
Emraan has been against the CBFC’s move since then. On his official twitter handle, he also added a ‘why’ in front of his name – Why Emraan Hashmi, as a silent protest.
The film started shoot in July last year, and by the end of August a teaser poster released. With a caption that said it was wiser to cheat, the poster showed someone being paid to make fake ID cards for an entrance exam.
Emraan reportedly said, “The script and title of Cheat India are supremely powerful. This is among the most engaging and riveting stories I’ve read in a while.”
#NakalMeinHiAkalHai. Teaser poster of #CheatIndia.@TSeries @EmraanHFilms @EllipsisEntt @itsBhushanKumar @tanuj_garg @atulkasbekar @parveenshahani @bangdu#vyapamscam #cbseleak #cbsepaperleaks #mbbsseats #education #medicalseats #scam #sscscam #hscscam #cse2019 #iipmscam pic.twitter.com/ql2MGa7wIm
— WHY Emraan Hashmi (@emraanhashmi) August 28, 2018
A teaser from the film released later, and showed Emraan as an agent involved in scams in education. He gets students to bribe him in return for engineering and management college admissions.
When he is caught for it and a court judge says he has taken away seats from many deserving students, Emraan says he has only made money from rich students to help poor students pay fees, and he has no interest to be a hero and no time to be a villain.
The film is written and directed by Shoumik Sen, who said at an event that Cheat India was a film for all students under the pressure to excel. “This film is for every Indian student who is under pressure to excel in a competitive environment. Today’s youth will hugely relate to Cheat India.”
Shoumik was one of the few directors in Bollywood who was called out in #MeToo, but did not face a fall out. In October last year, he was accused of sexual harassment by three women from the industry. Following this, he had said that he will not participate in the film’s promotional events, but work on the film continued.
Cheat India‘s lead actor Shreya Dhanwanthry recently said that she was shocked about allegations against the director. “It is shocking when you find out that it’s somebody you’ve worked with, especially because I’ve had a perfect time. Everyone was warm towards me so it was a big shock.”
She also said she stood by the survivors, supported the movement and took it seriously.
When others from Bollywood like Nana Patekar, Sajid Khan, and Vikas Bahl were called out in #MeToo, and they dropped films because actors refused to work with them, Emraan Haashmi was asked if it would make a difference to Cheat India.
Emraan said, “There should be a due process. I can’t have this high-handed authority on a set and say ‘You’re out of my film and three women have accused you of this’. I don’t know the validity of the accusations.”
He also said, “I’ve not spoken to the women personally. They have not gone to the judicial system and had the due process. The producers spoke to him (Shoumik) and he excused himself from the promotions.”
The film releases this Friday.
Watch the teaser here: