Mumbai: “Papa, papa,” little boy Ayaan calls out shrilly. “Bas do minute beta,” replies doting dad Emraan Hashmi. Fortunately, he was able to converse with us for more than just two minutes. Besides, the 33-year-old actor has no starry airs and no ready lines.

His career itself has never been cliched. Launched by the Bhatt brothers nearly a decade ago, Emraan has been labelled everything from a serial kisser to a poor man’s hero. Today he is known as a bankable star.
However, in his own words, Emraan finds stardom a heavy baggage to lug. He talks about why he’s picking up serious roles, his problem with perfection and his penchant for puckering up:

Would you say you’ve arrived finally?

No, I think I ‘arrived’ a long time back. Just that I’m getting appreciated now for better reasons.

So, are you going the Aamir Khan way… being a perfectionist and all?

I strive for everything but perfection. I don’t believe there’s something called a perfect actor, like there’s no perfect human. I remain tough on myself to keep my performance real — not too rehearsed. Flaws are fundamental part of an actor and I prefer to keep it that way.

For the first time, you sent your parents for the screening of your latest film, how was their reaction?

They loved it. And by that I mean they liked the entire film, not just my performance.

Weren’t you having doubts in the beginning when the role demanded you to spot a paunch, stained teeth and appear far from cool?

Before I signed up for a film, I thought about my audience and wondered whether I’m providing them only one kind of flavour. After much deliberation, I decided I’ve got to do something drastically different this time. Having said that, I guess I needed this film more than the other way around. It was high time I changed my onscreen persona.

So should we say that a serial kisser is gone and a serious actor has taken his place?

No, I wouldn’t say that. I haven’t done kissing yet! (laughs) In any case, people decide for themselves what they want to watch so I’d want both of my personas to be available. I don’t wish to restrain myself by getting stuck in one mentality.

What kind of reaction were you expecting from the audiences as the well as critics towards your performance?

Well, I knew that we were banking on a new kind of cinema and it takes a lot of balls to create such a film. No wonder there’s someone like Dibakar at the helm directing us and guiding the project. So, to be very candid, I was looking forward to positive feedback.


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