Among the new generation of Indian actors, there are perhaps no two actors more representative of these two kinds than Abhay Deol and Emraan Hashmi. Their careers are still young, but they have both demonstrated the kind of ability to capture the attention of the camera that makes them such compelling performers. Now, for the first time they are coming together on the big screen, and that too for a director whose name is synonymous with thoughtful and cutting-edge, yet popular and entertaining cinema: Dibakar Banerjee.
Said Kamal Gianchandani, President PVR Pictures, “It gives me enormous pleasure not just to produce Dibakar"s latest film Shanghai, but to see the two lead characters being brought to life by such actors of such contrasting, but equally versatile talent. Casting Emraan and Abhay in the film was first and foremost a creative decision, but as a producer I am thrilled that it also will help in bringing to this gripping film, audiences from across the spectrum."
Shanghai is an official Hindi adaptation of the political thriller that the Greek novelist Vassilis Vassilikos wrote about the real-life assassination of a dynamic politician. It has been adapted by Dibakar and his team to the Indian context and pulls absolutely no punches in its depiction of contemporary Indian realities.
Said Dibakar Banerjee, "I'm looking forward to breaking some presumptions with this film! I love the way some people stereotype the dark, kissy, negative Bond side of Emraan in his films. Well this film is going to see him go right into the heat and dust of a hellish Indian small town and its deadly politics. No leather jackets, suave bars and foreign locales. He's here, in love, on a broken down scooter, shooting sleazy videos and on the run for his life!
And Abhay has never been seen like this before - in a negative, cold, almost vicious character. Imagine Abhay being the establishment instead of fighting it. He looks at you through his glasses, wearing his stiff shirt and you wonder what's on his mind. Then you may be under arrest and you don't even know he did it! He is powerful, he represents the ruling class - and he doesn't forget an insult - ever!"
There are, they say, two kinds of actors. The ones who act from the mind; and the ones who act from the heart. The ones who think through every facet of their characters histories and motivations; and the ones who instinctively become those characters. It"s not a question of talent: both kinds are equally talented. And it"s not a question of popularity, for both kinds are equally worshipped by their own particular fan bases.