How excited are you for ‘Chehre‘?
I’m very excited because we’ve actually planned to release in the theatre for almost a year-and-a-half now. I’m happy that we’re seeing the light of the day. It was a film that was always designed for a theatrical release and now shows are opening up. Yes, there are certain sections that haven’t opened up yet, but there is no best time right now. It’s an ideal time because no one really knows the future of Covid, but we wanted to do it to support the theatre owners and put it out there.
When the script for ‘Chehre’ was narrated to you, what were your thoughts?
I was very intrigued by the material. It’s an interesting court case, but it’s not a court case, it’s a game, and this man is being kind of implicated and the equation between him and Zeddy (Mr Bachchan)–I found the dynamic to be very interesting. You don’t know where the film is headed, and that’s the best part about a good thriller. That guessing game was what hooked me, and also the characterisation. I knew that you needed fantastic performances and then Rumiji told me the star cast and I was like, ‘Wow! I’m in’. Your job is half done when you have a great script and fantastic actors.’ cc, but things sailed by pretty fast and it felt very organic on the set. Things were coming out the way I thought they would.
How was the experience of working with Rumi Jaffrey?
He’s actually done a complete U-turn as far as he makes films. I mean he’s not directed many, but just his vision of the kind of films he’s written through his career have been predominantly comedies. But then, throwing yourself into the thriller genre and doing it so well, that shocked me. He’s equally good with something that’s dark and edgy as he is with light comedies and he’s done a spectacular job not just as a writer but also as a director.
How was your experience of working on the project, and with Amitabh Bachchan?
That was the icing on the cake, and one of the reasons I did the film. This duel with Amit ji on screen, the explosive chemistry between both of us–I realised when I read the script, that it was a big draw to do it. Just seeing Amit ji’s process of how he conducts himself on the set and the dynamics he follows as an actor. As a student of acting, I wanted to learn that. That’s why I was drawn to do it. Even the young actors are exceptionally good. The performances have to be top notch and there was no getting this wrong with such great actors. So, I think that box was ticked.
Rumi Jaffrey said that, ‘You can’t compare Amitabh Bachchan and Emraan Hashmi when It comes to acting, because both of them are very professional and when they are on camera, they are completely different people’. What do you have to say to that?
I think it’s a great compliment. I have admired his professionalism as an actor. I’ve always wanted to inculcate that as an actor in my career and yeah, it’s the best compliment to get and have and that’s what I actually learned from that, that after so many years, he’s always disciplined, he’s always on time, he’s always completely involved with the character rehearsals, he doesn’t leave the film set and I admire that.
Two of your films have been released during this period: ‘Mumbai Saga’ and ‘Chehre’. How does it feel to reach the audience?
It’s a sense of relief because these films were shot towards the end of 2019 and 2020 and then the pandemic hit us and everything turned upside down but, these films were designed to release in the theaters. The way they’ve been shot, the way the production design is, the star cast, everything was designed for theatrical release. I’m just happy that they’re getting that avenue; a lot of films aren’t. They’re taking a short cut to OTT, but we felt that it should come out in theaters because that’s where it was meant to come out first. I’m just very happy that the producers will back these films, also backing the first theatrical releases and then OTT.
So how was your experience when it comes to films releasing on OTT?
To each, their own. I won’t say releasing on OTT first is bad, it’s good. I think producers have their own things to deal with and there is the standing cost of films, there’s interest that’s been mounting since they’ve shot the film. It’s their priority, wherever they feel it’s fit to release first. Some producers would feel that theatrical release is a great avenue, we should put it out there and some people feel OTT would be the best avenue. So there’s nothing like right or wrong, I think each of them is right in their own place.
How was your experience of working with Rhea Chakraborty?
There was a lot of controversy surrounding her after Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. But we shot this much before the controversy happened; I think we hit it off from the word go. She’s a fine actress and I think she’s doing a fantastic job with the character that she’s played. And yeah, it was a joy to work with her. I think it’s very easy to work with her. She’s very professional but still a very chilled out, nice person to work with and very collaborative with scenes–we had some intense scenes together.
Do thrillers excite you?
There’s no mystery about that, most of my films have been thrillers. I’m a sucker for thrillers and anything that’s in that genre. I don’t know, I’m just drawn to it. As a viewer also, I just love watching thrillers. So I don’t know what it is about it, I think it’s the agency experience, the deceptiveness of the material of who’s done at the end of it, that guess work on who’s the thriller or who’s the murderer, the turns and twists through the film, I think that’s what is the most intriguing part of a thriller for me and that’s why I’m a part of it and also as an actor it becomes very difficult to constantly surprise the audience, but then you have unique scripts like ‘chehre’, that come your way and you know that you’re offering the audience something new everytime and you’re upping that bar and that quotient everytime. So I’m happy I’m a part of the film ‘Chehre’
You’re working with Hansal Mehta…
No, that actually got misconstrued. There was a tweet that I had earlier put out but it became such a botched job. I know what people felt, they thought the director was someone else and then they thought that there was this multi-star cast film that’s coming out and got very excited. It was just a matter of 12 hours where they did a trailer poster and then they put it out there. I would love to work with the director. I saw ‘Scam 1992’; they’ve done a great job!
There is a remake of an interesting Malayalam film, ‘Ezra’, which is a supernatural thriller. You might get to see it in October-November.
How excited are you about theatres to open soon?
I’m eagerly waiting for them to open in Maharashtra and for things to get back to normal. Ofcourse, safety comes first. We obviously abide by whatever our honourable CM has commanded. I think he’s doing a fantastic job in our state. So, whenever he feels it’s fit to open up, I think that will be the right time. I’m just happy that whatever films are going to be releasing right now are getting avenue around the country and soon enough, we’ll also see them in theatres in Maharashtra whenever they open up.
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