Ever since the time Emraan Hashmi has stepped in Bollywood, there has been no looking backward for this multi-talented actor. Despite being tagged as a 'serial-kisser', he continued to dish out performances that overpowered the said tag. His latest film Azhar is one of the most eagerly awaited films of the year.
Satish Sundaresan of Bollywood Hungama met up with Emraan Hashmi in order to find out more about him, the film and his life. Over to you, Emraan…
They both are my two babies. It feels great to have them releasing one after the other. Even though it's scary because it's a whole new experience, I enjoyed every minute of them both.
What are the general parameters that you look out for, while you sign any film?
The film has to bring something new to the table.
So, you feel that, Azhar satisfies all the parameters that you look for in a film?
Definitely yes! I have always wanted to do such a role which keeps me in my toes and gets me the butterflies in my stomach. I was very happy with the kind of research material and also enjoyed sitting and discussing with the man (Azharuddin) whom I had grown up watching.
Let me ask you an impromptu question. If you were to direct Azhar, will you still cast yourself in the lead?
I would rather say no. I would have gone the traditional way by casting someone who knows cricket.
How well versed are you with cricket?
Of course, I am well versed with the game.
Are you well versed with the cricketing terms like leg byes, long hop etc?
Of course I am. I understand all the basic ones like everyone does, but, not the hardcore cricketing terms.
Have you ever met Mohammad Azharuddin in person before or you met only during the making of Azhar?
I had met him during the scripting stages of the film. Once Azhar bhai was on board with the film, he used to fly to Mumbai very often and I used to visit him much often (in Hyderabad).
You once said that you were slightly apprehensive about being able to pull off the role. Did Azharuddin also feel the same way?
I really don't know. But, I had some kind of fear about the same initially. But, Azhar bhai was extremely patient with me.
What was your first reaction when the movie was offered to you? Did you say yes at the first instance?
To tell you the truth, I was ecstatic when the movie was offered to me. I did not take even a second to say yes to this film.
What kind of research did you do for the role?
Besides the director's vision and the script, I got immense support from my director Tony. I had seen lots of videos on YouTube and other sources. We took Azhar bhai to a couple of restaurants in Mumbai in order to know the nuances as to how he eats his food. Plus I also bring my own set of improvements to the role. All that I can say is that, I have never done the kind of research for any other film, the way I did for this film.
Yes, of course. Both of us are extremely patient, grounded and very unassuming. The other factors that are similar in both of us are our will power, resilience and perseverance. Both of us have faced hurdles in our lives. And we are also go-getters in our respective fields.
Did you have a voice coach for the finer nuances in the accent and intonations?
We had a voice coach in order to get my Hyderabadi accent right.
What are the locations in which the film has been shot?
The film has been shot in London, Derbyshire, Hyderabad amongst others.
You are working with Prachi Desai after a long time. Do you feel that she has evolved as an actress?
Trust me when I say that nobody could have played Naureen's role in Azhar more convincingly than her.
All your films boast of superhit music. In case of Azhar, what role does music play?
It's the music of the film that sets its ambiance and the atmosphere of the film.
All yours films mostly have catchy one-liners. What about Azhar?
There is a one liner in the film's promo itself which states, "Mere naam mein hi Mohammad hai". It's already a hit with everyone.
On the family front, how did your son react when he saw you in the film's promos?
He simply loved it. He has watched it many times. (Smiles).
What is important to you: the audience's reaction or the 100 crore club or the critics' review?
All three together will be wonderful (smiles).
What next after Azhar?
I am doing Raaz 4. Besides that, there are a couple of other films which will be announced shortly.
To sum it up, how would you describe the whole Azhar experience in one sentence?
"It's a story that needs to be told".