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Apart from the Khans, Kapoors, Roshans and Kumars of Bollywood, if there is one actor who is quietly but steadily emerging as the most bankable of our times, it’s Emraan Hashmi. Bollywood Hungama’s Nikhil Ramsubramaniam spoke to him about his new movie, Shanghai…
How did you bag Shanghai and what made you say yes to the film?
Dibakar Banerjee (director) approached me after he had written the first draft of the script and asked me to go through it. I found it very interesting. It was a complete departure from what I’d been doing.
Dibakar tells very interesting tales, which got me excited about the film. It’s a great storyline and though it’s realistic in nature, it’s highly commercial and entertaining at the same time.
You’ve mostly played suave, cool and urban characters in your films. But then you were also stereotyped as a “serial kisser”. How difficult was it to get under the skin of a character such as Jogi Parmar?
It took a lot of effort. I can easily slip into an urbanised characters because that’s the world I belong to, but Jogi is a rural guy from a small town. I’ve seen characters like this, but have never got into the psyche of them. So for me it was not relatable. But therein lay the challenge; to do something different, and I am glad that with Dibakar’s help, and many workshops, I managed it in the end.
Your on-screen bad boy image is loved by the public. In this film you play Jogi Parmar, a porn film-maker, so is that another feather in your cap?
Yes, but this is a different kind of a character. It’s a far cry from the conventional heroes you have seen on screen. It comes nowhere close to anything I’ve done before.
This is one of those rare films where you don’t have a leading lady romantically paired opposite you. Was it awkward?
Well, not really, because there is a slightly subtle one-sided love story.
My character starts developing feelings for Kalki’s character Shalini, but it’s very subtle and treated very nicely. So obviously you don’t see me dancing around trees and singing love songs.
I have played the conventional lover boy in many movies, so to have a different kind of on-screen equation with the heroine was a refreshing change.
What was it like working with Abhay Deol?
It was great working with Abhay. He is a great actor and a thorough professional. He has always been part of films that he has truly believed in. We were all very excited about the script of Shanghai and shared a great working experience.
What exactly is Shanghai trying to convey?
Shanghai talks about the way our political system functions, the bureaucracy, the red tape, how it all affects the common man.
It talks about topics such as redevelopment, land-grabbing, creating special economic zones and the real intention behind all these.
But the beauty lies in the fact that it’s not a preachy film, these things form the backdrop while the film is essentially a thriller.
Your films have worked at the box office more often that not, but after Murder 2, The Dirty Picture and Jannat 2, you are now in the big league. What has changed?
I don’t really know. I don’t think much has changed as far as I am concerned. I am happy that I am getting offers from big banners and a chance to work with people I’ve always wanted to work with. I am also happy that audiences like my work, which is translating into big box office numbers.
You are now set to work with Dharma Productions and Yash Raj Films. How does that feel?
I can’t really comment until I sign the films. But yes, there have been some exciting offers from big banners and I’ll let you know in due course. – bollywoodhungama.com