Daring to be different has enabled Emraan Hashmi to carve out his own niche in Indian cinema.
The trendsetting actor has delivered experimental films that have not only introduced new genres, but given new shades to the traditional leading man in Bollywood. He is exploring new territory again in this week’s big Bollywood release Mr X, which revolves around a man with the power of invisibility who is hell bent on revenge.
Eastern Eye caught up with Emraan to find out more about Mr X, his desire to be different and more.
You remain the most unpredictable leading man in the industry at the moment. How are you choosing your films?
It’s pretty much a mixed bag. I’ve tried different kind of characters and genres. There is a tradition in Bollywood where almost 90 per cent of actors work in so-called ‘safe’ films that are standard and episodic. I’ve always tried to take risks every year and sign films that would be experimental or out of the box. I do cinema that is mainstream yet can also be called experimental.
Were you not concerned that Mr X was too risky even for you?
(Smiles) I wouldn’t say it was just a risky, experimental film. It has a lot of masala in terms of the traditional mainstream trappings, but yes, the concept of invisibility hasn’t been explored like this in recent times. There was Mr India in the 1980s, which was a big success. Mr X is pretty entertaining as far as the revenge saga goes. It’s about a man who relentlessly goes after guys who have wronged him, which is your traditional narrative. But it’s done in a new way because he can become invisible. That becomes a weakness in a way and also enhances him as a superpower.
Would you agree he is a dark superhero?
He is, but I wouldn’t put him in a superhero category yet. It is a very personal motive he has and not a selfless act to save humanity. Yes, he has a superpower, but he has questionable morals. It’s a cold way in which he is bringing these people down. You know how Batman would perhaps have a problem putting a bullet into the head of the Joker, but Mr X wouldn’t have a problem at all. So it might be a prelude to a superhero film in the second part, but at the moment he is not a traditional superhero.
Were you exploring your dark side again?
Yes, I think that really comes out with the emotions of the character. In a situation where someone has wronged you, there have always been these dark negative emotions. We have all been through times like this. How far can we go and how can we redeem ourselves with what we have done? Mr X goes through these things.
The special effects are amazing. How much did you enjoy filming them?
The special effects are very good. I didn’t know how they would pull it off. We had me shooting sometimes in a green suit. I would shoot the entire scene and then on the computer, they would erase me and add the effect of invisibility. It is pretty slick the way in which they have done it. I didn’t know how it would turn out or how it would look. I saw the film a few days ago and it looks great.
Do you have a favourite moment in the movie?
My favourite moment would be the climax. I can’t really give away what happens, but that would be my favourite.
You are an actor who is always setting trends. Are you hoping to do the same with Mr X?
Yes, hopefully. We have tried to do something new and ambitious with this film, but it’s risky at the same time. We are just hoping that people follow suit by making more 3D and science fiction films with this kind of narrative.
You seem to be Mr Ice Cool, but do you ever get nervous before the release of a film?
I do. I get anxious before the release of every film, but not so much. For me, you have put your heart and soul into a film, and then it is in the public domain. They may either choose to praise it or rip it up. You get an idea within a few days of release, but there’s nothing you can do about it. So there is no point in being too anxious beyond a point.
Finally, what inspires you as an actor today?
My inspiration is the script, the characters I am playing and the desire to make them as real as I possibly can. Nothing inspires me more than a good script along with a writer and director who have the passion to make a film out of that.
MR X is in cinemas now.