"This is not just a film where the cast and crew gets together and then disperses. I spent a good one and a half years with Azhar. During that time he surrendered his thoughts completely with me. He poured his heart out to me. I now know him well enough to say he's a lifelong friend, though we are not the same age. He's much elder to me. But there's a bonding between us that goes beyond the film," says Emraan emotionally.
After knowing him so closely did Emraan think Azhar was guilty of match-fixing?
Emraan Hashmi ponders over that one and then answers quietly, "It was very important for me as an actor not to sit judgement over Azhar for what he did personally or professionally. I went into the script as a neutral party. It was the only way I could approach the character with honesty and sincerity. And yes, if you insist on an answer on whether Azhar was guilty of match-fixing, my answer is…no, I don't think he was guilty."
Emraan closely followed the Azharuddin case. "I remember the case very well. It occupied so much media attention. Everyone had an opinion on it at that time. Everyone has an opinion on it now when the film is out. I guess that's what the film was supposed to do. Sections of the media questions our film's prerogative to declare him non-guilty. But let's not forget. The courts had declared him innocent of match-fixing. So who are we to judge him?"
Emraan Hashmi is pleased that the film has opened well. "Critics have liked my performance and so has the audience. I think the collections are likely to be equal to that of my film Jannat 2."
This comes as a welcome relief for Emraan after a number of successive flops that have left him unfazed. "If only we knew what works at the box office, we would never do unsuccessful films. Right now after Azhar I only have Raaz Rebooted. I am reading a lot of scripts."