'I don’t want to always play the lover or the chilled out guy,' says Emraan Hashmi who plays a tough cop in Mumbai Saga
The label of ‘quintessential lover boy’ no longer excites actor Emraan Hashmi. “I want to surprise the audience. I don’t want to always play the lover or the chilled out guy,” says the actor who plays a cop, for the first time in his career, in the movie Mumbai Saga which releases in theatres today. Emraan is cast as Inspector Vijay Savarkar whose only aim is to capture the underworld don Amartya Rao, played by John Abraham. “It was a welcome change to play a tough cop, something that I have never played ever. He is a no-nonsense character. I didn’t have any reference for it. I stayed true to the script and stuck to the director’s vision. The journey of the character is the most exciting thing about this film,” he enthuses.
The big picture
The film is set between the ’80s and ’90s when Bombay underwent a transformation and became Mumbai, hence the title Mumbai Saga. Emraan says, he has been a fan of filmmaker Sanjay Gupta’s work ever since he watched the director’s 2002 film Kaante. “That movie (referring to Kaante) is still among my top 10 theatrical experiences. I like Sanjay’s style of filmmaking. The larger-than-life characters and his patent style of colour g radation are elements that resonate with my approach to filmmaking. It was fantastic working with him and John. I was the newcomer in their team,” says Emraan, who like the entire crew had to shoot some portions of the movie post lockdown while taking precautions.
“We shot for Shor Machega (the song used for promotions) immediately after the lockdown. It was quite unnerving because the situation was unpredictable, but then I have learnt that chaos is part of life. The inevitable will happen and we just need to be strong to face it,” he says.
Sanjay who has worked with John previously in Zinda and Shootout At Wadala, directed Emraan for the first time. Speaking about the actor, he says, “There is a lot of unexplored talent in the boy. You will see Emraan as a hardnose cop, a dynamic man in this film. The way he has captured the character and owned his style is quite remarkable. The compelling dialogues have also given him an advantage.”
Speaking about his style of filmmaking, Sanjay who is a fan of Bollywood potboilers, and of films written by Salim-Javed, says he totally believes in making movies with dramatic storylines and extraordinary characters. “I can’t compare my films with OTT shows. There’s nothing cinematic about them. My signature style reflects in my films, so if my hero makes an entry, it has to be epic and this has to be showcased on the big screen. However, we need to adapt to change, so in all probability Mumbai Saga too will eventually end up on an OTT platform,” explains the filmmaker.
Speaking about John who plays the lead role, Sanjay says there is no bona fide action hero in India, other than John. “He is the only one. Although we have worked together earlier, in this movie, he has been styled very differently, his lines and dialogues too are quite different from Wadala (referring to Shootout at Wadala). But to be honest, I am against changing his approach on-screen. He is a star and will always be a star,” says the director. The movie also features South Indian superstar Kajal Aggarwal who plays John’s wife. Although Sanjay’s movies always portray actresses in tiny roles, the filmmaker says Kajal’s is significant to the storyline. Now that the film is out in theatres, after multiple delays owing to the pandemic, Sanjay is ready to hit the road on his bike. “I bought a Kawasaki Versys 1000 and I am waiting to go on a road trip to Goa,” he signs off.