The makers of the Emraan Hashmi starrer Cheat India have decided to release their film a week ahead of schedule, on 18 January 2019, to avoid a clash with the Bal Thackeray biopic, titled Thackeray, which is scheduled for release on 25 January.
The producers of both films made the announcement at a joint press conference today.
“We had the release of our film Cheat India planned for 25 January,” Hashmi, who is also a co-producer, said. “We have decided to prepone it to 18 January.”
“We have taken this decision out of respect for Balasaheb Thackeray and also for better business,” Bhushan Kumar, T-Series boss and producer of Cheat India, added.
Asked if there was any pressure from the Shiv Sena, a member of the ruling alliance in Maharashtra as well as at the Centre, to shift the film’s release, Bhushan Kumar replied, “No pressure whatsoever. We haven’t shifted the release due to any pressure or ego.”
Tanuj Garg, also a co-producer of Cheat India, said, “If there were pressure or threats, we wouldn’t be sitting here as friends. There has been zilch pressure.”
If there are not many takers for these protestations of respect, business sense and bonhomie, it is because just last week the leader of a Shiv Sena-affiliated cine workers’ union threatened on Facebook that the party, notorious for the use of strong-arm tactics, would not allow any other film to be released on the same day as Thackeray, a bilingual film starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The post has since been deleted.
Sanjay Raut, editor of the Sena newspaper Saamna and producer of Thackeray, said the party does not agree with the threat. “I have said this before and I repeat that this isn’t the stand of the party,” Raut said.
Raut, who is also a Rajya Sabha member from Maharashtra, said Thackeray himself believed in “jeeyo aur jeene do [live and let live]. He not only loved the film industry but also protected it.”