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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Emraan Hashmi's film The Body which released last Thursday is a thriller that has us buzzing. It is the official remake of the Spanish thriller by the same name directed by Oriol Paulo in 2012.
Over his vast career Hashmi has strayed away from typical commercial Bollywood films. He has carefully carved a niche for himself and his brand stands out with clarity. This, he says, was part by luck and part by design.
Best known for his role in Murder (2004), Jannat (2008) and Hamari Adhuri Kahani (2015), his latest, The Body, which also stars Rishi Kapoor and Sobhita Dhulipala, is not a typical whodunit.
The story revolves around the body of a powerful businesswoman that goes missing from the morgue. The prime suspect in the investigation turns out to be her husband, played by Hashmi. During a phone conversation the actor told City Times, "Questions arise such as where the body has gone, was the wife dead at all, is it a ghost?!"
The Bollywood star, whose Netflix Original series Bard of Blood premiered recently, talks about The Body, working with Rishi Kapoor and his upcoming projects.
Can you tell us a bit about the character you play in The Body?
The film is based on the original Spanish work which was a big hit there. And it's the story of a body of a woman that goes missing from a morgue, where it has been stored for the night. The police investigation begins where the prime suspect is the husband. The lead investigating officer has reached the conclusion that the husband would benefit from her death. Nobody knows why the body disappeared. So therein lies the story. I'm playing the husband of the deceased women. Questions arise such as where the body has gone, was the wife dead at all, is it a ghost?!
How similar is it to the original Spanish version?
We've added elements like songs and a few nuances have been changed but keeping the core, screenplay, story and everything intact. Not much has been changed. It's a tried and tested formula so we didn't want to tinker around with it much.
Is it a typical whodunit?
Not really, a typical whodunit story would be a person who commits a murder while one of the characters has done it. But here it's obvious that the husband has killed the wife. But the question is where is the wife, where did her body disappear? So it's not a traditional whodunit.
How does The Body stand out from previous thrillers?
I think its screenplay and the way the story has been treated, it's very very different from stuff that I have done. And we've had a director who has an astute understanding of the genre. He made the original Drishyam down south and I think he's made a fantastic film.
How was the experience working with Rishi Kapoor?
He was great! I think he's a fine actor. The experience of working with someone who's so naturalistic, who's worked for four decades and is still so passionate about his job and his work is quite commendable. It's great to have someone with that kind of acumen and understanding of movies.
In your career you have done unique movies and strayed away from typically commercial Bollywood roles. Was that an intentional move on your part?
I think it was intentional, a bit was brought by design but also stuff that came my way. I think with films people realised that my kind of cinema is a little different from typical commercial pot boilers. I don't jump into slapstick comedy or one of those insane action films. That doesn't really go down very well with my sensibility. But having said that I think the films were different, path breaking and box office sort of movies and that made up my brand and got synonymous with my brand so I got more offers that way.
In a previous interview you mentioned that you 'carved a niche' for yourself in the industry. How did you do that?
Initially it wasn't by design. Early on, the film is choosing you. People see that you work in this space and similar scripts come your way, but are treated differently. And then you make choices and people see that you're versatile and can do different kinds of roles and they offer you different subjects and stories. And yes, I've built it around a little bit by design and a little bit by luck. A lot of hard work (has gone in) while constantly striving to give the audience something fresh every time.
You'll be working with Amitabh Bachchan in Chehre. Can you tell us a bit about that?
I can't really give out too much about the subject matter but it's a good one. I'm actually shooting for it right now and completing it by December 25. It's releasing on April 24. I'm excited to work with Mr. Bachchan and looking forward to hearing the response for that one. Post that there's another film called Mumbai Saga which is releasing in July.
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