Emraan Hashmi, 30, is famous for getting to kiss women in his movies. However the actor’s just had to kiss the apartment of his dreams goodbye, wading into a sticky issue of discrimination against Muslims over housing in India.
But away from the press conferences, Emraan is just the boy next door who kissed economics goodbye long years ago, was a boy with poor self-confidence, learnt classical singing for three years from age seven but gave it up for Michael Jackson “because my friends thought it wasn’t cool”, and stalked and married a playschool teacher.
“After a year in college I realised that money and economics isn’t for me. I wanted to do something with arts or films,” he says. He assisted Vikram Bhatt on films like Kasoor and Raaz, went to acting school, and began with a supporting role in Footpath.
Emraan quips: “Maybe they thought I was such a hopeless assistant that they asked to try my hand at acting.”
That, says his friend Kunal Deshmukh, director of Jannat and Tum Mile, is typical Emraan. “He has no ego issues and is in fact extremely self-critical,” says Deshmukh.
“He knew he didn’t have ‘that’ body and he constantly worked towards it,” says filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, Emraan’s mentor and his father’s cousin, who fondly talks about Emraan’s intensity. “It took him a while to get to the A-list, they never gave his due. So people made their presumptions and tried to marginalise and ridicule him… But he has ripped through the silence.”
The self-doubt vanished soon after Murder, in which he played the lover who comes in from the past and turns a married woman’s life upside down.
Did art imitate life? Did he have a real life affair with a married woman as the grapevine suggests? “Well yes that’s true, I did,” he laughs. “But no point talking about it now, I’m married, so is she.” In real life, the romantic hero is married to a playschool schoolteacher, Parveen, living a very un-filmi life.
“We’ve known each other from college and she used to detest me completely. So I stalked her and made her marry me one day,” Emraan says. “She’s extra ordinary with kids, quite unlike me. We’re trying to see if we can open a school for her.” Occasionally media reports of his affairs create turbulence.
“Life isn’t perfect… She complains but then I tell her, ‘what’s the point of repenting, you knew what you were getting into’,” Emraan says. Parveen, who’s never spoken to the media before, says her husband —called ‘Immi’ by his friends — likes to call himself the most immature 30-year-old.
Emraan says he is selfish about his music. “I like playing the music of my films in my car on a loop. If I like something I exhaust it till people get sick of it,” he says. “ I love noise, be it alternative rock or trance… I find embedded melody in hat people call noise,” says this Phil Collins and Aerosmith fan.
“Emraan is the most uncomplicated person I’ve met. He sees things for what they are and doesn’t mince his words,” Parveen says. “There is a very sensitive side to him, a side that he reveals only to his close friends and family.”
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