By: Upala KBR, Mid-Day
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt gets ten thousand rupees from Emraan Hashmi as commission for all the films and advertisements that he does.
This was the agreement signed between the uncle and the nephew when Bhatt launched Emraan in his home production, Footpath.
So why does Bhatt take this hafta? "It's an old tradition of mine. I generally do this with people I share a special relationship with, and am very fond of." Says Bhatt.
This hafta applies to actors introduced by in Vishesh Films but all in good spirit. Adds Bhatt, "I exploit people's superstitions. I tell my stars that they have to pay me if they want their good fortune to continue. If they don't their good fortune will stop," he laughs.
Who's the most prominent with his payments? "Anupam Kher," says Bhatt.
"He has consistently paid up over the years but I don't think Emraan has any intention of paying up. Despite several reminders he still hasn't paid up. I call it kickback! Now if he doesn't pay up I am going to issue a fatwa declaring barring him from entering Vishesh Films premises."
What's the going hafts rate? Bhatt reveals, "I charge Rs twenty thousand for every outside film and advertisments my actors do. Emraan is lagging behind ten thousand rupees, which I now aim to extract from him as soon as possible."
And is it only cash? "Cash or kind - anything will do," says Bhatt and recounts an incident a week ago. "Last week, Emraan had come to my office wearing a expensive pair of shoes. They must cost around ten thousand bucks, I asked him to take them off and give them to me in lieu of payment."
In fact, Emraan is so thick-skinned that he even pretends to fall asleep in the midst of Bhatt's complaints, thus earning another rebuke from the filmmaker.
And what does Emraan have to say about this? "I call it extortion!" he grins. "I have to pay him by tonight. The deal is that I have to pay him a certain percentage for every outside banner film or ad that I do.
It's my gurudakshina! I am very happy giving it to him but it pinches sometimes," he grins and adds, "Bhattsaab calls it extortion and in a way, it is."