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Monday, Oct 14, 2019

CBFC’s much ado about title: Last-minute change upsets Cheat India filmmakers

A week before the release of the film Cheat India, CBFC says the title is misleading and asks it to be changed. Makers of the film feel this could have been done before.

bollywood Updated: Jan 12, 2019 18:39 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
The title of Emraan Hashmi’s upcoming Bollywood movie Cheat India has been changed to Why Cheat India after CBFC’s suggestion.
The title of Emraan Hashmi’s upcoming Bollywood movie Cheat India has been changed to Why Cheat India after CBFC’s suggestion.
         

Actor Emraan Hashmi’s upcoming film is now called Why Cheat India. The ‘why’ in the title was added after the suggestion by Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC). And this ‘why’ has led to a lot of whys — why should it be added last minute, why the need for it? Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur’s tweet resonates the general sentiment in the industry: “Why is ‘Cheat India’ now called ‘Why Cheat India’? Why does the censor board want this change?”

Read: Emraan Hashmi calls Cheat India name change ‘senseless addition’, changes his name on Twitter in protest

The film’s team feels the original title was a better fit for the film. Emraan says the original title mirrored “the defunct education system”. The Bollywood star feels that instead of asking for a title change, the film should be seen “in the context of how these cheating mafia people” work.

But, this isn’t the only change that the filmmakers had to make. They had to also do away with the tagline ‘Nakal mein hi akal hai’ after CBFC pointed out that it can be misinterpreted.

Another reason for team’s unhappiness is that the last-minute change that will affect the publicity budget, as the publicity material has already started “going out”. Co-producer of the film Tanuj Garg says, “It adds to our work at a time when we’re putting our efforts into reaching out to people with our film... In our discussion with CBFC, we explained that they had earlier approved the trailer with the same title.”

Last year titles of Padmavati and Loveratri were changed to Padmaavat and LoveYatri respectively.
Last year titles of Padmavati and Loveratri were changed to Padmaavat and LoveYatri respectively.

Last year, too, film titles were changed just a few days before the release date. For instance, Padmavati was changed to Padmaavat, and Loveratri became LoveYatri. Director of LoveYatri, Abhiraj Minawala says, “[When the title changes] everything gets affected. We had to call back [the publicity] material that had been shipped... So, from focusing on finishing the product, our attention got diverted.”

Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit — a member of Indian Motion Pictures Producer’s Association — opines that the CBFC should trust the four producers bodies that approve titles, and that the release date should be kept in mind before making such suggestions.

 

However, trade analyst and former CBFC member Atul Mohan says that the last-minute title change doesn’t affect the connect of audiences with the film . “If the story is good, the audience will anyway appreciate it. CBFC has to keep in mind things like who all will watch the film, and the affect it will have,” he says, adding, “It does help in publicity, too, given the kind of coverage it gets in the media.”

Vani Tripathi Tikoo, a board member at CBFC, explains, “A democratic panel, comprising people from all walks of life, attends the screening. After watching the film, it’s absolutely within the powers of this panel to suggest a change. The producers [however] can decide if they want to do it or not. The problem arises with certification then. Makers want U/A for all their films, but we can’t expose a 13-year-old to certain things. Certification happens for good and in no way we want a film to suffer...I don’t understand why people here have so many objections?”

Author tweets @Shreya_MJ

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First Published: Jan 12, 2019 18:39 IST

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