Before starting his career as an actor, Hashmi worked with Vishesh Films as an assistant director on Vikram Bhatt's Raaz (2002). In 2003, he made his acting debut with Bhatt's Footpath and followed it with the erotic thriller Murder(2004), which emerged as a box office success. Hashmi subsequently appeared in several hit films, mostly under the Vishesh Films banner. Critics, however, labelled him as a "one note" actor and criticized his repetitive roles.He later garnered praise for his performances in Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (2010), The Dirty Picture (2011) and Shanghai (2012). He has established himself as a leading contemporary actor of Hindi cinema. Hashmi has received three Filmfare Award nominations.
He married his long-time girlfriend Parveen Shahani in 2006 and has one son