Emraan Hashmi goes international with director Danis Tanovic’s next project

“It is freezing and fun,” exclaimed an elated Emraan Hashmi over phone from Berlin. The actor was at the Berlin International film festival where he walked the red carpet with Bosnian filmmaker Danis Tanovic, who has cast him for his next film. Recalling his first brush with Tanovic, Emraan said, “In 2002 when Lagaan was pitted against No Man’s Land for the Oscar, I was just out of college and was rooting for the Aamir Khan film and when it lost I felt terribly sad, even thinking of some conspiracy to sideline an Indian film but when I watched Tanovic No Man’s Land I realised that the Academy was right. Imagine it was his first feature film. It certainly deserved to win. From then on I became an admirer of Tanovic.” “He is somebody who values content. He has worked with the likes of Collin Farrell and then he has given chance to rank newcomers,” added Emraan, who was on the red carpet for Tanovic’s latest film An Episode In the Life Of An Iron Picker, which bagged the jury prize and lead actor Nazif Mujic earned the silver Bear for the best actor at the festival.

Not allowed to speak about the details of the project or the character, Emraan said it came his way courtesy his performance in Shanghai. “I didn’t give any audition. The film proved to be my show reel. Anurag Kashyap, who is involved with the project, recommended my name to Tanovic after watching Shanghai and when Tanovic came to Mumbai he watched some of my other films as well and was satisfied with my range.” He emphasises he is cast for the lead role. “In our industry actors go ga-ga after bagging a four-minute role in an international production but I want to keep it low key until the film gets over.”

Interestingly, his performance in Shanghai has been ignored at most award ceremonies. “The popular awards are pretty questionable. I don’t think I fit in their scheme of things because I don’t like to perform at the ceremonies and perhaps they feel I don’t add visual appeal to their show. However, as far as popularity is concerned my films have been doing good business consistently. Even Shanghai made money.”

Glad to be at an international film festival, Emraan agreed he virtually grew from Footpath. “At first I was told I don’t have the face to be a Hindi film hero. Then when my films worked at the box office, I was made to understand that my success is because of the kisses that I shower on the heroines in my films. Now when I have moved on to pure acting they are denying me awards. Let’s see how long they can afford to ignore me,” challenged Emraan but went on to add that there were some tough contenders this year.

He knows the project will open new opportunities for him on the international circuit but is in no mood to change his style. Up next is Ek Thi Dayan with Kalki Koechlin followed by Ghanchakkar with Vidya Balan. “I think my biggest strength is that I am not insecure. I don’t ask directors to cut other actor’s scenes or lines. I don’t mind playing second fiddle to a female actor as long as I believe I have something to add to the project. I am a star who can act,” Emraan rushed off to oblige the shutterbugs.

Backing content

Parshita Chaudhary, one of the producers of the film, says the idea is to showcase Indian talent to the world. “We are in the 100 th year and it’s time to blend the best of World and Indian cinema. We are shooting for a couple of days in Berlin and then the shoot will shift to Patiala. It is a very India-centric project and we will reveal the title soon.” Parshita’s banner Cinemorph is backing some really offbeat ideas. Cinemorph co-produced Peddlers, which was screened at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and now the banner is coming up with Haramkhor which has Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the lead. Then there is Society Queens. “These are commercially viable ideas. Peddlers is lapped up by Eros and soon you will get to see it in theatres.”