‘Acting happened quite by accident. It chose me.’
To be cast in the lead in Raaz 2 and Raaz 3 felt almost surreal.’
IMAGE: Emraan Hashmi with Kriti Kharbanda in Raaz Reboot.
After making waves with his latest negative avatar in Tiger 3, Emraan Hashmi doesn’t mind going back to the kind of movies that made him a star.
He doesn’t mind giving us another Raaz or Jannat if it fulfills his main condition.
“I’ve always been fascinated by horror and if we can crack a story that is novel and unpredictable, I’ll definitely be open to another Raaz,” Emraan tells Rediff.com Senior Contributor Roshmila Bhattacharya.
You are an actor with perhaps the most hit sequels to your name, from Murder, Raaz, Jannat and now Tiger. With franchises growing into universes, how do you feel about this trend?
It’s a tricky affair because while sequels guarantee a certain type of audience and create a pre-release buzz, you need to be smart enough to know what attracted them to the prequel so you can bring a new dimension to the next part.
You have to up your game with the second and third part.
That is difficult because unlike a standalone film, expectations rise with every new installment, particularly in the case of a franchise like Tiger which has been built over 10-plus years.
You started your journey as an assistant director on Raaz, going on to play the lead in Raaz 2 and Raaz 3, with a special appearance in Raaz Reboot. What memories does the trend-setting horror series bring back?
During Raaz, I was freshly exposed to this world, taking baby steps into the film industry.
Learning the ropes was fun, but also nerve-wrecking because I didn’t know what the hell was going on most of the time.
Also, I lacked focus having no idea what I was going to do with my life.
Acting happened quite by accident.
It chose me and life took a 360-degrees turn.
To be cast in the lead in Raaz 2 and Raaz 3 felt almost surreal.
IMAGE: Emraan Hashmi and Esha Gupta in Jannat 2.
This year, Vikram Bhatt’s 1920: Horrors of the Heart, written by Mahesh Bhatt, was a surprise hit. Isn’t it time for you to return to the Raaz franchise?
This is not something that can be pre-decided based on the genre alone, it has to be driven by the story.
I’ve always been fascinated by horror and if we can crack a story that is novel and unpredictable, I’ll definitely be open to another Raaz.
What about Jannat 3 given the draw of cricket?
Again, that would depend on whether we can arrive at a unique script and not because sequels are trending now.
Jannat 3 does not have to be about cricket, Jannat 2 wasn’t.
Nor for that matter was Jannat, which was released during the IPL season.
We were warned that this would dent our collections, but instead, it got the highest opening of 2008 and was one of the year’s biggest hits.
That wasn’t only because of the cricket fever, Jannat is a quality film and that helped it sustain its box office run.
Given the expectations the franchise has raised, Jannat 3 would be a challenge, but I never say never.
IMAGE: Emraan Hashmi in Tiger 3.
There’s talk of a Shootout at Byculla too…
No, not at the moment. I mean if there is, I haven’t been approached for it.
Right now, I only have three projects in hand.
I have just completed Showtime, Dharmatics’ first Web series with Disney+Hotstar.
Then there’s em>Ground Zero, produced by Excel Entertainment.
And my first Telugu film, OG, directed by Sujeeth and co-starring Pawan Kalyan sir.
All three will be released early next year.
Given all the action, how arduous was the prep for Tiger 3?
The role was extremely draining, both emotionally and physically.
When I signed the film, I was thin, and even though there is no bone-crunching fighting as far as my part is concerned, I decided to buff up for the role since I was pitted against Salman (Khan) who has been working out for a large part of his life.
I wanted my character to be someone whose physical form matched Salman’s Tiger so the training was rigorous.
Also, while Salman’s Tiger and Katrina’s Zoya had already been established in the franchise by the time Tiger 3 came along, Aatish Rehman (Emraan’s character in Tiger 3) was a completely fresh character.
We could have interpreted him in 1,000 different ways.
It was fun to find him along the way with the help of my team.
IMAGE: Emraan Hashmi with son Ayaan. Photograph: Kind courtesy Emraan Hashmi/Instagram
And how’s the superhero in your family? Is Ayaan showing any signs of following in his father’s footsteps?
He’s only 13, I’m not nudging him towards anything.
I would be doing him a great disservice if I made him follow my ambition.
Everyone has their own unique path and Ayaan, who is in his formative years, is still discovering life.
Slowly, he will figure out what he wants to do and whatever it is, I will always support him.
If Ayaan wants to be an actor, will you set up a production company and launch him?
It’s too early to say, but I don’t think I would do that.
I would only box him, make him do what I feel Ayaan is capable of when he could do much more.
I would rather someone else nurture him.