Emraan Hashmi’s world turned upside down the moment he found that his son is suffering from cancer. His son Ayan was detected with malignant tumour. Ayan was successfully operated for his tumour in Mumbai, post which Emraan took him for chemotherapy to Toronto. After spending a month with his son there, the professional Emraan returned to shoot the crime thriller ‘Mr X’ at Filmalaya Studios on Sunday, where he spoke exclusively to Bombay Times. We got a chance to speak to him..
When asked how his son Ayan is doing now, The actor replied, “He is doing good and has recuperated fast. He was always doing well, even when he was diagnosed with the condition he had, in Mumbai. He was as playful as he always was and still is. He was running around in the hospital after the second day of operation here.”
We couldn’t resist to ask him about what treatment.. Emraan said, “He had a malignant tumour called the WILMS tumour which was detected in its second stage. There is a medical protocol for this as he needs to be there for 15 weeks for taking chemotherapy. When you remove a tumour, the bad cells may still be there somewhere in the body, so chemo is done to kill them. It’s not a common cancer amongst children. Leukemia is more common within paediatric cancer. When you hear the word cancer as a parent, a lot of things play out in your mind. The doctors have told us that if we would have had to pick a certain kind of cancer, it would be WILMS as the prognosis for this cancer is 90-95% making the survival rate pretty high. Children are very resilient. The word cancer for parents is the scariest thing in the world, but what they need to understand is that 95% of cancer is curable, which is what we don’t get to hear as the narrative of the word cancer is so overwhelmingly full of terror. But this sane voice is not built on hope, but on scientific evidence of past prognosis.”
When asked why Toronto, he said, “Due to the environment there so that he can recuperate faster. There is family there. In Mumbai, he would be restricted to the places he can go, plus the environment is better there. If I had to keep him here, he would need to be contained in the house but out there, he can go everywhere, be it to shopping malls or cinema theatres.”
It must be tough for you as a parent?
Emraan replied, “The tumour was half a kilo and looked like a pomegranate. We couldn’t tell Ayan we are going into an operation. We told him we are checking into a hotel. There had to be a script in the whole thing. We told him the IV was there to make him Iron Man. The Batman actually saved the day. In our house, Santa Claus is too tame. From the age of two, whenever we wanted him to do something like have his milk, we could call Batman from his phone which would pop up Batman on the screen, but would actually connect with me. Whether I was in the other room or outside, I would then change my voice and speak to him as Batman. So out there also, I used to constantly talk to him in the hospital room as Batman and that helped him get through. Thankfully, we detected it as this could have gone undetected. We had no choice but to be strong as parents. We couldn’t have broken down even for a second.”
When do you go back to Toronto?
“I am shooting ‘Mr X’, then I need to complete ‘Shatir’ after which I will promote ‘Ungli’ if it is releasing in May, post which I will go back to Ayan in Toronto end of May.” Emraan said.
Emraan’s mentor and emotional anchor chose to be by his side on the set on his first day to give him the much-needed emotional support. Talking to us Mahesh Bhatt said, “What devastated Emmy first was what we believe of cancer, seeing cancer from movies. But the moment you go into the subject, you know that when you are dealing with illness you cannot deal with the luxury of hope and you learn to negotiate it with scientific evidence of the past prognosis. I gave him the reference of the boxing ring. We are all in the boxing ring, where life gives you a punch and knocks you off. However painful it is, you have to get up and fight back. That is the only attitude you can have to deal with this and I guess, he has done that. I was overwhelmed with the goodness in the world. People coming hesitantly and meekly approaching me and saying, ‘If you don’t mind we just want to say that we are praying for Emmy and his son. I would get moved by the kindness of strangers and that is why the world is still going on.’