By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, Oct 20 (IANS) Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt is on a signing spree and accepting new projects at a price he never commanded before - a staggering Rs.15 crores/150 million per film.
Even at his new price Sanjay is now booked till the end of 2010 for 28 assignments, so much so that director Rohit Jugraj will be able to start his bio-pic with the actor only in 2011.
The new rate is thanks to good friend and colleague Suniel Shetty, who generously hiked Sanjay's price when he signed on the actor for a multi-film deal for his production house Popcorn Entertainment.
Dharam Oberoi, CEO of Sanjay Dutt Productions, confirmed it to IANS: "It is true Anna (Suniel) raised Baba's (Sanjay) price in the market. Before that Baba was being taken for granted price-wise by all and sundry. Anna was adamant about Baba's price and started a new precedent by paying him far above what Baba got from others."
He added: "Suniel is one of his dearest friends and responsible for initiating the remuneration that you've quoted."
Having completed "EMI" with Suniel, Sanjay has now signed another big project with his company that will feature the two actors as warring heroes locked in a dramatic conflict. The big-budgeted Sanjay-Suniel action drama is to go on the floors soon, all thanks to Sanjay who magically accommodated the new assignment into his schedule even if it meant working a little harder.
"Anything for Suniel is Baba's motto," said Oberoi. "Yes, Baba has accommodated a new assignment with Anna into his schedule at a time when he couldn't afford to. It means he has to work harder."
Suniel is co-producing "EMI" with Ekta Kapoor and the film is being directed by debutant Saurav Kabra.
Sanjay recently suffered a leg injury in the gym, but he left for Bangkok to do action scenes for director Anthony D'Souza's "Blue" against doctors' orders. He was advised by doctors to let the limb heal itself out.
"Baba can't afford to delay any project. In fact, he was really concerned when he had to cancel a small portion of the dubbing for Anna's 'EMI' on the day he injured his leg. While he was on the cycle something gave way in his leg and Baba was in acute pain. In his typical way, he tried to brush it off as no big deal. But then the pain got unbearable and it came to a point where he could barely walk.
"With his tight schedule and his typical attitude of bravado, Baba refused to take the injury seriously. But he was forced to undergo tests. It was revealed that there was severe swelling in his leg that would take quite some time to heal."
Disregarding doctors' diktats Sanjay zipped off to Bangkok to join the already-waiting cast of "Blue" even if the stunts slowed down the healing process of his legs.
"That's Baba for you. Even when going underwater was potentially harmful to his already weak lungs he went 40 feet under for 'Blue' in the Bahamas. And now he's doing stunts in Bangkok with his injured leg with Akshay Kumar."