Bollywood actor Emraan Hashmi who was last seen in 2016 release Raaz: Reboot, recently announced his home production, 'Cheat India', with T-Series and Ellipsis Entertainment. Now, a filmmaker-actor duo from Delhi, Dinesh Gautam and Imran Zahid, have accused the film of plagiarism, according to a Mumbai Mirror report. They have claimed Cheat India's storyline is copied from their film titled Marksheet.
Dinesh and Imran, who had worked with the Bhatt camp for a play, said when their play Baat Niklegi Toh was being staged, Mahesh Bhatt was involved in planning and discussing a film with them. Dinesh had revealed to Bhatt his plans of making a film on the corruption in the Indian education system.
While the script of Marksheet was put together by the makers around November 2012, when it was also registered with the Indian Script Writers Association, it was only last year, after a lengthy discussion with veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, that Dinesh and Imran decided to roll with their project. In June last year, Bhatt presented a play titled Baat Niklegi Toh, written by Dinesh and featuring Imran, which opened in Delhi and Mumbai. During the time, the trio spent days brainstorming about Marksheet.
“Bhatt saab has been Imran’s mentor for a few years now and even came on board as creative director, also supervising the final script,” Dinesh informed Mirror. Meanwhile, Bhatt’s spokesperson added that the filmmaker only gave the Vinay Bharadwaj production its tagline — “If you cannot beat them, cheat them” — and lauded the film’s gritty subject on social media. “However, he has not been associated with the film (which rolls in July) ever since,” the spokesperson clarified.
“After Emraan Hashmi announced his film Cheat India in January, we filed an official complaint with the Writers Association. Now, we will be sending legal notices to the three producers as our grievances have not been acknowledged. The script may not have been copied verbatim, but the concepts and case studies used in the story are the same. We shared every bit of our story with Bhatt saab and everybody knows how small this industry is. It is an embarrassing situation,” Dinesh was quoted as saying to Mumbai Mirror.
While T-Series, Ellipsis Entertainment and Emraan chose not to comment, a top executive associated with Cheat India dismissed Dinesh and Imran’s claims as baseless. “Some nondescript people are trying to gain publicity by piggy-backing on a big banner film. From 3 Idiots and Chalk N Duster to Aarakshan, hundreds of films have been based on our education system. While the title and story were registered around eight months ago, nobody knows what Cheat India is about as the script is not yet complete and the makers have not had any narrations,” the source argued.
Meanwhile, Emraan Hashmi is elated to work with his production partners. In a statement, he said, '' I am also looking forward to working with some formidable partners – Soumik, an amazing storyteller, Ellipsis, the new kids with a pulse on clutter-breaking content and marketing, and T-Series, with whom I share an old association on music and films.''
The director Soumik Sen said that the film is about every Indian student who is being pressurized to excel.