Emraan Hashmi

2006 was an eventful year for Emraan Hashmi. Though he had three releases to his name (GOOD BOY BAD BOY, THE TRAIN, AWARAPAN), only AWARAPAN worked in his favor as it brought him immense critical acclaim. Close to a year after his last release, Emraan gets ready with his latest film JANNAT, yet again with Mahesh Bhatt and Mukesh Bhatt. Joginder Tuteja catches up with the young man to know more about his first release of 2008 – JANNAT.Q: What character do you potray in JANNAT?

A: The character I play in JANNAT has a whacky and mischievous shades. It is an author backed role. How my character changes from being a street side gambler to that of a man who operates at an international platform brings a completely diverse state of affairs. It is an exciting journey for him in quest of JANNAT as he gets sucked deeper and deeper into the world of cricket.

Q: JANNAT has a lot going along with it – match fixing, betting, Bob Woolmer episode, Azhar and Jadeja scandals. Is there anything more as well?

A: See, references to number of elements that you mention are there in the film though we are not naming any people. JANNAT is not a docu-drama where we start showing the events the way they happened. We are not picking up stars and icons and making their life public. We are here to tell a tale which would certainly have fictional elements as well while keeping the commercial prospects of the film in mind.

Q: Isn’t there any fear of censors or any other body?

A: I don’t think that censors would have any objections to JANNAT. As I said, we are not picking up people at all. We are talking about things which have actually happened, have been talked about and are generic in nature. Everyone knows to a good extent what really had transpired.

Q: This means JANNAT would boast of yet another shock-fest from the house of Bhatts?

A: Oh, absolutely, you can expect shock value from JANNAT. The good part about the film is that the shock value of the subject is quite relevant even today. In fact if we look closely, in the months gone by, sports have been glorified in Bollywood cinema. CHAK DE INDIA is a living example. Here the world of cricket and what happens beneath will be the focal point of the movie. The film will also bring to light other issues around cricket. (Laughs) Thankfully the post World Cup slump period is over and cricket is back to riding high with India’s win over Australia.

Q: With the film having cricket as a backdrop, what part does a leading lady have to play?

A: In building the character graph of the protagonist, it is essential to showcase the relationships he has shared in his life. Why just this film, even if you look at a film which belongs to the horror genre, it is but natural to have a basic premise of a man-woman relationship. There is no point getting away from that. In the film too, the girl plays an important role in the protagonist’s journey in the quest for JANNAT. Newcomer Sonal Chauhan is being launched with JANNAT and she has done a very good job in the film.

Q: Other than Sonal Chauhan, even film’s director Kunal Deshmukh is a newcomer. How was the experience being a veteran on the sets?

A: This may be Kunal’s first film as an independent director but he is not a novice. He has assisted Mohit Suri in 3-4 films. He has done a phenomenal job in the film and that pretty much comes from the fact that he is a die hard cricket fanatic. He knows in and out about the film’s subject and has done a thorough research. There was a certain look he wanted to give to the film and I am proud to see the way he has accomplished that.

Q: How exactly?

A: Well, he has got a love story imbibed well into the script even as the film has a basic wallpaper of cricket. Even though he is a debutant director, you hardly get a feel that he is handling a project for the first time. For certain projects you get a feel that things are going quite right. Positive vibes get generated, you know. JANNAT is one of those projects.

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