The producers of Cheat India have advanced the film’s release by a week to January 18, it was announced in Mumbai on Friday. Soumik Sen’s movie, produced by Ellipsis Entertainment and T-Series, stars Emraan Hashmi as the kingpin of an admissions racket that involves getting brilliant students to write engineering and management entrance exams for candidates in exchange for money.

Cheat India was previously scheduled for a release on January 25, on the same day as the bilingual Bal Thackeray biopic Thackeray and the Kangana Ranaut-starrer Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi. At a press conference on Friday, the producers of Cheat India and Thackeray, which include Shiv Sena leaders Aditya Thackeray and Sanjay Raut, made a joint statement on the change in the date. “We had a lot of respect for Balasaheb Thackeray,” T-Series head Bhushan Kumar explained. “From the producer’s point of view, there is no question of an ego clash.”

Thackeray, directed by Abhijit Panse, stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the founder of the Shiv Sena. The film is being released in Hindi and Marathi. Thackeray will now compete for screens with Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi, the biopic of Rani Laxmibai that has been co-directed by Krish and Kangana Ranaut and has been made in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil.

The box office has become crowded across language industries in January. The first of the two-part Telugu biopic NTR: Kathanayakudu, also directed by Krish, will be released on January 9. In Tamil, the Ajith-starrer Viswasam will be out on January 10, followed by Rajinikanth’s latest film Petta on January 11. In terms of Hindi releases, January 11 is booked for The Accidental Prime Minister, Uri: The Surgical Strike, Govinda’s latest comedy Rangeela Raja, the horror film Amavas and the comedy Bombariya. In Bengali, Shah Jahan Regency, an adaptation of Shankar’s novel Chowringhee, is scheduled for January 18.

The other scheduled films for January 18 include Steve McQueen’s Widows, the M Night Shyamalan film Glass, the Arshad Warsi-starrer Fraud Saiyyan and Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Milan Talkies.

Cheat India (2019).