Friday, Dec 14, 2018 | Last Update : 04:10 AM IST
Bollywood is an industry that follows its own rules, traditions, biases and surprisingly lopsided pay scales.
The universe of Bollywood that weaves dreams, celebrates creativity, honours talent and makes stars overnight is at its core a world of ruthless competition, cut-throat business and an industry that follows its own rules, traditions, biases, ethics, prejudices. There are the camps and cliques. Godfathers and mentors. Rude rejections and surprising breaks. Bumper flops and sleeper hits. Raw deals and unfair advantages. And surprisingly lopsided pay scales.
Deepika Padukone was the highest paid artiste in Padmaavat, but Salman Khan gets nine times more than her for a Sultan or a Tiger Zinda Hai. Priyanka Chopra may be earning in dollars, but her fee for her last Bollywood film was just about Rs 4 crore. There has been much talk in recent times about disparity of fees, but trade insiders argue that producers pay a certain amount to an actor only because of his/her standing at the box office.
Film producer Ramesh Taurani, who is producing a film with Salman, refutes the pay disparities issue in Bollywood. “It all depends on who brings in business for the film. Salaries are decided on the business a product does and not on the gender. Producers always see these things in terms of numbers, and not as a gender,” he says. An industry insider agrees, “Deepika’s remuneration has gone up exponentially, and it is because of her choice of films and how they have done at the box office. Varun Dhawan has hiked his price after the fabulous opening for Judwaa 2. At the end of the day, it is all about who brings in the numbers on day one of the release of the film.”
Rs 11 crore
Deepika, the number one female box office star, has delivered success after success since 2012. For Padmaavat she was paid Rs 11 crore, the highest fee ever, eclipsing the fee she received for Bajirao Mastani of Rs 7 crore.
Her next film with Irrfan Khan has been put on hold but we get to see her in a guest appearance in Aanand L Rai’s film Zero starring Shah Rukh Khan. Deepika has also endorsed some leading brands, and she is now the L’Oreal face alongside Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Rs 5 crore
Katrina Kaif has been hanging around for a while now as no other actress has replaced her in the glam roles opposite the leading men. She comfortably gets paid approx. Rs 5 crore per film. She is one of the top searched Bollywood actresses online but in terms of her roles she has always worked with actors who are big stars and not really tried to carry a film on her own shoulders. Her next two releases are again with the Khans — with Shah Rukh Khan in Zero and Thugs of Hindostan with Aamir Khan.
Kareena Kapoor Khan
Rs 4 crore
Even though Kareena Kapoor Khan has slowed down on the work front after marriage and the birth of her child, she has proved her mettle and has a strong standing in terms of box office draw. Whenever she does work, in films like Ki and Ka, she is paid the highest fees in such films of approx Rs 4 crore.
Kareena was away for nearly two years and will be back with Veere Di Wedding which is a chick flick. Kareena is the biggest star in the film produced by Sonam Kapoor and Ekta Kapoor. Her brands are still loyal to her even after motherhood and staying away from the movies for a brief period.
Rs 5 crore
Kangana Ranaut has delivered two of the biggest heroine-centric films — Tanu Weds Manu Returns and Queen, but besides those two films she hasn’t had any other major box office success. And though she quotes Rs 11 crore per film, she was paid only Rs 3 crore for her last film Rangoon and Rs 5 crore for Simran. Her next film Mankarnika is a biopic on the life of Rani Lakshmibai and has her playing the legendary queen with Sonu Sood as a co-star. She is a stakeholder in the project but the details have not been made public. She was recently offered a film with Amitabh Bachchan but her demand for a higher remuneration is apparently still a bone of contention.
Rs 4 crore
Anushka Sharma has been known for her consistency in delivering quality mainstream films and powerful performances opposite the leading men, and for that she gets paid approx Rs 3-4 crore per film. She continues to work regularly for outside banners but as a producer she does films that challenge her as an artiste and this includes the recently released Pari. One also sees her in a deglam look of a small town girl in Sui Dhaga which has just gone on floor,
Rs 50+ crore
Akshay Kumar, over the last few years, has delivered the maximum hits and on average has released three films a year to maintain a high volume of work. For the last few films he has received a fixed fee of Rs 36 crore approx. plus profits, which take his overall fee to approx Rs 50+ crore per film. His last release Pad Man was highly appreciated.
He is currently shooting for a period drama Kesari, based on the battle of Saragarhi; a sports biopic, Gold; and 2.0 with Rajinikanth is ready for release. He starts his fourth film, a comedy, with KriArj Entertainment in August.
Rs 4 crore
Alia Bhatt has delivered tremendous performances and hits, but most of them have come with her mentor figure who gets her favourable terms, but for her next film with Ranbir Kapoor her mentor has hiked her fee to Rs 4 crore, thus raising her outside productions fee whenever she signs her next film. She has a pretty good list of brands that she has been endorsing for quite sometime.
Rs 4 crore
Priyanka Chopra hasn’t done a Hindi film in a long time now, however she used to get paid Rs 4 crore per film. She is one of the topmost paid female actresses on TV now because of her show Quantico and was listed by Forbes. She is yet to sign a Hindi film after her last film Jai Gangajal which released in 2016. She was to be part of the Rakesh Sharma biopic when Aamir Khan was playing the lead in it.
Rs 2.5 crore
A few years back Shraddha Kapoor was considered the most bankable young female star, and this escalated her fee to Rs 3.5 crore per film. However, since then a string of flops have made her fee drop to Rs 2.5 crore per film. She has apparently been paid well for Saaho but there can be no comparison with the remuneration commanded by Prabhas. She also has one film with Shahid Kapoor titled Batti Gul Meter Chalu, and the Saina Nehwal biopic that has been delayed.
Rs 2 crore
At one point in time, Sonakshi Sinha had the maximum blockbusters among the female stars and was being paid Rs 3 crore per film, but the tepid performance of some of her films at the box office in the last few years have brought down her fee to Rs 2 crore per film. Her latest release Welcome to New York was a disaster at the box office. She has three films coming up — Happy Bhaag Jayegi 2 which is ready for release, Dabangg 3 and Shiddat with Aditya Roy Kapur, produced by Sajid Nadiadawla. Sonakshi has a decent line-up of films but needs to choose her roles more wisely.
Rs 2 crore
After delivering the hit Neerja, Sonam Kapoor hasn’t given the nod to any film except her sister’s production for which she is getting paid Rs 2 crore. Her performance in Pad Man was highly appreciated and her next release is her home production Veere Di Wedding, a chick flick. She is now focusing on fashion and has launched the clothing brand Rheson. She has a guest appearance in Sanju.
Rs 350 crore
Aamir Khan is the numero uno actor in terms of fee per film. He only does one film in two years. For his last film Dangal he received 80% of the profits, which worked out to approx. Rs 250 crore from Hindi version plus Chinese dubbed version, making the total fee add up to Rs 350 crore plus.
The actor’s last release, Secret Superstar, which was also his production, was appreciated in India and did good business in China. The actor has Thugs of Hindostan costarring Amitabh Bachchan releasing this year and has planned a historical, The Mahabharata, which is going to be a three-part series. He has stopped endorsements and is now focusing on social issues including the Paani foundation.
Rs 125 crore
Salman Khan has consistently been ruling the box office with most of the biggest opening weekends belonging to him, thus cementing his position as the biggest star of the country. For Ek Tha Tiger he got approx Rs 75 crore fixed fee plus profit, which should place his fee at approx Rs 115-125 crore.
The actor has one release this year — Race 3. The next film to go on floor is Bharat, to be produced by his brother-in-law Apurva Agnihotri which will release in 2019. The other two films planned are Dabangg 3 and Kick 2. All big and small brands continue to chase him.
Shah Rukh Khan
Rs 75 crore
Shah Rukh Khan is the longest running superstar of the country, even though his recent films haven’t performed as well as he would have liked them to. His earnings per film still stay very high due to his lucrative overseas, satellite and music markets. In Raees he received approx. Rs 75 crore as actor-producer and similar figures for Harry Met Sejal.
His only release this year will be Anand L Rai directed Zero in which he plays a dwarf, one of the most challenging characters in his acting career. There is no official announcement as yet but there are rumours that he might sign a film with Ashutosh Gowariker on the UN peacekeeping forces.
Hrithik Roshan hasn’t delivered any hit films in recent years, but continues to command a fixed fee of Rs 45 crore per film due to his high satellite value. He has no releases in 2018 but has begun shooting on mathematician Anand Kumar’s biopic and has his father’s film Krrish 4 that goes on floor later this year. But before that he shoots with Tiger Shroff for Siddharth Anand’s film.
Ajay Devgn has been around, delivering hits in the comedy and action genre, and he and Rohit Shetty make for a combo that hardly ever fails. He got paid Rs 30 crore for Golmaal and approx. Rs 20 crore for Badshaho. He does not believe in competition and does the kind of movies that excite him, and Raid is one such film that is ready to hit the screen in April. Ajay also has Total Dhamaal which he is co-producing with Indra Kumar.
Ranbir Kapoor, the first among his generation to deliver Rs 100+ crore hits, is amongst the most respected actors even though he hasn’t delivered any major hits lately. But that doesn’t stop him from getting between Rs 20-30 crore per film, which is what he was paid for his last two films. He is a good actor who unfortunately does not have a great track record in terms of successful films. His next two films are probably the most ambitious and challenging projects for the actor — his Sanjay Dutt biopic directed by Raju Hirani and Ayan Mukheriji’s Brahmastra co-starring Alia Bhatt and Amitabh Bachchan. Hits and flops don’t really matter to his brands that have stayed loyal to him.
Ranveer Singh, the maverick actor who is unpredictable in his choice of work, is still trying to establish his stardom outside a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film. For Padmaavat he got paid the same as the leading lady — approx Rs 11 crore. However, now he is getting paid Rs 15 crore for Rohit Shetty’s Simmba and Kabir Khan’s 1983. Ranveer Singh is currently shooting for Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy after which he begins shooting for Simmha which is a quirky cop story. Ranveer Singh’s endorsement list is growing by the day.
Varun Dhawan, one of the most promising young stars, has delivered a string of hits since entering the industry and his popularity has grown tremendously. For his last hit film Judwaa he got paid Rs 11 crore, and for future projects he has been rumoured to be quoting Rs 20+ crore due to his massive hits this year. His choice of films reflects a mix of both commercial and realistic cinema. His next two films are Shoojit Sircar’s October, which is a love story, and Sharat Kataria’s Sui Dhaga with Anushka Sharma. After Judwaa 2 he goes back to do a film for Sajid Nadiadwala to be directed by Abhishek Varman which co-stars Sanjay Dutt and Shradha Kapoor. Brands that love Salman Khan also follow Varun Dhawan and it is evident from the list.
John Abraham hasn’t had any solo hits recently and is perhaps the only lead actor willing to settle for second hero roles. In multi-starrers, he charges and gets paid his price of Rs 10 crore per film. He takes his own sweet time to make movies and his next release is Parmanu that hits the screen in April. John Abraham has never been in the race. He has just signed a Nikhil Advani action thriller that co-stars Manoj Bajpayee.