On a Final Recce to the Netherworld with Emraan Hashmi & Elena Fernandes

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What is so good that it can’t be contained in the realm of words? It’s got to be something bad from the lucifer’s style sheet, right? And no one adds glamour to the swamps of the underworld better than our favourite badass, emraan hashmi.

Hi Emraan, how did you like the concept for the shoot?

Oh it was great. Obviously it was a lot of work, but huge pay off because I’ve never done a photo shoot of this nature. More than the shoot, I think the team had prepped so well and the concept itself was so unique that the results, I knew, would be fantastic.

Did you have a good time shooting?

Ya ya… We shot for almost 12 hours. The original plan was to shoot for six-seven hours, but it went up and I didn’t feel a minute more because it was so much fun getting into all these looks. It didn’t feel like work at all.

Did you have to do some homework for it?

I have been a huge fan of all these characters, right from Hannibal Lecter to Aro to the Joker to Heisenberg. So, there was no homework as such because in seeing and loving these characters, investing my time for even something like Breaking Bad that concluded two years back… that was my homework.

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We shot for almost 12 hours. The original plan was to shoot for six-seven hours.

I think you’ve pulled all the looks off very well. But the Joker is just amazing…

Ya, that turned out pretty good. We saw it in the screen and we were trying to get as close to the way Heath Ledger had done it… his body language. And kudos to the makeup, I think it was Amod, he’s done a fantastic job with the makeup. And Suresh has clicked the snaps very well. Even the costume department has done a fantastic job; they got the authentic clothes which Heisenberg cooks the meth in, with the mask and everything. And, of course, the entire team, the credit goes to them. I just had to go there, stand and get shot in front of the camera. (Laughs) That was all the hard work by them.

Which was your favourite look among the four?

I would say, it’s a close tie between Heisenberg and the Joker. Because, I love both these characters and when I saw myself in the mirror it was like a stark resemblance, and I was like ‘Wow! We’ve nailed it!’

Which was the most challenging of them all?

We started working around lunch time. So, the Heisenberg look took the maximum time; getting the skull cap, beard, shaving, all that took a lot of time, because it was the initial thing. It took around two hours. So, yeah… I’d say Heisenberg.

Like these characters everybody has a dark side hidden inside them. What is that one dark corner that you’d like to get rid of?

I wouldn’t want to get rid of any dark corner in my personality. These are only cultural norms, which tell you this is not right. But if you feel it, it has to be right because it comes from within. It’s only the society that imposes itself by saying that everything has to be righteous and good. We as individuals do feel jealousy, rage, anger, etc. all these varied emotions… which is healthy. But you have to understand that the way you act on the emotion is really the deciding factor of the morals and values that you’re caught up on. These characters are the amplified versions of those so-called dark, negative emotions that we feel. We don’t really react like these characters do, but there’s a bit of all these characters in all of us. They are as primitive as it gets.

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I would say, it’s a close tie between Heisenberg and the Joker.

You have been branded as a serial kisser but I am one of those who believe that you’re much more than that as an actor. So, in your acting career if you had an opportunity to play a legendary role, what do you think you would do most justice to and why?

I’ve grown up watching a lot of Martin Scorcese films, so I would say the character of Aviator in the movie because of the way he’s pulled it off. A mad hat character like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Godfather would be another iconic character; and Scarface, Al Pacino. There was a Michael J Fox era in the late 70s and 80s, and I loved watching his films, especially because the kind of films he had done at that age was amazing.

Now that we’ve mentioned kissing, let me stoop to a cliché… among all the women you’ve kissed in the industry who is the best kisser?

(Laughs). God, you’ll get me into trouble man. I’m a married man. I’ll come down to being as diplomatic as possible… everyone has been special. And based on how audiences have reacted to them, I would say Murder was very steamy and also Murder 2 to some extent.

If we ever do a shoot with a similar concept with the most iconic roles from Indian cinema, who would you like to play? Four roles…

Mogambo and Gabbar. For the fun of it I would include something like Shahanshah also because of the costume. Then… I guess, Shahrukh in Diwale…

Would you rather be the keeper of the law or the one who breaks it?

As far as cinema goes I would be the guy who breaks it. I find those characters more interesting. And there are no surprises about it, if you see the characters I’ve played in my career I’ve made it by playing a drug peddler, conman, matchfixer. I’ve played the darkest persona because I find it interesting. Those characters are very layered, so you want to find out what really led them to doing what they do. Also, because I imagine the keeper of the law is slightly uni-dimensional, generally in the films that you’ve seen. They are the righteous characters.

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If you see the characters I’ve played in my career I’ve made it by playing a drug peddler, conman, matchfixer.

If you were to choose a parallel profession for yourself, what would that be?

I think it will be something in video games or graphics, animations and VFX. That’s something I’ve always been interested in. Even before I became an actor, my plan was to fly to The States and do a course in animation and movie effects. It comes from my love for video games and big budget blockbusters with big effects. I’m a big fan of those. So, even to this date if there is a film coming out, from Jungle Book to Star Wars I have to go and watch it in the cinema hall. And I have seen the evolution of gaming all the way from Atari, right down to PS4. So, that’s a profession I would definitely take.

What is the weirdest thing that a fan has done for you?

Oh they do weird things ya… I have been gifted a box of under garments by a woman. It was pretty shocking because she had come to see me in my shoot in Mumbai and it was 2 in the morning. She gave me this gift wrapped box and said that it was a surprise so don’t open it here. I obviously gave it to my driver and opened it at five in the morning… and there it was, her undergarments, I’m sure they were hers. So that was hilarious and at the same time pretty bizarre.

What kind of music do you listen to?

I listen to anything from alternative to electronic. While growing up my huge influence was the kind of music my mother used to listen to. So, Carpenters when I was very young. Then when I was growing up I’d listen to Pink Floyd, Phil Collins, Michael Jackson. And right now, I would say something like Maroon5, Coldplay and a lot of electronic artists like Above and Beyond, Binka, etc. I don’t listen to Jazz and all…

What do you like to do the most when you’re not working?

I like to travel. I don’t have a lot of time off, but when I do, I love to get out of the city and take a trip somewhere.

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Emraan looked exactly like Joker.

Hi Elena, how was the shoot? Did you have fun?

Oh it was amazing. I had the most fun. It was completely different from what I have done before. Emraan looked exactly like Joker. I looked at him and I understood why people were scared of Heath Ledger when he became the Joker, because he looked exactly like him. It was an amazing transformation.

What was your favourite look from among the list?

I loved the Joker look. Hannibal Lecter was really cool as well, but the Joker was not like him at all. It was a whole new thing.

It’s common understanding that women are attracted to bad boys. Why do you think it is so?

I think it’s because of the excitement that goes with being a bad boy. It’s kinda unpredictable so you don’t know what to expect, so that unknowing is kind of exciting. But I am sort of a control freak, and I need to know what’s gonna happen. I don’t like surprises. So, I’ve never really gone for a bad boy. Also, because I’ve studied law, so I wouldn’t like him to break the law or something (laughs).

In a previous interaction with FHM I remember you telling us that you’re scared of going even close to a needle for a tat. How would it be been bitten by a hot vampire?

(Laughs). Yeah, that I am. It would be probably an enjoyable, yet scary experience. So, they put a little blood on me and by then Emraan got into character as well and I could feel a little pin prick from the teeth on my neck. We tried to make it as life like as possible. So, if it was Emraan who was the vampire I think I would manage (laughs).

Have you watched Breaking Bad?

I watched just a few episodes of that. I’ve never seen Game of Thrones or Pulp Fiction. I get into things much later after everyone else. May be a few more years and I’ll watch Pulp Fiction (laughs). I don’t really get time to properly sit down and watch TV series. It’s probably around Christmas break when I know I have a good two week holiday. That’s when I pick up my popular series and stuff, and then I watch it all in one go. I hate to wait for the next episode to come out.

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I loved the Joker look. Hannibal Lecter was really cool as well, but the Joker was not like him at all. It was a whole new thing.

If you were Walter White’s wife, how would you react if you found out that your husband was a meth cook?

I’d take the money and donate it all to my animal welfare charity. I’d ask, “How much money have you earned, and if you’ve hurt any people in the process. Hand over all your money.” And I’ll donate it all to my charity. I won’t even leave a dime. I am hardcore (laughs).

If you were to star in an Indian remake of an iconic badass film, which one would that be and why?

I want to be like James Bond, so I’d like to play the Indian Bond. It would be such a kickass role. And if I can’t be the Indian Bond I’d be the character Jaws from the older films with Roger Moore, the big evil guy. And I’m tall as well, so height would work in my favour. If it was a female lead… umm that’s a trick question. I watched Fan recently, and I loved it so I’d like to do something like that. But from Hollywood maybe something like Fast & Furious. I can’t drive but if I did learn how to drive, I’d like to do things like starting the car without the keys, something kickass like that.

What are the plans now?

I am in the process of reading some scripts, then I’m a judge in a film festival that starts in a week, so I’m pretty excited. I’m also the international supermodel judge for the Elite model contest. In terms of films, I’m reading scripts here in Bollywood, and also in Hollywood. This is why I don’t have time for sitcoms right now (laughs). Also, in Bollywood films I have to really focus on my Hindi. There are many projects in the pipeline and I’m very excited about them.

How good is your understanding of Hindi language?

Whatever we were talking on the sets yesterday (at the photo shoot) I could understand that. But if I need to speak back I’m like hmmm (laughs). So you can’t flag me off in Hindi, I understand it. I have my Hindi teacher, so it’s more like an ongoing process.

One of the first things that someone learns in a new language is the bad words. What are the cuss words that you know in Hindi?

Oh I know the bad words. Ma**ch*d and Bh**ch*d (laughs). I use them on my friends and they find it quite endearing and sweet.

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