Cheat India, which has been renamed Why Cheat India, has Emraan Hashmi playing the role of a conman. He is the mastermind behind the entrance examination scam which has a team of toppers who writes exam papers for other candidates for money. The film highlights the corruption which prevails in the Indian education system. Directed by Soumik Sen and produced by Bhushan Kumar, Atul Kasbekar and Krishan Kumar, the film is slated to release on January 18. With a hope that this film brings in a change in the present education system, Emraan shares with us the powerful truth the movie brings to the forefront. Excerpts:
Tell us about your character Rakesh Singh and what made you take up the project?
My character Rakesh Singh heads the cheating mafia. Not a lot of people know what a cheating mafia is. So basically cheating mafias are people who take money from students who are undeserving and have average grades and then help them get jobs and admissions in different universities and organisations. You have such mafias across the country and Rakesh heads this in Uttar Pradesh. Being a failed medical student himself, he has a resentment against the education system, therefore he hits back by hacking it. The story is relevant to the present times. Our education system is really messed up, every now and then we hear news about how schools around the country have unqualified teachers and how paper leaks keep happening. All this is because of an ineffective education system, and students are the worst sufferers who don’t really discover their true potential. This definitely needs a major revolution. Hence, I took up the project. I am sure a lot of students and parents will watch the movie.
Do you think the present education system is a lot different from what you had back in your day? Do you think the same issues existed but probably on a smaller scale?
A lot has changed for sure, but the core problem still exists. The concept of mugging and learning without understanding is still there. These things aren’t beneficial in the real world. After completing your degree when you go out for a job, you realise that you haven’t really learnt anything. Our education system is not farsighted — it doesn’t prepare you for jobs 10 years down the line. Back in my day, there were instances of paper leaks too, but I feel that such instances have grown in number. That said, media outlets were not strong enough to bring out the issue unlike now. To sum it up, the problem has escalated and we really need to do something about it.
Healthcare and education have become profit-making institutions. What is your take on the matter?
I have nothing against profit. If it’s a business, then obviously one will want profit out of it. But I think the fundamental problem is the outcome of the services. If the consumer does not benefit from the services, and instead s/he is exploited, then it is awful. For instance, if I have taken an education loan and at the end, I do not get the desired results, then what is the point? A middle-class person puts almost all his earnings in healthcare and education, and then doesn’t get anything out of it because the system is flawed. So there needs to be a restructuring and re-examination. In Canada, medical facility is free, this is a distant dream for India because of our population. But if we put in a little more money from our government budget into these sectors, they can get better.
As a student, did you ever try to know the paper in advance?
Once during college exam, I was quite tempted to get my hands on a paper. But, fortunately I didn’t, thanks to my father who knocked some sense into my head. But students who had paid to know the paper in advance were in shock on the day of examination because the questions were different.
Children sometimes tend to take the shortcut to success. As a father, how have you been preparing your son to not fall prey to such things?
I constantly guide him. I have put him in a board which I feel will be beneficial for him in the future. He is quite young right now so I don’t want to put a lot of pressure on him. I want him to have fun and enjoy his life right now.