‘Yes, my son will watch Raja Natwarlal. I’ll just cover his eyes when the kissing comes around so that he doesn’t go, ‘Wait, that’s not mom.’
Emraan Hashmi gets candid with Sonil Dedhia.
After impressing the critics with his performances in films like Ek Thi Daayan and Shanghai, Emraan Hashmi is back to commercial potboilers with this week’s release, Raja Natwarlal.
The actor says that the film has all the quintessential Emraan Hashmi elements that the audience expects -- yes, even the kissing.
In a brief conversation with Sonil Dedhia, Emraan talks about his movies, and tells us why his family doesn’t mind him kissing on screen.
After experimenting with Ghanchakkar and Ek Thi Daayan are you trying to reclaim your spot in the industry with Raja Natwarlal?
I wouldn’t exactly say that. Raja Natwarlal is an attempt at that, but it’s been made for and dedicated to all my fans.
My films from last year weren’t mainstream stuff but when I like a script, I go with my heart and I give it my all.
However, the masses were disappointed. So, this film is meant for them.
It’s got songs, drama, love story, hero vs villain, with a paisa vasool, seethi maar (crowd pleasing) climax. And, yes, it has kisses too.
My character is again a dysfunctional human being who is a scamster. I don’t know why I keep getting these roles. Maybe something is written on my face.
So Emraan is back in business with his trademark kissing scenes in Raja Natwarlal?
(Laughs) I’ve realised that the serial kisser tag has become synonymous with me, and I’m not going to fight it.
Success is a lousy teacher, but failure... that teaches you stuff.
Ghanchakkar was a huge lesson. I had friends watching me getting beaten up in that film and all they could think was ‘Emraanbhai ko yeh log maar rahe hai. Emraanbhai inko waapis kyun nahin maar raha hain?!’ (Emraan is being beaten up by these people; why doesn’t he hit back?)
Fans were feeling violated and angered by the fact that their hero was getting thrashed and he wasn’t doing a thing about it.
It’s the same with the kissing. I was watching Tum Mile and we got to the scene in which Soha (Ali Khan) and I are alone together.
Now, in a typical Emraan film, I’m supposed to kiss the girl. Here I don’t, and I hear the person next to me go, ‘Emraan Hashmi, yeh film main bimaar ho gaya tha kya?’ (Was Emraan Hashmi ill during this film?).
It’s become like Salman Khan not taking his shirt off in a film -- the audience feels cheated.
Every actor has these ‘things’ that are symbolic and have to be done to keep the audience happy.
Also it’s a great thing. It’s much better and more fun than taking off your shirt!
Does your family question you about kissing in films?
No. They understand that it puts food on the table. My wife and my father have problems with me getting intimate every time, but they know that these are the choices I made for longevity’s sake.
They might not like it, but they understand it.
We will also see you dancing after a long time in the film.
Dancing is scary. I’m a terrible dancer but I had it forced down my throat.
Having to do it in the middle of a street, surrounded by a hundred people made it worse.
I get really uncomfortable but my choreographer says I’m good.
I think he’s just saying it to encourage me. Still, I am going to be dancing some more.
I have shot for an item song in the film. It’s my very first and so we’ll have to wait and see how badly or nicely that goes. If people find it awful, I won’t torture them again (laughs).
This is the fourth time you are pairing up with director Kunal Deshmukh. Would you take up any film that he has to offer?
No it’s not that. Kunal and my frequencies match.
The filmmaking process is easy, fun and fruitful when I work with him. There’s also no need to break the ice.
Sometimes when you’re working with a new team, it feels like everyone’s talking in Chinese whispers and things get lost in translation.
Kunal and I can tell each other things. We can be brutally honest. I work with Kunal not only because he’s a friend but because he is a professional.
We have made successful films together and this time is no different. I’ve seen the film and I speak from a great place of strength when I tell you that it is phenomenal.
You are working with Paresh Rawal afer a long gap in Raja Natwarlal.
I’ve been a big fan of his work ever since I saw Naam. He plays my tutor in this film and it was fantastic to work with him.
If you’ve seen the Hollywood movie Kung Fu Panda, I’d say that I am Po and he is my Master Shifu.
Your son is planning to watch this film…
Yes. I don’t think it should be a problem. I’ll just cover his eyes when the kissing comes around so that he doesn’t go, ‘Wait, that’s not mom.’ (laughs).
Ghanchakkar, Ek Thi Daayan, and Shanghai got you critical acclaim but didn’t work at the box office. Will you do more such films?
The audience was not apathetic to the films that you named -- they either loved them or hated them and either is far better than not caring about them at all.
It’s not like these films didn’t entirely work. The trade tends to look at these things in a very myopic fashion. I know that I can’t always be chasing a box office number.
It was unfair for people to compare the box office collection of Ghanchakkar and The Dirty Picture.
Both films had Vidya (Balan) and me but The Dirty Picture had popular songs, sex and dialoguebaazi, while Ghanchakkar was more cerebral and had an end that confused people because that was the kind of climax that film needed.
I will continue to experiment if I get great scripts. I’m already doing an international film, Tigers, which is very unlike my usual fare.
I’ve also got Mr X and Hamari Adhuri Kahaani coming up.