To all those who discuss box office, I say just fucking watch the film: Emraan Hashmi

I met Emraan Hashmi a few days ago ahead of his latest release Azhar. For a man who was giving back to back interviews since two hours during the noon before my turn came, Emraan was still pretty interesting and also at times, refreshingly candid to talk.I had a 10-min conversation and here are the excerpts:

Q) You have often said that you are a great fan of Mohammad Azharuddin. How was it knowing up close and personal for the film?
A:
There have been new dimensions that I came across once I started talking and understanding his personal experiences. Not just about his cricketing career, ups and downs, but things like losing his son. He was fighting a court case for 12 years and just when he was about to win it, he lost his son. Portraying his personal journey as accurately as I could was challenging.

Q) So was getting into his shoes difficult?
A:
 I am not much of a cricketer so portraying that one screen was a huge task. I trained with Azhar bhai for three months. We used to train three hours every morning; I used to have 150 balls chucked at me, that is almost like a match. It was just to get the form right.

Q) The film might get divided opinions since it is based on a controversial figure.
A:
I am prepared for it, because when you are portraying someone’s life on screen, everyone has their own interpretation of it. You can never always accurately depict someone’s life. You can do it through someone’s perception, like this (film) is my perception of how I see Azhar bhai.

Q) But then have you taken any cinematic liberties to portray his life on-screen?
A: For screen it is important to slightly change and tweak things for dramatic effects. Some might not see it as 100 percent accurate but we are okay with it because it’s not a docu-drama, it is a Hindi film.

Q) Fans have been wanting you to get back to the Shanghai space of films.
A: 
I would love to get back too, provided I get a good script.

Q) But you did complete Danis Tanović’s international project Tigers. When do we see the India release?
A: 
They have released the film abroad, they still haven’t it here. It is the producers call and I can’t say much about that.

Q) And what about Murder 4? When is that happening?
A:
Murder 4 is on the pipelines, they are working on the script. It is going to happen for sure but I don’t know exactly about when the film will begin. Then there is Raaz 4 which will be a spook fest the way horror films are supposed to be. It will definitely take the horror genre more forward in India.

Q) You have been in this industry for more than a decade now. While it was always trade-hungry, do you feel today it has become obsessed with numbers like never before?
A:
Obsession with numbers gets the thrill out of working in films. Everything can’t be equated only with numbers. Sometimes it is a small film and you crush the spirit of the small film because it may not do the kind of numbers but it is appreciated to a certain extent and people need to understand that.They need to understand what the film tries to do. And not equate everything with the box office numbers.

Q) Does box office pressure dictate an actor’s choice of films too?
A: In some films it does, in some films you like to take a risk. But I think the more you have news articles coming out, the media talking about these terms, then it also gets the actors jittery. They are afraid of trying something new.

Either that, or they are pushed to try something new. Because the industry dictates, ‘Ok he is not doing anything new, so he should do something new’. But no one really knows what works or doesn’t work. At the end of the day, you have to let something touch deep inside you and understand this is what I am going to do.

Q) Have you felt the pressure to deliver?
A:
I have never been swayed by the numbers. It is a bit annoying because everyone has become a trade pundit. You go to the street and your watchman is telling you how much your film has collected, it has come down to that. Your driver knows about the trade collections. Even my family, friends who are not from the industry, trainer know how much weekend business a movie has done. I say ‘Just  fucking watch the film and enjoy it, why are you telling me numbers.’ 

Q) I think ‘100 crore’ has become the new age ‘4-star rating ‘review…
A:
That’s another thing. Some will say ‘this film is not good it got only two stars’ and then that becomes a benchmark of what one critic they like speaks. I am comfortable with constructive criticism, I am not okay with if you for no reason try to pull down an actor or a film, personal biases and all that. You can see through those kind of reviews. When you have done something wrong, you know it.

 

Interview done exclusively for PTI.check-out-the-motion-poster-of-e-752x440

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