Emraan Hashmi: Always felt like an outsider in the industry
In a freewheeling interview, Emraan Hashmi talks about ego wars, box office duds, why rom-coms totally turn him off and why he feels he doesn't fit into Bollywood
Despite having spent over a decade in the industry, Emraan Hashmi still feels he doesn't fit into Bollywood and he might never do.
Emraan Hashmi. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Q: Why were you the only one promoting your film Ungli? Randeep Hooda and Kangana Ranaut didn't seem too keen…
A: I have no idea. Everyone has their own professional ethics and I don't question or judge them. I do what I do. I don't make my decisions the way they make their decisions. There's a reason why they do it. I have my reasons to promote it.
Q: You okay dealing with other people's egos and problems by now?
A: I am used to it. I have been used to it for a while now. I haven't done any ensemble films so I don't know how it works — how ego walks in, what goes wrong, what goes right and why people promote it or don't promote it. It's very simple — I do a film, I allot days to shooting, I assign days to promotions. I am okay with most things so when I am not okay with something, I am not okay with it. I give out adequate days to the producers. I am in on this job as an actor. I see it as a profession.
Q: What do you look for in a script when it's offered to you?
A: I look for an interesting journey for me as an actor and character — a film which would challenge me. There are two kinds of films — one that satiates the artistic and creative need and the other, one does for the box office. I look for a film that solves both the purposes. This rarely happens because in our cinema, a few things are fixed. The guy gets the girl; the guy bashes the villain… the boring stuff. We have to do the boring stuff.
Q: How do you deal with box office failure?
A: I didn't even care if the film did great at the box office. For me, it was always just doing the job. I don't like flying too high and I don't like getting demoralised. I have seen enough criticism in my career. In fact, I am my worst critic. Thankfully, I didn't get the dream start in the industry, so such stuff does not bother me. I had people tell me that I would never make it as this place wasn't for me. People say such stuff when films don't fare well. But when you are sure of your film's integrity, the only way to go is up. Yes, the last one and a half years haven't been that great. There have been good films that haven't worked, which is kind of scary.
Q: There are stars who disown the film if they don't do well.
A: I don't do that. That's why I've always felt like an outsider in the industry—I don't function the same way. I get emotionally attached but detach myself as much as I can when the movie hits the theatres. I keep my flops closer than my hits — I cherish my failures, they make me stronger. Hits on the other hand, make you complacent. I don't see mistakes as a bad thing. I would encourage my son to make mistakes. You've got to make 10 mistakes to know what that one right is.
Q: Isn't it a setback when there are a string of flops?
A: We are in an industry in which 80 per cent movies don't do well. I give my 100 per cent to every film. After that, nothing matters. I would feel bad if I disowned things. I wouldn't probably sleep at night.
Q: Any particular way in which you think you've changed since your first film?
A: I've made mistakes; I've had successful films. That's the brilliant thing with this industry — you're always learning along the way. Things tend to get easier, but then that's scary because you stop testing yourself. You always do films that test you as person and as an actor. You always seem to set the clock back to zero, somehow. I am being paid more…that's changed!
Q: What kind of films you want to produce?
A: For starters, I'd need a good script. I know what I won't do. I won't do a typical rom-com. I can't stand those! They're extremely misleading. Love in real life is not that way. I don't like Hugh Grant and I don't like the kind of movies he stars in. I'd rather do an intense love story that is closer to reality.
Q: The kisser tag is difficult to brush off even now?
A: That was one crappy trend to start. But Aamir was doing it before I was!
On a serious note, I didn't choose films that way. I was being offered films that went with my bold image one after the other and then Bollywood took a new turn. Now, 10 years later, you have this new bunch of kids taking it a step further.
Q: Alia Bhatt said she'd give you competition now.
A: Bring it on, man! (breaks into a chuckle)