Sonil Dedhia in Mumbai
Emraan Hashmi has waited long enough to achieve stardom. Despite having some successful films to his credit, the big banners didn't take him very seriously.
"As an actor, I was not accepted in the industry for the longest time," he says.
But his resilience is finally paying off in a big way. From being signed on by big banners such as Balaji Films and Dharma Productions, Hashmi has also bagged a Hollywood film and is slowly becoming a credible name in the industry.
Sonil Dedhia caught up with the actor as he prepares for the release of his much anticipated film Ek Thi Daayan that releases on Friday.
You did Raaz 3D last year and now you have Ek Thi Daayan. What is this fascination with horror movies?
Somewhere it does feel like I am fascinated with horror films. I love watching horror films so it became the obvious choice when they were offered to me.
I also love to play dark romantic characters and I think I am getting some interesting scripts with great characters. I have had the opportunity to work on some amazing supernatural thriller films.
'I wanted to be part of Ek Thi Daayan ever since I heard the story'
What was it that made you agree to do Ek Thi Daayan?
When Ek Thi Daayan came my way, I could connect to the story because these are the stories we heard when we were young.
This kind of folklore has never been seen in a Hindi film before, and I wanted to be part of it ever since I heard the story.
You turned down Murder 3 because you thought you didn't have much to do amidst two actresses. In Ek Thi Daayan, there are three female protagonists.
I don't select my films on such criteria. I didn't do Murder 3 because I had some date issues.
I have done a film like The Dirty Picture where I just had 30 minutes on the screen and the main protagonist was a female.
'I am looking for bigger and more successful films'
You have completed 10 years in films. What do you consider your greatest accomplishment of that decade?
I tried to do interesting characters that were enjoyed by my audience and me. During the first five years of my career, I was criticised for doing similar kind of roles. I always tried to get out of my comfort zone and push my boundaries.
During these years I have created a new genre of mainstream films, which this industry hadn't seen earlier. Our mainstream films are mostly family dramas or comedies but my films have always been different from the rest.
What is your biggest dream right now? What is that one thing that you really want to achieve in the next five years?
I am looking for bigger and more successful films, better scripts to work on and some interesting characters.
I don't compete with anyone but myself.
The effort always remains that my new film outdoes my last in terms of performance and gets better box office success. I never see box office of others films and actors to compare how good my film has done or how big or small I am.
'Time and again, I have to do a film like Shanghai'
So, when you say that you always try to outdo your last box office performance, do you give the box office priority when selecting scripts?
Box office is the sole reason why I do films.
Sometimes I know a film might not pull the audience to the theatres and have a great collection at the box office. But I need to do these films for creative satisfaction and give something different to the audience.
Was it a deliberate decision after doing three commercial films to do something like Shanghai?
Yes, it was very necessary. Time and again, I have to do a film like Shanghai.
Currently, I am doing a film with Danis Tanovic which is an interesting subject. As an actor, it is very necessary to constantly keep evolving and doing something unexpected.
'As an actor, I was not accepted in the industry for the longest time'
You are doing a film by Balaji, Dharma Production and in between there was talk of a Yash Raj film also. These production houses never approached you in the initial years. Are they stepping out of their comfort zone and accommodating films that you like to do?
I think Balaji Films always stepped out of their comfort zone and tried doing some risky projects. Once Upon A Time In Mumbai changed the way gangster films were done.
On the other hand, Karan (Johar) always made beautiful family films. He stepped out and produced Unglee with me. It is completely different from his earlier films but still is going to be a masala blockbuster.
Is it some kind of vindication that you have started getting offers from big production houses?
As an actor, I was not accepted in the industry for the longest time. It did not deter me as the audience had accepted me.
I never compared myself with any other actors. I never had any game plan and I took whatever came my way.
Slowly and steadily I started getting my due. I am very happy that filmmakers like Vishal Bharadwaj and Karan Johar have started approaching me.
'I don't give kissing too much importance'
Now that you are working with big banners will you continue working with the Bhatts? There were rumours that you had a fall-out?
No, we never had a fall-out. I will continue doing films with them.
We have had a successful run and I have given some of my biggest hits with them. The audience would like us to do something together. We will surely work together.
Do you still consult them when you get a new script in hand?
Yes, but that happens only a few times. I take up projects that I want to work on. If there are questions in my mind about certain things I do consult them.
Is there anything in the pipeline with them?
There is something but I really can't talk about it at this moment.
Your serial kisser image follows you. Will there ever be a time when you will be tired of kissing?
I am already tired of kissing on screen (laughs). I have to do it because it is synonymous with me. Also, the producers and directors want to add that element. I don't give it too much importance.
'My film with Danis Tanovic is very controversial'
Photographs: Danis Tanovic/Twitter
Can you tell us about your Hollywood film with director Danis Tanovic?
It's a very controversial film. The subject is very controversial and we have finished shooting for it.
We shot in Berlin, Patiala and other parts of Punjab. It has a very relevant subject, something which touches all our lives. It's going to be one of the talked-about films.
How do you see Danis's vision of India?
He is a fantastic director. He likes Indian films, the food, the culture and the people.
He has made a very beautiful film and has tried to capture the real essence of India. I have seen his films and I believe he has made some fine films.