Emraan Hashmi on The Body, working with Rishi Kapoor and why he says 'no' to erotic thrillers and multi-starrers
Emraan Hashmi couldn’t resist when he was offered Malayalam thriller Drishyam-fame Jeethu Joseph’s The Body, a murder mystery and an official remake of the 2012 Spanish film by the same name.
Emraan Hashmi, in his 15-year-old Bollywood career, has done quite a few thrillers. In fact, his breakthrough film, Murder (2004), a tale of an extra-marital affair gone wrong, was an erotic thriller. He further went on to do a mix of crime, action and erotic thrillers like Zeher (2005), Kalyug (2005) Aksar (2006), Gangster (2006), Jannat (2008), Raaz (2009) and many more.
Even as these films and some of their franchises had a good run at the box office catapulting Hashmi into fame, he decided to take a sabbatical from the genre as he found himself getting repetitive with “clichéd” scripts coming his way. But Hashmi couldn’t resist when he was offered Malayalam thriller Drishyam-fame Jeethu Joseph’s The Body, a murder mystery and an official remake of the 2012 Spanish film by the same name, also starring Sobhita Dhulipala and Rishi Kapoor, which released on 13 December.
“The story, the narrative, the character..everything was new about this film. Lot of thrillers that I have seen in the last few years I have found them very predictable but when I saw the original Spanish film I was blown away because it is one gem of a thriller. Its climax is really exciting. It is a film that you don’t know, you won’t be able to guess how it sums up, you won’t be able to guess what the suspense is or where the body has disappeared and who has done it. Or is it a ghost? Those things are very intriguing, Also, my role came as a breath of fresh air,” says Hashmi.
“My character is of a working professor married to this woman who dies and her body goes missing from the morgue. An investigating officer comes on board and there starts the investigation to determine how the body disappeared, what is the intention behind getting it vanished and the main pointer comes towards this guy — the suspect which is my character. So the cat-and-mouse game goes on throughout the film,” he says as he describes his part. He further adds,
while praising the director, “Joseph understands the medium and this genre very well. The way he has told the story and taken the shots it is very entertaining. At times, films in this genre can become very dark and depressing. But the presentation of the film is very entertaining. I had liked his Drishyam and only Joseph could have done it. Very few directors in our industry understand this genre and Joseph is one of those.”
With thrillers coming of age in Bollywood, is this perhaps another reason for Hashmi to take up the genre once again, the prime example being Sriram Raghavan’s recent outing Andhadhun? (In fact, Hashmi’s next release in April 2020, Chehre co-starring Amitabh Bachchan, is also a suspense thriller). “Some of the thrillers that I did have worked well in the past. Murder or Murder 2, then Raaz was a hit franchise though it is considered horror."
Having started his journey in Bollywood with erotic thrillers, it earned him the tag of the ‘serial kisser’ soon after he shot to stardom with Murder. Over the years, through roles in films like Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai, The Dirty Picture, Shanghai, Azhar, Baadshaho and Tigers, and the web series Bard Of Blood, helped him change his image. “I am not going down that road [again]. I feel as an actor, yes, certain films (erotic thrillers) have worked but it is my job as an actor to explore different genres which I am doing. Success and failure does matter but it is not something you have control on. I wanted to explore different genres but I am also doing films which have an element of romance, for instance The Body. Then, Cheat India didn’t have full-fledged romance in it. But that is not the only criteria. It is just that the film didn’t really turn out the way I felt it should have,” he says.
“Look, as a creative person when you do something new you run the risk of failure more than success. It’s very easy to just constantly do the same thing over and over again and bring in box office numbers. But when you try to do something different then you run the risk and I am okay with the results. There are lot of times when you make films with the best of intentions but the film doesn’t turn out the way it is intended to be. Hence, they don't run at the box office. This is the learning experience I have had with the past few films. I have taken that in my stride. It’s also a tricky matter because you may be doing your work fine as an actor but there are various other things that may falter like writing, direction..These things are not under your control. Then the actors have to face the backlash but that is part of the process.”
Hashmi describes working with Rishi Kapoor as “fabulous”. “Whatever I had heard and perceived about him, it was the same. He is a very fiery individual. Whatever is there in his heart is there on his tongue. He is a very zinda dil (lively at heart) and effervescent personality. He is very passionate, professional, naturalistic and spontaneous actor. So it was great fun working with him. I usually read my dialogues, research and rehearse and then reach the sets, whereas, he reads it on set just before action. It was very instantaneous and very easy. After the first day of shoot itself I realised that I am going to enjoy working with him. He is a very giving actor,” says Hashmi.
The actor has his hands full in the coming year. “Chehre is once again a thriller. I have the last schedule with Mr Bachchan this month. I have Jay Krishnan’s Ezra, a horror film and remake of a South film. Then there’s Sanjay Gupta’s gangster drama Mumbai Saga, a multi-starrer with John Abraham, Jackie Shroff, Suniel Shetty and Prateik Babbar. I will also start preparing for Vijay Ratnakar Gutte’s Vayusena where I will play IAS officer KC Kuruvilla,” says Hashmi.
While Gupta’s gangster flick may be a comfortable space for him, Hashmi, who calls himself a greedy actor, would prefer to do solo hero films.“I generally prefer a less cluttered space but it is not like I am averse to the fact of doing multi-starrers. But generally I am a greedy actor. You get more screen space and more scenes to develop the character arc which is not possible in multi-starrers. But fortunately, I am told that I have been able to stand out in whatever multi-starrers I have done in the past because my role and characters were good,” he concludes.
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