Ever since Mahesh Bhatt revealed that his new film Hamari Adhuri Kahani (Our Incomplete Story) is based on the love story of his own parents and stepmother, Bollywood fans have been waiting for it to hit cinemas.
Directed by Mohit Suri, the drama was partly shot in the UAE last year, including a bit at a Dubai hotel that recreated the festival of Diwali for a romantic scene between the two main characters, played by Bhatt’s nephew Emraan Hashmi and Vidya Balan. Balan portrays a woman in love with a hotelier, until her past, in the form of her jealous husband (Rajkumar Rao), comes back to haunt her.
Ahead of the film’s release on Thursday, June 11, Hashmi talks about taking on a role that is based on the experiences of a close family member, the joy of working, again, with Balan (this is their third film together) and why he can’t stay away from Dubai.
Tell us about the film and your role.
The story, as the title suggests, is a love story. One of the lovers is married and has a child. The real beauty of this film is everyone’s backstory. Aarav [Hashimi’s character] has had a tragedy in his past, and Vasudha [Balan’s character] has also suffered. The film is about how they complete each other and how they fall in love. In a way, Aarav is the only selfless person in this film. He, no holds barred, wants to do everything for and give everything to Vasudha, while she is somewhat divided between him and her husband and child.
This film is based on the love story of Bhatt's parents, which was something he revealed after production started. Did you know about this when you signed up?
I didn't know when I signed the film. Hamari Adhuri Kahani has a lot of moments from the lives of people around me and that just made it all the more real for me.
Did it affect your performance in any way?
Of course it did. It was connecting with the lives of my family members. You don’t get this chance in every film. When you connect with something properly, it makes for something totally different. It’s not going to be just another performance in just another film. This is as real as it gets.
This is your third film with Vidya Balan after The Dirty Picture (2011) and Ghanchakkar (2013). How has your work with her evolved over time?
I think that in every film we have worked in together, the comfort level has increased, because we get to know each other better as actors. Right from our first film together, we gave each other space as actors. When you have a good actor opposite you, it always enhances your performance. She is professional and the kind of actor who doesn’t interfere in the work of her co-stars. We are very like-minded in that way.
You shot in the UAE extensively for this film. Tell us about your experience shooting here.
Shooting in Dubai and Abu Dhabi was great. We started off in Abu Dhabi in this amazing resort in the desert and then we shot a lot in Dubai, in some very amazing locations. This is not my first time shooting in Dubai. It does get a bit demanding weather-wise, but is always a great experience.
You’re a frequent visitor to Dubai. What are your favourite spots?
My wife insists on taking me to the malls, so I am well versed with those. The best thing about Dubai is that there is always some new place to try out … either a club or a dinner place. I can’t really name one particular place, but we like to try out anything that people recommend.
The songs from this film are doing really well. Which one is your favourite and why?
That would be Hamari Adhuri Kahani, the title track. It is the essence of the characters and the film. It has great orchestration and great singing. The kind of song you listen to and you know that it is going to have great shelf life.
• Hamari Adhuri Kahani is out in cinemas on Thursday, June 11