Emraan Hashmi is finally back after a hiatus. Battling a bunch of family issues, the actor returns to the screens reinvigorated with the thrilling Raja Natwarlal. When we caught up with Emraan on the sets of the film, the actor spoke candidly about his character, the film and how it isn’t a big deal for younger actors to be bold on screen. Check out Koimoi’s exclusive interview with Hashmi right here:

Q. Tell us about your film Raja Natwarlal


He calls himself a fraud. Conman would be too affluent a term for him. He comes from the streets and he says ‘Main Toh Char Sau Beesi Karta Hoon’. He is a fraud and a scamster basically. He starts off with small scams because he is essentially from the streets and that eventually leads him to the bigger and more elaborate scams. A bigger scams requires probably months or even years of planning. He is a small time fraudster who wants to become a master of the long game or long con. It is a departure from con. Con will go into a Bollywood film trying to do an Ocean’s 11 or Ocean’s 12. It’s essentially a dramatic film laced with revenge tale. It’s a story of David versus Goliath and how a small time fraudster taken a mafia don 100 times his size. This isn’t a docu drama on frauds but more of a thriller!

Emraan Hashmi in a still from movie 'Raja Natwarlal'
Emraan Hashmi in a still from movie ‘Raja Natwarlal’

Q. After critical acclaim, is this a conscious effort to shift towards what your fans like seeing you in?
See, every film has its own range. A critically appreciated film will have 1/3rd or half the box office of a commercial film. I am willing to do those and I am still going to do this. But the trade is very myopic. A film is always looked at with the view that it hasn’t touched the numbers of commercial box office success. I am okay. I will still do those kind of films. Coming back to what is is mainstream commercial box office stuff, Raja Natwarlal by design is that. It’s got drama, songs, hero versus villains,kisses, a dysfunctional guy! I don’t know why I keep getting those roles; it’s probably written on my face. Kunal always writes such roles for me.

Q. The film’s working title was Shaatir. Why was the name changed?
We shot half the film with that title actually. But when we were shooting for this film and the character was evolving, we realized it was a very colorful character. Shaatir is a very dark name. It is a very dramatic film but we needed a name that would give a certain color to the film. He is witty, charming, funny and throws tongue-in-cheek dialogues and yet the film is its dramatic moments has its share of thrill. We felt Raja Natwarlal was a more apt title for the film. Also, he aspires to be Natwarlal so that would be more befitting.

Q. Are you playing an intense, brooding, grey character in the film?
It is grey but not overtly so. Raja is endearing and charming! He is robinhood of frauds. But when you see the trailer of the film that is releasing thsi 18th, you’ll realize that it is a very strong revenge drama. It is for that revenge that he decides on being ambitious enough as a fraudster to plan out the biggest scam of his life. He wants to keep alive the villain and kill him breath by breath. It will be too easy to kill him. He wants to strip him off everything!

Q. It has been 10 years since Murder, do you think you have undergone an image transition since then.
My image is the one people know about! Besides that I do a film like Shanghai once in a while. See every actor has an image and label, but as a performer it is essential that you stretch your talent. Think creatively and come out complacency zone. We all know the terrain of commercial films and we must stumble into risky things too in our careers sometimes!

Q. You are all set to work again with Vidya in ‘Hamari Adhuri Kahaani‘. How eager are you for it?
When The Dirty Picture released, our pairing was quite liked. There was one scene between Silk and Abraham in the pre climax. Besides that there was no scene between them. Last scene somehow defined their romance and people felt it was once of the best romantic scenes ever shot. In Ghanchakkar we just kept fighting but now there will be a lot of scope for romance, drama and intensity. So it will be great I guess.

Q. You were very unabashed about being bold on screen but the younger actors don’t make such a big deal of on screen boldness. What’s your take on that?
When I had started off, it was spooky for all of us. We used to be so scared about how the film will be accepted. Eventually it was. But for the youngsters, on screen kissing has even lost any shock value. It has very easily become a part of the script and screenplay. If you have to show love, romance or intimacy on screen, it comes naturally. Trying to outdo with kisses in films is ridiculous.

Q. Do you ever take calls on who is cast opposite you?
These are all creative decisions and concern the producer-director of the film. I am only concerned about the script and the character. Sometimes the director asks for my feedback but I refrain from recommendations like I want a particular person and all. For Raja Natwarlal, Kunal saw Humaima’s screen test. Kunal showed me the test and I think she was brilliant. She sets the screen ablaze and renders persona and charisma on screen. She is a great actor.

Q After a series of experimental films, are you donning back your regular space for your fans?
Yes absolutely. I think it is very important to keep your fans happy with a film that has all the Bollywood trappings. I was missing popular songs, the nice and typical hero-villain combat, drama, romance on screen. I won’t say kisses, my wife will kill me (laughs).

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