The success of the Bhatts' Jannat released right in the middle of stiff competition from the IPL matches has shocked one and all, including the film's leading man Emraan Hashmi who has wasted no time in hiking his price from an estimate1.5 crore rupees to 5 crores. "And why not?" Emraan argues happily. "Equations change every Friday. The sun has started shining for me. I seem to have had a solo hit at a time when only Akshay Kumar and the Khans seem to be getting the audiences in," he.
"Ya, my price has gone up. I won't say drastically. Right now I can quote a higher price with some justification." There's celebration in Emraan's house. "I've cut about fifteen cakes in the last one week. And I've just bought a new BMW. I was so confident about Jannat that I had it delivered to my home on the day of its release."
Emraan has even backed out of a film that Warner Brothers was to produce in association with Tandav Films (of Khosla Ka Ghosla). Here Emraan gets evasive. "I wouldn't like to comment on which project I backed out. But yes, we were in serious negotiation. I only had to sign the contract. But as is the rule in the entertainment industry, they were waiting to see how Jannat would perform. But now the ball is in my court. Since I'm in a negotiable position now, why should I sign the film at a price I was supposed to? They were playing the wait-and-watch game. Now that they've watched it's my turn."
Emraan says his price also goes up for his mentors the Bhatts. "I haven't spoken to them about my price now that Jannat has done so well. But they've always been very fair as far as the price goes. We share a professional relationship first, we're relatives later. Eventually, the film stands on its own, no matter who makes it. I only sign Bhatt Saab's films when I'm convinced about them. It isn't as if I've said yes to all his offers. I was picky earlier. I'm being more picky now."
Emraan says he was always getting offers outside the Bhatt camp. "But yes after Jannat the offers from outside are better. This is probably the best time as an actor for me." His next release is Raaz 2. "Like Jannat and the earlier films that I've done with Bhatt Saab, it tries something different. No one wants to touch the horror genre. It hasn't been explored sufficiently except in the first part of Raaz which came five years ago. I've again done the unexpected in Raaz 2. I feel the different will always work. I guess the same applies to me as an actor. I always go for the unconventional roles."
Strangely, Emraan has always been working with new leading ladies. "I don't see that as a burden. I think the audience wants to see me with new heroines and yes, I did kiss my heroine in Jannat too, though this time it was more furtive than torrid. If the director feels the kiss has to be shown, I won't object to a kiss in future too."
Emraan's wife loved Jannat. "She's zapped by its success. Suddenly to have your spouse blossom into a star...it completes our circle of happiness. The prolonged period of failure has been good for me. It made me realize I wasn't invincible. If people don't earn money out of you in the entertainment industry they don't want you. As simple as that."
Says Emraan, "We were warned not to release Jannat with the IPL. Biggies like Tashan and Paachvi Paas on TV had failed. I was very confident about Jannat. We got a phenomenal opening. The collections have only been going up. Eventually, a film stands on its own, and the promos helped. The past one year was really tough on me. If Jannat didn't work I'd been really frustrating. I was bitter and angry. So Jannat was a do or die project for me. If it failed I had told myself nothing else will work."