Emraan Hashmi Image Credit: PTI

Actor Emraan Hashmi’s early career in Bollywood got him the tag of ‘serial kisser’ thanks to his amorous scenes in multiple films, which was unusual at the time.

Hashmi said it was a bane and a boon in his life.

“I got many hit films in my career because of the so-called tag. I won’t lie... I agree that I got a fair bit of acceptance from it. There were films which required such scenes and I did them,” he said.

“But there was a time when that tag started becoming a hindrance for me. I wanted to try something new but people were approaching me for the same thing. They wanted me to do the same thing again, due to which I was not able to get different types of films and I was not able to explore myself more as an artist,” he added.

Over the past few years, it seems the 39-year-old has moved on from his ‘serial kisser’ image and is trying his hand at more content-driven films. His latest is ‘Why Cheat India’, on education scams in India.

“I am reinventing myself. Being an actor, it is very important to stay relevant and give the audience a new dose of entertainment every time,” Hashmi said.

“It was saturation point for me doing a certain kind of roles 10 years back. Okay, they worked at the box office, but now our audience wants something different. For the past three or four years, fresh concepts are coming out from our cinema and I want to be a part of such good scripts,” he added. “If you look at the last year, it was one of the best years for our industry. Content is king now. It’s a great time for an actor to be in the industry. It is a fantastic time.”

At the same time, he does not rule out picking more mainstream projects.

“Though I don’t like the ‘masala film’ word, it is not that I won’t be doing commercial movies. I will do commercial films also, but my main focus would be content. There will be both socially relevant films and commercial films,” added the ‘Shanghai’ star, who has won praise for films such as ‘Jannat’, ‘Gangster’, ‘Kalyug’, ‘Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai’ and ‘Awaarapan’.

He says ‘Why Cheat India’, which is out now in the UAE, is his personal 2.0 as an actor.

“Our education system needs serious reforms. We are lacking in so many areas. My film will show the mirror to the corrupt education system. I am not saying that the film will bring a sudden change in the existing system but it will definitely start a conversation and will create awareness in society and make them see how thousands of students are getting cheated by the corrupt cheating mafias,” he said.

With ‘Why Cheat India’, the actor has also marked his debut as a producer.

“From scripting to marketing, I tried to learn different things about filmmaking... There is a long way to go now,” added Hashmi, who is also making his web debut with the Netflix’s upcoming thriller ‘The Bard of Blood’.