One-film-old Imran Khan — hero of Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na — comes with a price tag of Rs 7 crore for his next film, according to the latest Bollywood trade buzz. Jaane Tu..., which has collected Rs 30 crore approximately in just one week, has taken the nation by storm and catapulted its hero to super-stardom . Shahid Kapoor, after the super-success of Vivaah and Jab We Met, which he has followed up with the “safe’ ’ Kismet Konnection , is now a bankable star with a Rs-8-crore tag. Even one-film-old Ranbir Kapoor — who started with a not-too-successful Saawariya — now comes with a price tag of Rs 6 crore and is currently riding a wave, having bagged films with Prakash Jha, Raj Kumar Santoshi, Mani Ratnam , Yashraj Films and Karan Johar. Big money is back in Bollywood, with stars — and even those who are only starting off on the long journey that may or may not end in stardom — jacking up their rates. “Money is the new obsession that has taken over Bollywood,’’ says director Mahesh Bhatt. “It wasn’t as if our predecessors were not materialistic but they did not drool over money the way the current generation does every time you mention the word,’’ he adds. So, at a time when one-film successes (and failures) are charging eight-digit figures , it is only natural that the established are going to charge a bomb. The latest rumour to take Bollywood by storm has it that Akshay Kumar has been signed by Studio 18 for a figure that is more than Rs 50 crore (this figure includes a 30 per cent share in profits and a stake in the film’s intellectual property rights) and Aneez Bazmee has been paid Rs 15 crore. This follows the excitement generated by the Akshay-Anees Bazmee combination in Singh Is Kingg, the worldwide rights of which have been picked up by Studio 18 for Rs 62 crore. Singh Is Kingg producer Vipul Shah says: “Akshay Kumar is generating mass hysteria right now and even his television show, Khatron Ke Khiladi, has got a huge start. But I wouldn’t like to comment on the price issue because some really crazy price talk has been doing the rounds.’’ Trade insiders say Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, despite the debacle of Tashan, have been picked up at a price of Rs 27 crore by Ashtavinayak Films (though Aashtavinayak spokesperson Parag Desai has refused to confirm the amount). The industry is abuzz with talk that Saif and Kareena, who are marketing themselves as a package, have already been paid the signing amount of Rs 7.5 crore and will give dates to the Ashtavinayak project in the summer of 2009.
The Bhatt camp’s stars — Mallika Sherawat, Emran Hashmi and Shiney Ahuja — are also riding on the good times. Sherawat is asking for Rs 1.5 crore because her Ugly Aur Pagli — made on a modest budget of Rs 5 crore — has been sold to Percept Picture Company for Rs 6 crore. “PPC will make a killing with this film,’’ says a Bollywood insider. “It has reportedly paid Rs 6 crore to Pritish Nandy Communications. And, even before the film has released, it is being offered Rs 5 crore for the film’s satellite rights. PPC is expected to push the satellite price to Rs 9 crore. So they’ve already made a profit even before the film hits theatres this August,’’ the industry experts adds. Emraan Hashmi, post-Jannat , has reportedly been paid Rs 5.5 crore by Percept Picture Company; Shiney Ahuja is demanding Rs 7 crore post-Gangster and Bhool Bhuliya (in which he plays second fiddle to Akshay Kumar); and Bobby Deol will not even read a script unless he is paid a signing amount of Rs 2 crore (his price, according to industry grapevine, is Rs 5 crore a film).