(This is an updated and reposted post) If you’d asked me 9 years ago when Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na came out, I never would have said that Emraan would be my favorite Imraan/Emraan. But today, oh my goodness! He has beaten his homonym by a mile! And today he is 39 and still going strong! Here are 39 separate reasons I love him (yes, most of them are videos).
1. His big break included the sexiest, and also catchiest songs, possibly of all time. I literally listen to “Kaho Na Kaho” at least twice a day, and have for ten years. It never gets old!
(I don’t know about you, but this is exactly the outfit I wore to go to the library in college)
2. “Bheegey Hont” isn’t quite as good, so I only listen to it every other day.
3. He did this, not just in his first lead role movie, but in the first five minutes of his first lead role movie. A star is born!
4. And this movie just makes me sentimental. First, because it is a shot for shot ripoff of an American movie (it is a Bhatt film, after all), and the American original was the first movie I saw in theaters after starting college. And second, because my college roommate really loved this one song and made me play it for her almost every night.
5. And then came Gangster! The movie that is mostly important for introducing Kangana Ranaut (Happy late Birthday Kangana! I’m still mad at you about Karan, so I couldn’t say anything nice, so I decided not to say anything at all and you didn’t get a post), but as a side note, it was also one of the early indications that Emraan had actually learned how to act.
(Back when we thought Shiney Ahuja was just playing unpleasant characters onscreen. Also, Kangana is only 19 here, can you believe it?)
6. One of the main reasons I love him, is because he works so hard and so much! All of those movies I just listed were done in only 2 years. And there’s a whole other 6 films I didn’t even talk about.
7. He knew he didn’t have the acting chops or the traditional looks to make it, and made a decision to just be super sexy instead. And we have all benefited!
8. He’s a family man. Of his first 10 movies, all but 3 were produced by his uncle, Mahesh Bhatt.
9. He’s not afraid to play sexy support to a female lead. Even Murder was supposed to be more Mallika Sherawat’s film than his.
10. He got married in 2006, but didn’t let it stop him from promoting himself as a sexy bad boy.
11. By 2007, he had gotten good enough that I could almost buy him as a dancer in numbers like this.
12. In 2008, for the first time, he limited himself to one release in the year, and it was a good one! Jannat, in which he actually acted, but still gave us the good catchy sexy songs just for fun.
13. He brought in the Bhatt films series era, with Raaz-The Mystery Continues. And, more importantly, almost made man-earrings sexy!
(Happy Birthday again, Kangana!)
14. Tum Mile was a terrible movie, but man do I love the title song!
(Hi Soha! Love you! But this is still a terrible movie!)
15. Actually, Tum Mile had a great soundtrack all around. I know Emraan doesn’t pick the songs for his movies or anything, but he does seem to pick films that have great songs attached to them.
16. I love him because his son was born in 2010 and, again, there was no publicity and he kept his bad boy image onscreen.
17. I love him because at the same time he was beginning to get some critical acclaim for movies like Jannat and Awarapan, he kept cranking out the sexy potboilers like Raaz for his family production house.
18. I love him because working with family paid off, his uncle was the one who actually produced Jannat and gave him his first big acting role.
19. Speaking of family, just like his uncle helped him out, he helped out his cousin Mohit Suri, appearing in his first movie 7 movies, until he finally had the skills to make it on his own with Aashiqui 2.
(Although I still think Emraan would be even better in this scene than ARK. Also, they totally gave him an Emraan haircut, didn’t they?)
20. He also starred in Good Boy, Bad Boy, a terrible terrible movie which also featured Tusshar Kapoor. But I strongly suspect his connection to her brother is what lead Ekta Kapoor to consider him for his big breakthrough roles.
21. He is just flat out brilliant in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, managing to be both a believable sociopath with no redeeming qualities, and riveting onscreen. And also, sexy!
22. Remember how I said he was also a sociopath?
23. And the trailer that first gave a hint that this would not be the normal kind of Emraan Hashmi role.
24. He even makes 70s fashion look good!
25. And of course his role in OUATIM lead to The Dirty Picture. I honestly don’t think there is another actor who could believably sell the right amount of charisma, while still allowing it to be Vidya’s picture.
26. Post-OUATIM, he could have moved on to all art pictures. But, nope! His very next follow-up was Crook, produced by his uncle, directed by his cousin, a B-movie flop. Still putting family above all!
27. And then he was in Dil Toh Baccha Hai Jai, a not very good comedy movie that is completely different in every way from OUATIM. Except that it also stars Ajay Devgun opposite Emraan Hashmi! It must have been so weird for them to travel together between the two sets.
28. And right before The Dirty Picture put him back into a high quality complex role, he did Murder 2, a return to his sexy sexy roots. And I just now realized that all those sexy sexy scenes were directed by his cousin. Ew! Ew ew ew! Maybe too much family closeness?
29. I love him in The Dirty Picture both for his character onscreen, the only man able to see Silk as a person with a heart and feelings and needs, and for his decision to take the role and leave it as written off-screen. He could easily have played the “star” card, said that he needed a bigger part, more integrated into the film as a whole. But instead he left it as written, a small part but one that better supported the narrative as a whole.
30. And then he takes Jannat 2, a shameless cash grab of a sequel which almost cheapens his original performance (one of his most critically acclaimed) in retrospect. But which was also good for his uncle’s production house, and helped the career of Esha Gupta, his future sister-in-law.
31. Woo! I get to end on 9 straight songs! I am excited! First, a slightly high quality movie and a very high quality song.
32. Raaz 3D! Can you believe this is the first time he co-starred with Bipasha, the other unafraid to be sexy star? Also, still has a cute vibe with his sister-in-law, Esha!
33. Hey look, he’s good even in song videos that are just stand alone, not part of a movie!
34. I really should have mentioned Shanghai before this. Probably his most impressive performance, and definitely his least egotistical one. Look at those teeth!
35. Terrible movie, catchy song, one of the longest make-out scenes in Indian film history.
36. Notice how I have been carefully not mentioning Azhar? It is his birthday, after all, why drag up the ugly recent past? But at least this one song kind of sort of maybe worked.
37. Still not a great movie, but Baadshaho was a slight improvement and did have good songs.
38. And, the two part finale, if you watch none of the other videos you must watch these two, possibly the greatest (certainly the most entertaining) moments of Emraan’s career.
39. And part 2!