Last-minute title change upsets makers; CBFC says needed
Actor Emraan Hashmi’s upcoming film is now called Why Cheat India. The ‘why’ in the title was added after Censor Board made the suggestion. And that 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?”
We spoke to some members of the film fraternity to bring to you both the sides.
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”. He says that instead of asking for a title change, the film should be seen “in the context of how these cheating mafia people” work.
This isn’t the first change the filmmakers had to make. They had to do away with the tagline ‘Nakal mein hi akal hai’ after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) felt would get interpreted wrongly.
Another reason for team’s unhappiness is that the last-minute change 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, too, titles were changed just before the films were slated for release. 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 material that had been shipped... So, from focusing on finishing the product, our attention got diverted.”
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, also a member of Indian Motion Pictures Producer’s Association, feels that the CBFC should trust the four producers bodies that approve titles, and the release date should be kept in mind before such suggestions are made .
However , trade analyst and former CBFC member Atul Mohan says that the last-minute title change doesn’t affect audience-film connect. “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.”
CBFC member Vani Tripathi Tikoo explains, “A democratic panel comprising people from all walks of life attends the screening and after watching the film it is absolutely within the powers of the panel to suggest a change. The producers can decide if they want to do it.”
Left: Cheat India is now Why Cheat India; Last year the titles of Loveyatri (right) and Padmaavat (below, right) were asked to be changed