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Emraan Hashmi says there are not many producers who are ready to take risks in Bollywood, an industry where stupidity dominates, making it harder for actors to be smart.

The actor says today there are at least a handful of people trying to push the envelope, which was not the case earlier.

“It is difficult being a smart actor in Bollywood. Stupidity goes a long way here. The audience is smart but not too many producers and directors take that [risk] and understand that. Now at least we have the new blood coming up with new stuff,” Hashmi said.

“Back then, it was just about making escapist films with a star, do what a star is supposed to do and get bums on seats. Right now, the audience wants to see more than that,” he added.

Hashmi started his career in mid-2000s, gaining fame for featuring in films which were dubbed “bold”. The actor eventually shed the “serial kisser” tag with films such as ‘Shanghai’, ‘Ghanchakkar’ and ‘Ek Thi Daayan’, among others.

The actor says before he turned towards edgier content, he was “stuck” in a zone for a long time.

“Initially you can’t voice your concerns because scripts choose you rather than you choosing scripts. When one thing works, they just stretch that to make them work again and again,” he said.

“Producers see it as safety net, a cash register. Where the audience is expected not to ask questions. Then I met filmmakers and producers who wanted to challenge me as an actor.”

Hashmi says, if 2018 is anything to go by, where “pure star-driven films” did not work, good concept is the need of the hour.

“Because of the influence of the web, the audience knows what they’re missing out on here. They want to lap up any mediocre content. Right now a handful of actors are doing a variety of things,” said Hashmi.

“The audience doesn’t want to see a star-driven vehicle. They want to see another dimension of you, not you wearing the same urban clothes in a foreign location with 50 background dancers.”