He had made up his mind to act in Shanghai even before Dibakar Banerjee gave him a script narration. But for Emraan Hashmi,what reaffirmed his decision was the fact that the filmmaker wanted his character Jogi to have a paunch and uneven,stained teeth. That was the bonus point because it gave me the opportunity to imbibe the character physically and emotionally, explains Hashmi who plays a local reporter-cum-wedding and porn filmmaker from a small town in the film.
The actor,in a white shirt,beige trousers and a beard,hardly bore resemblance to his on-screen character when he visited Express Towers,Nariman Point,for the Screen Chatroom. To him,Shanghai is among his most defining film yet. People from various schools of thought came together Dibakar,Kalki (Koechlin),Abhay (Deol),Prosenjit (Chatterjee) so the atmosphere on the sets was refreshing and very un-Bollywoodlike. That is the reason we were able to create something fresh, he says.
The film also sees Hashmi,who is known to dislike dancing on screen,shake a leg street-style to the song Bharat Mata ki jai. The actor confesses that he underwent rehearsals for the song. I watched videos of street processions and we zeroed in on steps that we found unique, he explains.
With his recent films,including Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai and The Dirty Picture,the actor seems to have left behind the comfort zone provided by his mentors,the Bhatts Vishesh Films. In fact,Mahesh Bhatt recently claimed that having made Hashmi a star who has now flown the nest,their production house will nurture other such talent. The actor laughs when quizzed about the same,adding,Bhatt saab is theatrical with his quotes. I have always wanted to do films with different filmmakers and it makes business sense for them to also work with others since I have quite a few films lined up with other banners. But I am their ghar ka hero and will continue to work with Vishesh Films; Raaz 3 is my next release.
On Hashmis CV,Raaz 3 will be followed by Raj Kumar Guptas Ghanchakkar,Vishal Bhardwajs Daayan,a co-production between Karan Johar and Ekta Kapoor,to be directed by Rensil DSilva with Deepika Padukone as the female lead opposite him. While he chooses to keep mum about the ambitious Dharma-Balaji film,the 33-year-old says that he plays a lock-picker in Guptas comedy.
My character is from a middle-class family with a penchant for the finer things in life. He plans one last heist but things begin to go horribly wrong. The film then explores his relationship with his wife,played by Vidya Balan,in the comic space. In Daayan,a film that explores magic realism,he yet again takes on dark shades in his character to play a magician.
While talking about these upcoming projects,Hashmi plays down his recently-acquired star status and asserts that he is instead an actor. Some people lack acting credentials but have a flashy personal life and change girlfriends every month,which makes them saleable. I want my work to speak for me, he points out.
Even though Hashmi disses the star culture,the very traces of it seep into the conversation. My talent was not recognised until recently,instead the steamy elements in my films were attributed for their box-office success, he says,People have woken up late to my talent; it is their loss,not mine.