Wednesday, Mar 22, 2023

Sharib Hashmi: Constantly Disparaging Bollywood Is Wrong, But We Also Need To Do Things Differently And Work Harder

Sharib Hashmi: Constantly Disparaging Bollywood Is Wrong, But We Also Need To Do Things Differently And Work Harder

With ‘Mission Majnu’ and ‘Shiv Shastri Balboa’ already becoming popular this year, Sharib Hashmi is a happy man. He talks about his journey, his career and his upcoming projects.

Sharib Hashmi
Sharib Hashmi Instagram

Sharib Hashmi has been consistently doing some great work on OTT. Whether it’s ‘The Family Man’ or ‘Asur’ or ‘Mission Majnu’ he has been exceptional in all of them. The actor has been one of the most talked about supporting artists in recent times.

Talking to Prateek Sur, Sharib Hashmi opens up about his recent projects, how OTT revived his career, why Bollywood films aren’t working in today’s time, and how he wishes to direct a film soon. He also gives a hint about when we can see ‘The Family Man 3’. Excerpts from the chat:

You’ve been doing projects back-to-back. What are those tick boxes that you have before you select a certain script?

Answer lies in question itself. Script itself is the biggest reason why I take up a project. The Has to excite me. I read it as an audience it should engage me as a audience & what my character is contributing to the story. The direct & the entire team comes after this

You began your career as a leading man with ‘Filmistaan’, but you’ve very calmly accepted yourself as a supporting actor in today’s times. Do you not envy wanting to do lead roles?

I actually started with ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ wherein I was a supporting character. I am doing films wherein I am the main lead. I dont look at the character as a supporting character or main lead, what excites me is the potential that character provides me to perform. I won’t hesitate playing a potential role even its for just one scene. Scene length or the character dosen’t matter to me. I have done a one scene part in ‘Scam: 1992’ and I got a lot of appreciation for it. Even in ‘The Family man’, I played supporting character and ‘The Family Man’ actually changed my life. I have always kept it open. If I would have kept options narrow I wouldn’t have been at the heights I am standing now.

Despite the success of initial projects like ‘Filmistaan’ and ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, were projects coming up to you? Or did you face a tough time till before OTT boom happened in India?

Yes, I actually faced tough times post ‘Filmistaan’. I had in fact thought post ‘Filmistaan’ things would become easy and I may get big offers from big production houses. I did sign a few films as well but some of them were shelved, some were stuck midway. Even independent films were ready but were not able to find buyers. Time just kept flying and post ‘Filmistaan’ for 3 years I didnt do anything that could grab the eye of audience and then ‘The Family Man’ happened and things were back to track.

Has OTT been a big part of your career revival in the last few years?

After ‘The Family Man’, I did get opportunity in ‘Asur’ which did really well then ‘Scam: 1992’ and ‘Great Indian Murder’. I had the opportunity to select and do the characters that I really wanted and felt like doing. So yes, OTT absolutely brought drastic change in my life and my career. The OTT boom really helped me and I really can't thank enough Raj & DK and Mukesh Chhabra for giving me JK (Character in ‘The Family Man 2’). I really think what I would have done if projects like ‘The Family Man’ would have not happened.

On OTT, do you think actor or actresses who were probably not getting enough work from the mainstream filmmakers are finally getting their due, and getting to play great characters?

Yeah! I think now everybody is getting the chance. Avenues are open and OTT has definitely given opportunities not just to actors, but to everybody. All the creative people they’ve been given great platform and filmmakers want to tell different stories. Even for writers who want to write something different and completely out of the box. So, everybody is able to do what they really wanted to do and the audience has also become very receptive. They are accepting very different and unconventional projects. Yes, I think it has really changed things and definitely for the better.

You’re one of the best character artistes we have in today’s times. Do you get to play more diverse characters in today’s times than what you were getting say 10 years back?

Actually 10 years back I wasn't getting anything but ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, ‘Filmistaan’ were also a different part which I did. I also did ‘Phullu’, which was a very independent film and I played a main lead in that and it was a very different character. I have been very lucky that I got to play diverse roles to perform. If you see my character in ‘Vikram Veda’ was completely different from whatever I had done in the past like ‘Mission Majnu’ or ‘Great Indian Murder’. I had very different character. Even in my forthcoming movies you will see me in very different avatars and in all the films that are going to be released this year. So, I am actually in a very happy phase that I am getting to play different kind of emotions. I am working with filmmakers that were in my bucket list. I am really thankful to God for giving me such opportunities.

When you were not getting that good work in films, was Television never an option? Did you never want to do television so as to just earn money and side by side continue auditioning for films?

Television never excited me, but in this industry, one should never say no for anything. Nothing interesting came my way through television, so I never did anything in Television. I never wanted to do anything just for the sake of money. I hope I do television someday because the reach television has in India this day is unparalleled. Yes, I never looked for television but I dont mind doing television as long as I am offered something that really excites me.

Throughout these many years, ‘Bigg Boss’ has been one of the biggest shows. Have you ever been approached by ‘Bigg Boss’? If yes, why didn’t you pick it?

No, I have never been approached for ‘Bigg Boss’. I have seen many seasons of ‘Bigg Boss’. So, it’s a good entertaining show.

Would you ever say yes to ‘Bigg Boss’, if they approached you to be a contestant?

I dont see myself in ‘Bigg Boss’ as a participant as I won’t be able to survive for a day.

On your personal level, you also own a production house. What are those check boxes which need to be ticked before you take up any project for production under your production house?

We are not currently working on any projects because we have not been active in that area since the release of Ram Singh Charlie. If a project arises in that area in the future, however, we may consider it. For the time being, we are not currently considering it.

You also write a lot of scripts. Do you love to write more or act more?

Acting is my first love so, definitely prefer acting over writing. Acting is what I live for, but I also want to write something soon and I want to direct it myself.

As you write as well, so it would correct to ask you, what do you think is going amiss in today’s scripts of Bollywood films? Why are a majority of them not working at the box office?

I'm at a loss of words as to why scripts aren't working. I find it very challenging to respond to your question. In actuality, no one knows. If you knew the cause, you might decide against making the movie because no one wants to spend money on a flop film. Every filmmaker wants their work to be profitable, but many people are afraid of the current situation. I don't know, but I think we should re-evaluate the way we produce movies, consider the entire procedure, including the budget and the film. Regarding the writers, I believe they should exercise original thought. I believe that more time needs to be spent on the scripts because they serve as the foundation for any movie, and if the foundation is solid, risks should be reduced.

At the same time however films from the south or Marathi cinema are somehow doing well?

Ahh, I believe they are producing blockbuster movies. This is been the case for a while now. We produce 100 of films a year but only a few of them are ever talked about. The same is true about south film industry, where they also produce a large number of movies, but we only know about a small number of those that did well. This means that constantly disparaging Bollywood is wrong, but we also need to do things differently, need to work harder and, as far as the South is concerned, I adore Malayalam cinema. Every Malayalam film I've ever seen has amazing content. Most recently, I watched ‘Jai Jai’, which I've already seen twice and will watch again.

Meanwhile your film on OTT, ‘Mission Majnu’ has done extremely well, and people are loving it. Do you think because audiences are getting to see good films like ‘Mission Majnu’ on OTT, they’re not ready to go to theatres to watch films? As in, they’re waiting for a few more days and watching the same movie at the comfort of their homes.

I dont think that this is the reason behind success of ‘Mission Majnu’. If that was the case ‘Pathaan’ wouldn't have worked the way it did at box-office. Audience have been repeatedly watching ‘Pathaan’ in theatres. Films needs to be that compelling for the audience to experience watching the film in a theatre in a complete dark room with complete strangers.

Your character in ‘Shiv Shastri Balboa’ has also been praised a lot. You’ll shot the movie amidst the pandemic. Was it challenging to shoot then?

We were following all the guide lines amidst the shoot during pandemic in August 2021. Though we had some limitations it wasn’t challenging since we had very few characters in film and it was a very small crew.

Any recent film or show that you saw and felt, I wish I was a part of this?

I wish I was a part of Malayalam film ‘Jai Jai Hai’. I wish I was part of ‘Farzi’. I loved these. Also, I wished I was a part of ‘Monica Oh My Darling’, it was like my kind of film. Even if Vasant Bala had called be just for a small scene, I would have been happy to do that.

Every actor has some regrets. Are there any films or projects that you regret picking up or something that you regret letting go?

Yes, I do regret over some films but I choose not to name them.

What’s the update on ‘The Family Man 3’? Are we seeing it this year?

Shoot for ‘The Family Man 3’ has not yet been started so it’s going to take time. I haven't received any update on it. Maybe we’ll definitely start shooting this year end.

Even ‘Asur 2’ has been in the making for a really long time. What’s causing the delay?

I have no clue about ‘Asur 2’ since I died in the first season. So, I am not a part of season 2. I wish I was a part because I loved working on ‘Asur’ and loved working with Arshad Sir, Barun Sobti, Riddhi Dogra, etc.

What next can we see you in?

My upcoming films include ‘Afwaah’ written by Sudhir Mishra. I shall be working with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Bhumi Pednekar and Sumit Riyaz. Another film is ‘Rumi Ki Sharafat’ directed by Prashant Bhavya, produced by Maddock and the cast includes Radhika Madan and Varun Sharma. I am also working on another film with Vicky Kaushal and Sara Ali Khan directed by Laxman Utekar and I am working for a upcoming series as well.