Commercial Bollywood films may be his "bread and butter" but Emraan Hashmi says he is keen to take risks and do projects that scare him as a performer post his "creatively satisfying" turns in 'Shanghai' and Danis Tanovic's upcoming movie 'Tigers'.
Emraan Hashmi. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Hashmi's performance in the Oscar-winning director's real-life inspired drama has earned him a lot of praise in the international media following its world premiere at the recently concluded Toronto International Film Festival.
"I understand that mainstream cinema is very important for me. It's my bread and butter but once a year, I want to do a film like 'Tigers' which excites me and scares me as an actor.
Risks are big chaos but if you go down the beaten path it means the death of your art and creativity as an actor," Hashmi told PTI in an interview. The actor, who not long ago was slotted as a serial-kisser, is working hard to avoid getting trapped into a particular image. He now wishes there were more Bollywood stars willing to take such risks.
"Before 'Shanghai' I played these urban, cool roles in thrillers. No one expected me to do a 'Shanghai' and this is why I chose that film. Box office is important but sometimes you need films that change things. They are not as much about money as about intent and 'Tigers' is one such film," Emraan said.
"I just hope there are more Bollywood actors who are willing to take risks. Somehow they are always chasing numbers at the box office. The benchmark of success is very different in Bollywood," he added.
The actor was happy to see the film receive a standing ovation from the audience at TIFF. He also met Aamir Raza, the Pakistani Salesman whose life he has portrayed in the movie.
"The audience at TIFF were very moved by the film in all positive ways. We got a standing ovation. I also met Aamir. I was very nervous meeting him because playing a real-life character is a huge responsibility but luckily he liked my portrayal. He is the real hero of the film. Taking on a multinational company was courageous on his part," the actor said.
Emraan said he initially thought Tanovic would be a difficult director but found the helmer easy to work with. "I thought he would be a tough taskmaster who would control things to the point where it would be suffocating for an actor but he was the easiest director that I have worked with. He gave me so much room to have my own interpretation of the character. He let me find my own way by just giving me my space. It was a huge learning experience," said the director.
The actor, who has four-year-old son Ayaan, says he could empathise with the story as a father. "The issue in 'Tigers' is important because it talks about how infant formula milk is not good for babies. We connected to the story on a personal level. It was an eye-opener for me that despite being an educated person, I did not know about it," he said.
Hashmi says he will continue experimenting with his future choices as he does not like to follow rules. "No one wants to change in our cinema but I don't confirm.
I don't live my life like a star which comes with different set of norms and rules. I just try and find my own way," he said.
Hashmi lauded film's producers -- Prashita Chaudhary of Cinemorphic and Guneet Monga of Sikhya Entertainment -- for taking on the project when European producers were hesitant to put their money behind it fearing lawsuits.
"There are rule breakers in the film industry but their number is less. Prashita and Guneet are among those. They supported the film when European producers backed out," he said.
The actor will now be seen in 'Mr X', a dark, sci-fi superhero film and then 'Hamari Adhuri Kahaani' with Vidya Balan, which he will begin shooting next month.