Emraan Hashmi’s last release, Tony D’Souza’s Azhar, which was based on the controversial life of former Indian cricket captain Mohammed Azharuddin, somewhere failed to live up to the hype. Emraan agrees and goes on to explain what went wrong with the Ekta Kapoor production. “The media clearly questioned whether Azhar was about a fallen hero, who rises from the ashes. Cricketer Azharuddin might have been vindicated by the court and given the clean chit but the perception of the public and his fans is quite different. For most he still appears as a person who sold the team out,” says Emraan adding that the media was also skeptical about the film being a PR exercise, which it wasn’t.
Emraan adds, “Whereas we went with the clear thought that because he has been vindicated by the court, we have to make him a hero eventually. Unfortunately, a major chunk of population didn’t want see him that way because they believed otherwise. They said, ‘Oh this is a gross misinterpretation of what we see as his life’. They regard Azhar as a controversial guy and they see him in a grey zone. The end was something people didn’t expect.” He opines, “So either the film shouldn’t have been made or then it should have been based on how people analyse his life.”
The coming month will see the release of yet another biopic based on the current skipper of the Indian cricket team, MS Dhoni. Directed by Neeraj Pandey is titled M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, it has Sushant Singh Rajput playing the sporting legend. Emraan insists there’s no similarity between the two biopics. “I haven’t followed Dhoni’s life much. I see Azhar and Dhoni as two different individuals. One is perceived as a ‘fallen hero’ and the other is a star and worshipped as an idol. The two can’t be compared. A large section of the audience falls between the age group of 15 – 35. That category of the audience couldn’t relate to Azhar because they have not grown up watching him. The same section of the audience has watched Dhoni play and are familiar with his career. So, somewhere the Dhoni film has an edge.”
Will he be more careful while saying yes to a biopic next time? “You never know. In retrospect people do go wrong. If everyone was that cautious then we’d have only hit films. On paper everything seems right but when the film releases it may not seem so. But that’s beauty of filmmaking. Har film ki apni kundali hoti hai. Some work and some don’t. You can make it as honestly as you can. And then hope that the audience and the trends of the time allow that film to blossom,” he says. Emraan believes in remaining positive and is hopeful about his forthcoming film, Raaz Reboot, the fourth installment of the superhit franchise.
Yami Gautam talks about movies, Kaabil and why she hates the airport spotting!
Yami Gautam’s alleged hook up with Pulkit Samrat has been written about so much that you feel there must be some truth to the story. There can’t be smoke without fire. But Yami shoots it down by calling it dumb rumour. These rumours weren’t floated by them or their PR managers to promote their films. She categorically states that there is no truth. What however can’t be denied is that the tabloids did have a field day linking them up. According to her, being an actor, you learn to man up and take it all on your chin. But same can’t be expected from one’s family. Actor’s kin always have a hard time digesting the salacious news that pops up time and again. Yami laughs and says she’s been blessed with parents who are broadminded. She adds, “They call me up and say ‘We just read something about you but you don’t worry, we recommend you don’t read it. We know everything.’ Ek ne likha 60 ne copy paste kiya. They have accepted the fact that you can’t fight it. It’s best to cover your ears and eyes and keep working.” She reflects that actors have to deal with negativity on a daily basis. That’s why, she asserts, having a supportive family is important because they help keep you grounded.
Hers has been an interesting journey. She comes from a humble background, rooted in strong middle-class values. And it’s those values and her parents strong work ethic which has helped her all along. “You need to be consistent in your effort and passionate about your work. You need to believe that you are here for a serious reason,” she waxes forth her philosophy. She points out that showbiz gives you a wonderful opportunity to explore yourself and that’s what keeps her going.
According to her, she’s at a point right now where she’s still gaining confidence. “I am extremely positive,” she says. “I take out the best from the opportunities I get. I just enjoy whatever I am doing. Every scene you do, give your hundred per cent and don’t think of anything.” She confides she never saw herself as an actor when she was growing up and adds that she was an extremely sensitive child. “If you ordered me to sit in a corner and came back two hours later, I’d still be sitting in that corner,” she giggles. She reminisces about the time she had to recite a poem when she was in 10th std. When she came on stage and saw her teachers and the audience, she forgot everything and went blank. Coming from there, she’s really enjoying the process of expressing herself in new ways. She’s still conscious about her skills, about how much she needs to evolve. She wishes she was a better dancer, for instance. She smiles, “Once, when we were rehearsing a song I told Pulkit that he shouldn’t rehearse because he’s such a fab dancer.” She’s happy about the positive feedback generated by her songs. It’s things like these that perk her up and make her believe she’s going in the right direction. Yami is an outsider but doesn’t see herself as a misfit. “I always saw myself as belonging to this industry right from day one.” She says it’s better to always think you’re a beginner so you feel fresh all the time. “I am still making my way and I don’t think I can say it out loud that I have made it,” she admits candidly.
It’s said you either have to be a networking genius or be born with a tremendous amount of luck to make it in the industry. Or you just need to be born in a film family. Yami doesn’t regret not having a marquee surname. “I’m the happiest person to have the family I come from,” she stresses. “I’m proud to be born as my parent’s daughter. I think it’s an extra high when people love you for what you are. That you’re still making it with your own individuality and personality.” She’s fiercely loyal to her profession, to her industry and wouldn’t like to change anything. She reveals there’s no formula to the wonder of showbiz. “Every successful person has something that makes them special. It could be anything. But you can be sure that person has worked really hard to achieve it. So I don’t think you should give importance to luck or to pedigree,” she asserts.
For her, success doesn’t mean big bucks but acceptance. Her dad has always advised her to listen to her heart. “Mann ki awaaz suno. Your heart knows it all. I think success is giving your profession 100 percent and then people appreciating your efforts and accepting you.” Currently, the paparazzi are placed everywhere and airport spotting has become the latest celebrity game. A fashion subgenre called the ‘airport look’ has sort of evolved, and stars too have helped it along by posting Twitter and Instagram looks of their departure or landing avatars. We talk about this phenomenon and Yami appears amused by it all. Says she, “Yeah, I don’t like this airport culture or to be clicked suddenly. You are expected to be on red carpet everywhere, it’s a bit annoying. But I guess as an actor you have to do that.” She stresses that she won’t be dressed in a certain way because she knows she’d be clicked at the airport. “But that doesn’t mean I will just wake up and leave for the airport,” she clarifies. Actors today don’t have a long shelf life. Yami says she isn’t troubled by such speculations and doesn’t have a plan B. “I can’t decide how many years I’m going to be here. Let the world decide that. There are so many actors like Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif, Madhuri Dixit, who have been around for quite long and still are doing so well,” she asserts. “It all depends on your talent. It all depends on how you see yourself.” She’s happy she’s been signed opposite Hrithik Roshan in Kaabil. It’s really a dream come true for her. “It’s a dream team for any actor to work with because the environment that was created by the director Sanjay Gupta and Hritik Roshan is amazing,” she reveals. “You end up giving more than your hundred per cent because the comfort levels are so high. You forget the time and want to keep on going because you want everything to turn out just perfect.” She’s highly impressed by Hrithik, especially by his perfectionist streak. “He’s one of the most hardworking, passionate and perfectionist actors I have ever worked with.” Finally she gushes. “He always tries to improve on what he is doing and makes sure you do too.” That’s the way to go.
“School was the best time of my life,” – MS Dhoni
I have studied in DAV School in Ranchi. The coach there told me that I should play cricket and from then on I began playing the dame. I give credit to the management of the school where along with studies you could do a lot of things. That’s important in promoting a good school culture. My school encouraged sports and other activities. Sports should not be looked down upon. It should be encouraged in every school.
Cricket is a great leveller. If you are not humble it teaches you to be humble. When you are going through a lean patch, the best bowler of the opposition team ends up bowling to you and the worst fielder of the team will end up diving to catch your shot.
About his career
When I started playing cricket, I never imagined I’d one day be playing for India. It was when I finished India A tour and performed well there, that I realised I’d play for India be it today, tomorrow or after six months. I never played cricket regarding it as my personal milestone. When we used to play cricket in school or in the park, our only motive was to win the game. Milestones can’t decide your future. Had that been the case then Michael Phelps (swimming champ) should have retired after winning five Olympic gold medals.
His life’s mantra
I try to keep it simple. I am somebody who lives in the present. I don’t think too much about the past or future. I learn from my past. You need to have goals for the future but the most important thing is the present. The effect of our present will be seen on our future. You have to seek motivation either from family, friends or people around you. For me, my country is my biggest motivation.
About the movie MS Dhoni – The Untold Story
When director Neeraj Pandey came to me, I told him you can ask whatever you want but beyond that the film should be your own. I never knew what my parents thought of me when I played cricket or what they felt about my journey. I never asked them. But through this film, I got to know that. This was a new angle. It was the most special bit.