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
actor of our times its Emraan Hashmi. His track record at the Box Office is enviable and with back to back hits in the form of Murder 2, The
Dirty Picture and Jannat 2, Emraan has hit the big league. The talented actor is now gearing up for his next big release Shanghai
which opens this week at cinema halls. In between a crazy promotional tour, Emraan takes time out to chat with Bollywood Hungama’s Nikhil
Ramsubramaniam and speaks on a wide range of things right from his character Jogi Parmar to how cost-effective films give him a big high. Read
How exactly did you bag Shanghai and what made you say yes to the film?
Dibakar Banerjee approached me when he had written the first draft of the script and asked me to go through it. I found it very interesting. It was a
new space and a complete departure from what I’ve been doing. Dibakar tells very interesting tales and he weaves it very well which got me excited
about the film. It’s a film with 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 so far. How difficult was it to get into the skin of someone like Jogi Parmar?
It actually took a lot of effort to get into character. I can easily slip into an urbanized character because that’s the world I belong to but Jogi is a rural
guy from a small town. I have seen characters like this but have never really got into the psyche of these guys. So far me it was not at all relatable. But
therein lied the challenge to do something different and I am glad that with Dibakar’s help and through many workshops I could manage to do it in the
You are one of those few actors whose on-screen bad-boy image is loved by the public especially the masses. In this film you play Jogi Parmar, a
porn film maker, so is that yet another feather in your cap that will add to your ever growing popularity among the masses?
Ya 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
that 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 Jogi 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 films so to have a different kind of an on-screen equation with the heroine was a refreshing change.
How was it working with Abhay Deol considering both of you come from different school of thoughts as far as the films you both have done are
It was great working with Abhay. He is a great actor and a thorough professional. He has always been part of films which he has truly believed in. We
were all very excited about the script of Shanghai and shared a great working equation.
Had you seen any of Dibakar’s films before and which one did you like?
I’ve only seen his Khosla Ka Ghosla and I liked it.
You seem to be sporting a completely different look in the film. Tell us more about itâ€¦
I had to put on some weight for my character in the film, I had to get my teeth stained, and I had to darken my skin colour 2-3 shades to make the
character look as real as possible.
Where all did you shoot the film?
We shot the film in the interiors of Maharashtra in Latur and Baramati. Dibakar believes in shooting in actual, real locations rather than creating sets.
The music barring ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai‘ hasn’t really caught on big time. What do you have to say about that?
I don’t think so. Of course ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai‘ has caught on, but if you go to see, ‘Khudaya‘ is the one that has become really popular
as it’s a love song and in our country love songs have more of a range. The music has done well and even songs like ‘Dua‘ are doing well in
terms of downloads, ringtones etc.
You seem to be having quite a blast in ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai‘ song dancing like never before. How was that experience?
It was great fun. We were actually dancing like people do in a street procession. There were about 400 dancers who were part of the song. We did a bit
of research on how actually people dance and behave in a street procession so that we get a real and authentic feel to the song.
In your own words what exactly is Shanghai trying to convey?
Shanghai talks about the way our political system functions, the bureaucracy, red-tapism and how it all affects the common man. It talks about
topics like re-development, land-grabbing, creating Special Economic Zones (SEZ’s) and what’s the real intention behind all these etc. 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 that will keep you gripped.
Your films have always worked at the Box Office more often that not but suddenly after hits like Murder 2, The Dirty Picture and
Jannat 2, you are now in the big league. What exactly has changed now?
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 getting a chance
to work with people who I’ve always wanted to work with. I am also happy that audience likes my work which is translating into big Box office numbers.
Shanghai is not a film from the Bhatt camp yet Mr. Mahesh Bhatt went ballistic tweeting about how good the film is and how it has managed
to recover most of its costs even before release. What do you have to say about that?
Bhatt saab has always been supportive of all my films. He has heard good things about Shanghai as well from people who have seen it at special
screenings and is gung-ho about the film. Moreover, like he rightly said, the economics of the film is something which I aspire to have in each of my
films. This film has covered most of its costs even before release. We just need to recover about Rs. 4.5 crores on release which is a very easy task.
Dibakar has shot the film brilliantly without compromising on anything and yet managing to keep it within a controlled budget and I am sure that it will
be a sure-shot hit at the Box Office.
Finally you are now all set to work with big banners like Dharma Productions and Yash Raj Films. How does that feel?
I can’t really comment till I officially sign the films. But yes there have been some exciting offers from big banners and I will let you guys know in due
course of time.
Watch Promo: Shanghai