So what’s so great at being “officially” no. 7?
Simply that when the top six positions have been locked for years now, that is some achievement!
Consider this: The trio of Khans is invincible at the top. The pecking order is Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. Similarly, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Hrithik Roshan are invincible in whatever fluctuating order in the next three slots.
And yes, most importantly, Emraan Hashmi is no media hype. Solid box-office results and a star clout all his own show that Hashmi has moved to a zone far, far ahead of when he was just the Vishesh Films protégé, the serial kisser, the man who gave hits only with his uncles the Bhatts, the actor who was sleepwalking through ho-hum performances, and a wannabe star who did not look like a hero at all!
The man’s last flop was “Crook” in October 2010, which was ignored as a plain, bad Vishesh film since “Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai” in July had seen him stand up to Ajay Devgn and was a commercial success too. Since then, Hashmi has had a dream run – in 2011, “Dil To Baccha Hai ji” (with Ajay again) was average, while “Murder 2” and “The Dirty Picture” were super-hits. But when an actor makes a mediocre product like “Jannat 2” run on his own steam, with nothing else to recommend it as a must-watch by the audience, that’s when you call him a star, right? Remember the many awful films that Dharmendra, Jeetendra and Amitabh Bachchan saw to Silver Jubilees?
“Jannat 2” took a whopper opening with Rs. 9 crore net on day one, notched up Rs 24 crore by weekend before it dropped severely on merit from Monday at multiplexes and significantly at single-screens, too.
And so, Emraan actually guarantees an opening today, which even Ranbir Kapoor, John Abraham, Shahid Kapoor or Imran Khan do not. In 2003, John debuted with the hit “Jism,” (also from the Bhatts), Shahid with the success “Ishq Vishq,” both solo leads, while Hashmi started with a secondary role to Aftab Shivdasani and Rahul Dev(!!) in the flop “Footpath.” And look where Hashmi is today!
The trade is unanimous about the fact that Hashmi is a saleable star today. His songs are a buzzword too, and his tastes in cinema a delectable blend of mainstream with the right amount of realism. Just as Sujoy Ghosh’s “Kahaani” benefited from a post-”The Dirty Picture” Vidya Balan’s presence, Dibakar Banerjee’s “Shanghai” (releasing June 8) will now benefit from Hashmi, post the trio of “Murder 2,” “The Dirty Picture” and “Jannat 2.”
Says a trade analyst, “Yes, he is the female Vidya Balan today.”
But we would disagree. Vidya’s next moves will make or break the impression of whether she justifies her female Aamir Khan tag. But Emraan is on a confident roll, having also been approached by Karan Johar for a film with Kareena Kapoor, which the latter is said to have nixed. If Kareena has turned it down because of Emraan, then it’s high time she got her fundas and priorities right, given her recent spate of poor choices (“RA.One,” “Ek Main Aur Ekk tu” and “Agent Vinod”).
The man who was once known only for “erotica” like “Bheegi honth tere” and kisses is now a force to reckon with, getting plum offers by the week.
And last, but certainly not the least, the man has evolved as an actor even as he continues to play essentially similar characters in most of his films. Maybe he could change this overdue aspect somewhat, for when he essayed the hot-headed idealistic filmmaker in “The Dirty Picture,” he effortlessly stood up to Vidya’s Silk after outclassing Naseeruddin Shah!