Actor Sharib Hashmi is gearing up for the release of Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan starrer Vikram Vedha, the Hindi remake of Tamil neo-noir actioner of the same name that released in 2017. While Hashmi has become a popular name today with acclaimed web projects like Pagglait (2021), The Family Man and Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story in oeuvre, there was a time when he witnessed a lull in his career and went through a period of financial crunch.
In an exclusive interaction with News18, he says that over the years, he has learnt to navigate through the highs and the abysses and has emerged as a resilient artiste. “I’m generally a very positive-minded guy. I try to see things from through the lens of optimism. When you enter the film industry and start pursuing acting as a career, you develop a thick skin over time because you face rejection on a daily basis and not everyone can endure that,” Hashmi shares.
But he feels happy to always have had a circle of loving family members and close friends, who helped him from falling into a dark pit. “You hear people telling you in your face that you aren’t good enough for a part. These things can continuously play on your mind and can prove to be dangerous. It’s important to be surrounded by positive people who can encourage and support you and take care of you, both financially and emotionally. That’s the only way you can come out of low phases,” elaborates the 46-year-old.
The Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012) actor has often spoken about taking up projects just to provide a livelihood to his family despite not being creatively satisfied with them. Today, however, a lot has changed. He believes that a steady influx of money is paramount and he has no qualms in rejecting offers which don’t match up to what he deserves.
“I’ve turned down projects where I wasn’t happy with the pay. Money is very important but if a project is really good and I want to do it, then I might compromise on the financial side of it. The thing is there has to be some motivation to do a project, either in terms of money or creativity,” he candidly tells us.
Much like many others, Hashmi credits the positive turn in his career to the boom of the OTT space. “Post The Family Man, things started moving rapidly and people recollected that I’m ‘the Filmistaan waala actor’. Then Asur and Scam 1992 happened. The second season of The Family Man further boosted my career. I’m really thankful that it happened,” he says and adds, “I was going through a low phase prior to that. I can’t thank Raj, DK (director duo) and Mukesh Chhabra (casting director) enough. But no matter how successful or critically acclaimed projects I do, Filmistaan will always remain the closest to my heart. Nothing that replace it.”
And with films like Tarla, Sharmaji Ki Beti, Mission Majnu, Shiv Shastri Balboa and Afwaa in his kitty, Hashmi feels thankful for the films coming his way today. He states, “Fortunately, the projects I’ve signed and the ones I’m shooting for right now are very different from what I’ve done in the past and there’s enough meat for me to chew on when it comes to the characters I play in them. The things I said no to, maybe because of the pay or otherwise, were probably not meant to happen and I don’t regret not doing them.”
With a bevy of projects being offered today, has saying no to them become easier? “It’s very difficult. Lekin humne bhi toh itne saal itne na suna hai (laughs)! I’ve to gather a lot of courage to say no to people who matter. But you’ve to consider what’s best for you in a given situation. You’ve to look out for yourself,” he asserts.
Though he used to seek out commercial visibility in the past, the lack of it doesn’t bother him anymore. The actor, who grabbed the attention of the industry for the first time with Filmistaan (2012), explains, “Thanks to OTT, that isn’t there. Moreover, I’m not doing films where I’m the main lead, so I don’t feel the pressure in terms of commercial viability or box office. If a project ticks all the right boxes that I’ve in my head, then I do it. Commercial visibility doesn’t matter to me as long as I’m working with people I want to, playing the kind of characters I always wanted to and being paid what I’m asking for.”
But Hashmi’s quick to add that it’s important for him to have his films get ‘a proper release’ unlike many which never saw the light of the day in the initial years of his career. “After Filmistaan, I did a few films which were low-budget independent productions. Most of these indie filmmakers don’t belong to the industry and while they can make a good film, they often don’t have the money to release them. But we did put in a lot of hard work throughout the making of these films. When they didn’t release, it was very disheartening. So, it’s important for me to see who’s producing a film so that they can take it to the right audience. The rest depends on its destiny and merit and no one has any control over these things,” says the actor, who was last seen in Dhaakad.