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Friday, September 22, 2023

Bard Of Blood: Emraan Hashmi Embarks on Netflix Mission

Bard of Blood is special as it is the first time we will see Red Chillies Entertainment produce a Netflix original series, in which Emraan Hashmi makes his digital debut.

Emraan has been seen in various avatars… But this is his first endeavour at playing a spy for a series which is an adaptation of Bilal Siddiqui’s best-selling novel of the same name.

The story is about four Indian intelligence officers belonging to the Indian Intelligence Wing (IIW) who are compromised before they can relay an important piece of information to India.

They get captured and are about to be decapitated so the stakes are high.

Back in India, the intelligence veteran Sadiq Sheikh, the handler of the captured agents, realizes he must spearhead a clandestine mission to rescue his men.

He reaches out to a former spy and now professor of Shakespeare, Kabir Anand (Emraan) – a man who knows the terrain and politics of Balochistan inside out.

Kabir must connect the dots from the cryptic information that he has at his disposal.

The only way for Kabir to get the answers is to embark upon a dangerous journey and complete unfinished business.

Emraan Hashmi talks to Filme Shilmy ahead of the series’ streaming on 27th September. 

Out of the 18 years, you’ve completed in the industry, what makes Bard of Blood so special for you?

I’ve always done different genre and characters but I always wanted to play a spy. I’ve been a big fan of the Bond and Mission Impossible series.

In India, I think we’ve had a handful of spy films – like Raazi, which I’ve heard great things about it – but there are very few web series on this genre.

I was pretty stoked to be working in a space that I always loved.

Plus, I think this will be a landmark role in my career.

What was your initial reaction to Bilal Siddiqui’s original novel?

Oh, I loved it. In fact, I launched the book in Mumbai with Bilal.

I felt that it was action-packed, entertaining, an easy read and lend itself to good cinema. It had the potential for a great on-screen adaptation.

At that time, when the book released, there weren’t any OTT platforms, because Netflix was established two years after the novel released.

But once Netflix was established and Red Chillies Entertainment decided to back this, I was extremely happy for Bilal.

This is your first time playing a RAW agent. What was your reference point as an actor?

There’s no reference point, per se.

It’s more an amalgamation of various aspects – from pulling out descriptions from the book to how I imagine a spy would be.

As I mentioned, I’ve always loved watching James Bond (which is slightly larger-than-life) to Jason Bourne, which helped me.

The closest to reference point, I think, would be Jason Bourne.

He is gritty, he’s an espionage agent who has a past and that was more of the style I was looking at.

Of course, it was also about following what the director’s suggestions were.

Eventually, I had to find the voice of Kabir himself.

Collaborating with Shah Rukh Khan is a dream for every actor. Did it live up to your expectations?

I’ve been a huge fan of SRK and have grown up watching his films… He’s an inspiration to so many of us.

Plus, he is a fantastic producer.

He has been with us on this project since the writing stage to the editing stage, where he always gave his inputs on how to improve the visual aesthetics.

It was heartening to know that someone of his calibre was giving pointers.

You’ll also share camaraderie with Sobhita Dhulipala and Vineet Kumar. How was your synergy like with them?

Fantastic. I’ve worked with Sobhita on a film called The Body (which will release soon). So I had a comfortable rapport with her.

I think she’s a fantastic actor who really brings a lot to the table. Her character Isha is quite endearing, vulnerable and at the same time a pillar of strength.

Her character can be described to be of a ‘woman in a man’s world’.

Vineet is another brilliant actor, he puts a lot of effort into his character… I’ve worked with him before.

I’m really glad he is finally getting his dues as an actor. I am happy about that.

How of a Netflix enthusiast are you? What made you decide to enter the space?

Absolutely! I’ve been viewing Netflix for years and have watched so many shows like Breaking Bad and Sacred Games. I’m also a huge fan of Narcos. 

OTT platforms like Netflix are popular and have a huge subscription base in various countries.

It’s even viewed by many people in our country and Indians across the globe.

Here, you are catering to different cultures and that’s what people will talk about, which is why I was excited.

For years, you were typecast into being a ‘Serial kisser’. How did you deal with that phase?

When you’re trying out different characters and that’s all the media, unfortunately, talks about, it is a little juvenile.

I never thought about it so much. There were films that sort of showed this but were commercially successful films.

I never really considered that too much and have always tried to play different roles.

Plus, I feel grateful that the audience has always accepted me.

As long as that happens, I will be happy.

Watch Bard Of Blood trailer here:


Bard of Blood, directed by ‘The Girl On The Train’ Fame Ribhu Dasgupta, premieres September 27, Only on Netflix.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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