Actor Emraan Hashmi may have started as a romantic star, known for his ‘kissing’ exploits on screen. However, his filmography also boasts of several horror films. The actor shared that it was the love towards the genre that got him to take up all the spooky films. “I probably understood the genre”, he said. Emraan is now looking forward to the release of horror film Dybbuk that’s set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video on Friday. Also starring Nikita Dutta, the Jay K directorial is a remake of Malayalam film Ezra.
Sharing that it is the first Hindi film with a Hebrew title, Emraan, in an exclusive chat with indianexpress.com, said, “It is an unusual title which means ghost and is perfect as it defines our film. We have done away with the supernatural cliches which we see in horror films. It is an extremely unpredictable film. I had watched the original three years back and loved it. It really left me intrigued and what Jay had done with placing the world of horror and adding the Jews’ beliefs and culture. Honestly, I did not even know about it, and you would be surprised that there actually exists a dybbuk box. So it’s not completely fiction.”
A fan of the horror genre, the actor mentioned that while there is potential and talent in Bollywood, not many filmmakers have an understanding of horror. “They still like to dabble with cliches,” he said, adding that “the OTT trend is creating newer opportunities as people are not dependent on theatrical viewing” and more people can explore it. Emraan further shared that Dybbuk will break the mould, and he feels there is a huge scope in the future.
The actor has not only had encounters with the supernatural on-screen. He narrated a tale from his childhood, where he witnessed an exorcism that left him shaken.
“I cannot link it with supernatural as there are somethings which have no explanation. My mother followed Christianity and would regularly take me to the church. When I was about seven-eight, we had gone for a sermon, and an exorcism was happening in there. I didn’t see but heard it, and I don’t know if it was a man or a woman. However, at that age, or any age, it was pretty much the most frightening thing,” Emraan said.
He further shared that he is quite a rational person, but he feels it would be arrogant on his part to say that the supernatural cannot exist. The actor even added that as per statistics, 18 per cent of Americans have seen or felt something unnatural around them. Emraan shared that even in Bollywood there are studios that are said to be haunted, and he even heard a story of a dancer in Mukesh Mills being possessed during a shoot.
A fan of films like Exorcist, Omen and Poltergeist, the horror geek revealed that after watching them, he became petrified of ravens and dogs as a kid. He also started having an issue with sleeping. “The thought of my bed rattling or levitating still comes to my mind. And that happens because of my childhood experiences. I would even look for the triple six mark on my scalp as a kid,” Emraan shared with a laugh, adding that he still keeps a taviz (amulet) with him, not particularly for spirits, but as a protective shield.
While the horror genre continues to be one of the most loved ones, a section of the audience also term it regressive. On being asked about the same, Emraan Hashmi shot back, “What do you mean by regressive? To shun the unknown? Well, you can call it bogus as you have not seen a ghost but questioning their existence is wrong. We don’t know what happens after death, or is there another world. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It’s not there in the domain of our consciousness.”
The actor agrees that back in the day, there were films that were regressive as they used the ‘jump scare’ tactics. “It was common in the day, especially with Ramsay films that had monsters as ghosts. It was great for kids growing up, but when you look back, it’s a little laughable. However, that was the trend, and as I mentioned, we haven’t dabbled with horror much and should do a lot more,” concluded Emraan.
Dybbuk will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on October 29.