Not one to conform to the Bollywood model, Emraan Hashmi marches to his own tune.
Q. For every Mumbai Saga and Chehre, there are independent titles like Tigers and Harami in your oeuvre.
The general rule is that once you have a brand, you satisfy the audience by giving them more of the same. Actors fall into that trap. When I did Shanghai (2011), people said ‘why are you putting on weight to do a film like this?’ But it is my job to play different parts. I will always do films that give me a chance to get into the depth of a character.
Q. These films don’t always work at the box office, though.
They don’t have to. Independent films give me a chance to hone my skills as an actor. I can bring a more invigorated state of mind into a commercial film. Something I wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Q. You did Bard of Blood in 2019 before OTT consolidated its position. Did you foresee the streaming wave?
Back in 2018, people asked, ‘Why are you doing OTT? You will be boxed in as an OTT actor’. But I just do what I want to. Post lockdown, OTT’s reach has become wider than ever before. It is a far superior medium of storytelling. You can’t really go out there and tell radical stories in theatres.
Q. After Mumbai Saga, you have another theatrical release in Chehre. With cases on the rise, do you think theatres can go back to normal?
Theatres are taking every precaution to make it a safe one. We couldn’t have taken the OTT route with these films and had to put them out. Looking at just the collections would be myopic. It is also crucial to open theatres so that those whose livelihoods depend on the exhibition sector get some respite.
Q. Tell us about Chehre.
It is a courtroom drama which does not occur in a courtroom. It is a game Mr Bachchan plays where he is grilling me. It is unlike anything you have seen.
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