Shreya Dhanwanthary's hard-earned break
The actor is making her Bollywood debut in Soumik Sen’s upcoming film, Cheat India
Newcomer Shreya Dhanwanthary is making her Bollywood debut in Soumik Sen’s upcoming film, Cheat India. The film stars Emraan Hashmi in the role of a fraudster who earns money by rigging entrance examinations to engineering and management colleges. The film addresses the serious issue of corruption in the Indian education system and how aspiring students from lower-income groups fall prey to the widespread scam.
Speaking about her early life and career, Shreya recalls, “My dad was in aviation, so we moved around all over the world. Growing up, I did a lot of theatre. In 2010, I did a Telugu film called Sneha Geetham (2010). It was directed by a college senior of mine who thought I'd be perfect for the role. The moment I gave my first shot for that film — between action and cut — I knew this was what I wanted to do in life.”
Despite having debuted in that Telugu film, the 27-year-old actor had to face multiple rejections before landing her big break in Cheat India. “No matter how talented you are, you always need someone on the other side taking a chance on you. That finally happened with this film after three to four rounds of auditions and a look test. I also liked the part a lot and couldn't believe it would be my Hindi film debut. My character is a simple, lower-middle class girl in Lucknow who connects with Emraan’s character. Our track pans out outside of the main scam happening in the film,” says Shreya.
When asked how she feels about the problem depicted in the film, the actor notes that the education scam in India needs urgent attention. “I am an engineer as well, so I know how terrible the situation is. Kids are preparing from sixth to seventh standard to get into IITs. There are these coaching institutes that are famous for getting you admission into premiere colleges. But to get into these institutes, there's another set of institutes and tutorials you must attend. It's unbelievable. I feel a lot of people will relate to the film at a personal level like I do.”
Cheat India is co-produced by T-Series Films, Ellipsis Entertainment and Emraan Hashmi Films. The film's release date has been advanced to January 18 from January 25 to avoid a clash with Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s Thackeray.