If you were in Mumbai over the weekend, saw Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai in a single screen theatre and had a man witting next to you/standing in the aisle with a cap, shades and a heavily covered face, chances are you had none other than Emraan Hashmi for company. Reason being that the actor, in order to gauge the response of his recent release, was passing in and out of numerous single screen theatres in Mumbai (or shall we say – Mumbaai?).
Says a friend of Emraan, “To begin with, Emraan’s idea was to connect with his fans directly for Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. Despite going through an 11 cities promotional tour that lasted for a fortnight, Emraan wasn’t allowing any fatigue to set in. This is a major film for him as it sees him in a dramatic avtar and he wasn’t going to let go of the opportunity for his fan base to increase manifold. Due to this, he decided to go to not one, not two but all single screen cinema halls in Mumbai to meet the audiences and know their views about the movie.”
Resultantly, there was a bunch of surprised audience which saw Emraan Hashmi amidst them in a single screen theatre. To begin with, he wanted to directly interact with audience and hence didn’t have any qualms about walking in casually and asking them about what they felt after the end credits had rolled.
“Yes, I did make a visit to the theatres as this is one film which I knew was very audience friendly”, says Emraan who sounds pretty calm and composed for someone who has seen very good critical acclaim also coming for him in addition to audience appreciation, “This is a kind of film which is pretty interactive for audience as it entices them into coming up with a lot of ‘seetis’ and ‘taalis’, considering the subject and treatment. It was overwhelming to see how crowds react to the character that you play on screen.”
What he doesn’t say though is that quite a few members from the audience started mouthing powerful dialogues from the film once it was through. The one which was singled out was about ‘Sultan ko log smuggler kehke bulaate the, mujhe woh Don ke naam se jaanenge’. While it is left to no one’s imagination about the real life characters to which Emraan refers to in the film, the fact remains that it instantly appealed to the audience.
This is not all as compliments started coming Emraan’s way for his look and style as well. However, as the weekend progressed, the word of mouth had caught in a big way and Emraan had to rethink about his strategy of stepping into theatres as casually as before.
“Any actor would love the popularity coming his way and direct feedback from the audience. Emraan is no different. However, he also couldn’t afford to be careless and let himself become a part of an ever increasing crowd. This is why he decided to follow a mix and match approach and chose his theatres”, informs his friend, “While he was continuing his interaction with audience in select theatres, he also walked in unannounced and made a quick exit at some places. He put some basic disguise in place and was inside the auditorium only after the film had started and left before the end.”
Well, since Emraan comes on screen only after 30 minutes into the film (though he stays on till the very end), the ex-Serial Kisser (yes, now one can remove the tag that has been hanging against his name for ages now!) wouldn’t have minded walking in a little late!