Emraan Hashmi has been a commercially bankable actor for many producers, and that’s why a film like Shanghai (2012) came as a surprise to even his most ardent fans. He blames it on his image and time that he didn’t get more similar scripts.
He said, “At that time it was made, not many films of that nature were getting made. I hoped I would get more scripts like that, I got Tigers which released recently, not of the similar genre though. In our industry, till 2-3 years back, they used to resist such films, they thought it’s not safe, commercial actor, but I have always felt that you should pitch your film to different set of viewers.”
He continued, “I was predominantly a mass actor early on, Shanghai was my first class film. The masses didn’t like it. It reminded them of the life they lead, corruption and poverty. They wanted to see great locations.”
He clarifies that there isn’t anything ‘wrong’ in being called an ‘arty’ actor. “Earlier it was different. Now, those arty films are seen differently.”
His next film, Why Cheat India, which was earlier titled Cheat India, is an extension of his popular ‘bad boy’ image but he insists that it’s different from his previous films like Raja Natwarlal and Jannat. He said, “He is not a hero or a villain, he claims he is just a player. The tonality of the character is very different from Raja Natwarlal. There is no overplay. I have played more grey characters, I find typical ‘hero’ roles very boring. Anyone who is a bad person is still a hero of their life.”
He added, “There are only seven archetypes of the stories and you keep rehashing them and churning out something fresh.”
Why is it that Bollywood actors keep talking about world cinema in their interviews but don’t act accordingly in their films? Hashmi said, “There is a certain commercial angle and that’s a major departure from world cinema. You have to play according to the rules. In ‘masala’ films, there is no reference, it’s very Indian. I don’t see many actors taking the risk. Some actors are there who are willing to take risks but that number is miniscule.”
Shreya Dhanwantari, who has been a familiar face on TV and web, is making her Bollywood debut with Why Cheat India. She said, “I have been acting since I was 4, so working with people of different kind of sensibilities was kind of motivation. So far, whatever I have done was on a smaller scale. Now it’s going to be out in front of everyone to see.”
She also shared an interesting story from the sets. She said, “There is a wonderful song that Agni has done for us, Kamyaab. There is a shot in the film in which I bring tea for Emraan. That’s when I first meet him in the film. That was also the first shot I gave.”
Why Cheat India, directed by Soumik Sen, will hit the screens on January 18, 2019.
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