He’s the original serial kisser of Bollywood. No points for guessing who we are talking about. Yes, it’s Emraan Hashmi. It’s not surprising that the music of his next film Gangster too is rocking the charts. And of course, this movie too has a kiss! But the last one he has to offer onscreen.
In an exclusive conversation, Emraan talks about everything from films, fitness to his fiancée. Not to forget, his reasons for quitting smooching onscreen. Nevertheless the kissing-king also has some tips on the same for newbies.
Talking about your films, although not all of them have been hits, the music of all them has certainly been a hit. How does that make you feel?
I have been fortunate to work with great music directors and singers. I have had a lot of contribution from new singers. There was Atif Aslam with Aadat, Kunal Ganjawaala for Bheege Hont, Himesh for Aksar now James for Bheegi Bheegi. Pritam has given sensational music for Gangster. So that it one more added to the list.
Gangster is pegged as a different movie. Your character too is said to be different. What is it like?
I would not say that any one particular thing is unique. It’s the entire film. The narrative and performance add to the feel of the film. It is about three pivotal characters and the relationship that they share. True to the way Anurag shoots his films, at every point in the film you will hate and love the characters. Everyone’s point of view is justified. Even if you call Shiney’s character a Gangster, he is not a villain. He has his own point of view. It’s a unique story with great visuals and great music.
What is different about Emraan Hashmi in Gangster?
I’m playing a very nice guy, something I haven’t played before. My earlier characters have always had shades of grey. The way he has been presented is very mature. The last mature character I played was in Zeher. The mature look was very challenging.
Do you actually have specs in real life?
No I don’t. Sometimes I just wear specs when I get sick of my face!
There is an underwater love making scene in which you just could not hold your breath! It was the first time that Emraan said no to a kissing scene. Tell us about that.
It’s supposed to be a scene when I rescue Kangana from the water. She falls down and can’t swim. I didn’t know that there was a kiss in the scene. Mukesh Bhatt set an alarm for 4 am. He needed the shot for the promo. The final result looks very aesthetic. I think it was worth it. Underwater scenes look very easy but are very tough. They tied weights to me so that it would be easy to come down. But it was very difficult to come up. And that too at 5 am. You can imagine what I went through.
So did Kangana rescue you instead?
We kind of rescued each other.
Is Gangster based on the underworld?
It is loosely based. It’s a mixture of fact and fiction. It’s not entirely biographical. My character is fictional. Shiney’s character has certain stuff extracted from real life gangsters.
This is the first time that you are working with Shiney who has won a lot of accolades for his work in Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi. Did you feel a takkar happening?
I do my own work. I do whatever it is in my power to make the film work. That also means supporting your co-stars. Shiney is very focused. He studies his character inside out. That’s something I don’t do. He is good at what he does. Kangana is bright. She is different looking and has a fresh face. She has a spark in her and is a very spontaneous actress.
People have gone as far as comparing Kangana with Madhuri Dixit? She is said to dance very well. What do you see in her?
She hasn’t danced in the film. I would not say that there is a similarity with Madhuri. She is very unique. When you see her onscreen, you can’t mistake her for someone else. She has a distinct look and personality which is very essential onscreen. Instead of aping someone, she is very much her own person.
Which is your favorite song from some of the recent releases? You can’t pick your own songs!
I like one song from 36 China Town. It is very catchy. The sign of a good song is when you hum it after it’s over. Its Himesh again, who has done a great job.
A lot of people don’t like the way Himesh sings. Do you have any reactions? Personally, do you like it?
I do. It is very essential to have a different voice. You’d rather be different and be criticized than doing the same thing and be praised. It’s great because it sounds unique. You can identify a Himesh song when you hear it.
People are always expecting you to do something bold and different. Do you think the expectation is uncalled for?
I never really came in with an idea that I have to do something different. I took on films as they came by, on an instinct. Somehow, a kind of persona was built on screen. I don’t want to analyze it because if I do so, I’ll kill it.
It is easy for the youth to accept you because you come across as someone who does not try to hard. Tell us someone from the industry who was flattering to someone as natural as you.
I think Bhatt saab. He is one of the people who has seen me grow and given me my big break. He has literally held my hand and taken me through the films that I have done. He has given me some great compliments for my performances. At the same time, he can rip your performances apart. I won’t mention those films to you! But I think criticism is as important as the praises that you get.
Post the success of Aashiq Banaya Aapne, you are teaming up with Aaditya Datt again for Dil Diya Hai. Tell us about it. Will it be another smooch flick?
There are no smooch scenes in the film. It’s a unique story. Aditya is still a 22 year old kid. But yet, the way he will be presenting the film will be very unique. You will understand only when you see the film.
Is Tanushree in it?
No she’s not. There is a new girl called Geeta Basra from London.
Where do you’ll plan to shoot it?
It will be shot in Mumbai as well as abroad.
Your film Good Boy Bad Boy is a Subhash Ghai production. Give us some dope on that. Was that like ‘Whoa! I’m entering the showman’s world!’?
I have grown up on his films.
Name one of his films that you loved.
Ram Lakhan and Saudagar! The subjects that he makes are very real and yet the characters are larger than life. Yet not in a stupid and filmy kind of way! Good Boy Bad Boy celebrates the human spirit. It is about college life. In college, there is always a division between the crowd. One is the canteen crowd which does not study. These are the cool people! Then you have the so called nerds who keep studying.
Are you the bad boy?
You are also doing Apoorva Lakhia’s Shootout at Lokhandwala. It definitely sounds unusual.
Well, honestly, not much has been told to me. I know as much as you do. That it’s about a shootout in a place called Lokhandwala. I still have to be finalized for that film. I’m in the process of working out the dates. Apoorva Lakhia is a very talented director. I am a fan of Sanjay Gupta, who is producing the film. If you’re a guy, he makes you look like God on screen. I remember seeing Kaante in college. He takes his shots in such a slick manner.
We want to know a little bit more about you. According to numerology basis, you are a number 6, which means you are really into music.
I am very fond of music. I am a compulsive listener. If I like a particular track, I keep listening to it. My driver keeps telling me to change the tracks. And I listen to the same song 50-60 times. On the sets also, you will always catch me with my I-pod. I have grown up essentially on western music. Lenny Kravitz, Bryan Adams and Aerosmith are my favorites. I also enjoy trance.
Is it true that you are an impatient person?
Not really. I am patient but can get very impulsive sometimes. I have goofed-up a lot in the past by my impulsive nature.
What are your other likes and dislikes? Are you passionate about food?
Not at all! I have the appetite of a sparrow. I just eat basic dal, roti and vegetables along with a non-veg dish like chicken. So really not much of a foodie!
When do you plan to get married?
By the end of this year! She has been teaching kids since the past three years. She loves kids and is great with them. She has known me since before I became an actor. She doesn’t care one bit about the film industry. She doesn’t give a rat a$# about glamour and the limelight. That’s what I love about her. It’s very refreshing to have someone like that.
Is it true that she boxed you on your nose for kissing on screen?
Yes, she has boxed my nose, scratched my hand and the works. That’s why I don’t sit with her for the screening of my films. There is always one scene which I haven’t told her about. She finds out in the first trial show.
Since you are such an expert, why don’t you give our viewers some tips on kissing?
There is no expert opinion. They do it their way.
What is the Emraan Hashmi trademark?
Tongues rolling! Oops! I think I’ll get slapped for that as well. Gangster is the last film I’ll be kissing in. I think I have had enough of exposure and kissing.