Bollywood’s paychecks continue to grow!
Indians have more money in their pockets than ever and the entertainment industry is riding high. People are shelling out big bucks to see their favorite stars. Tickets in multiplexes range from Rs 100/- to Rs 300 on weekends. And people aren’t complaining! In fact the Indian cinema industry is expecting very high growths (15-20 percent) in the coming years. The industry, with it’s 10,000 cinema halls, and it’s output of 8-900 films in a year, has (is) undergone a metamorphosis!
A report released earlier this year by Creative and Innovative Economy Centre (CIEC) of the George Washington University Law School has said that three key factors will drive the double digit growth of Bollywood:
- Proliferation of multi-screen theatres
- Introduction of satellite delivery
- Acceleration of the home entertainment market
Rising paychecks for Bollywood stars
Is it surprising then that Bollywood paychecks are climbing as well? The film industry is a place where salaries are rising exponentially, out pacing other industries…ofcourse amongst saleable stars/directors/technicians only. I had written a post about Bollywood salaries earlier this year in which I had said:
Take this Rs 10 crore club (USD 2.5 million). About the year 2000 they (top actors) were getting approximately half of what they are getting now (around Rs 4-5 crore). Give or take a crore. That’s a hundred percent jump. In fact by the year 2006, these guys were rapidly crossing the Rs 6-7 crore mark and since then it’s been all the way up.
And the latest news is that paychecks are almost doubling again! Akshay Kumar has reportedly got more than Rs 17 crore for a recent film and as Shah Rukh, Salman Khan, Hritik Roshan and Aamir Khan reportedly quote a higher price than Akshay, one can guess that they are getting. Earlier this year Hritik was touted as the highest paid actor in Bollywood when he made a 3-film deal of Rs 35 crore with Adlabs.
Actually Rajnikanth, a non-Bollywood leading man was the highest paid Indian movie star in India as he walked away with Rs 16 crore for his film Sivaji (3.9 million USD) last year. It is rumoured that he is likely to demand much more for his next (some say the last venture before he retires) film.
Indian films are making it big in other countries (where ticket prices are much higher), and the industry is benefiting hugely.
Today’s leading ladies not up to the mark?
But not everyone in the film industry is lucky. Only those who pull in the audiences reap the benefits and so it should be. In India, it’s the male stars, not the leading ladies or the side-kicks who pull in audiences. Paychecks of the ladies are floundering at the old levels and in fact they can be ten times less as compared to the guys! They range from just under a crore to 5-7 crore.
Film producers/directors say that this is natural as no leading lady today can pull in an audience and if any quotes too high a price, they simply drop her. It doesn’t make a difference if they have a strong hero and/or a saleable director. Leading ladies in other words seem quite dispensable. This is very different from how it is Hollywood. As it says here:
Contrast this with the business realities of Hollywood, where Nicole Kidman and Julia Roberts command almost as much as their male counterparts. If a Tom Cruise gets $45 million for a film, Kidman is not far behind at $35 million. If Brad Pitt gets $29 million, Angelina Jolie earns $27 million.
I guess a lot of people would go see a movie to just to see Angelina Jolie or Nicole Kidman. I have done it. I have also seen movies solely because of an Indian female lead (Pakeezah is one of them) but frankly I cannot say that I have done the same for the current brood of female actors. I read an article (unfortunately couldn’t find it online) which talked of actresses like Meena Kumari and Nargis, who could pull in audiences on their own steam, Apparently the difference between their salaries and that of their male counterparts was not as high as it is between the male and female stars of today. Even Madhuri Dixit for a brief period could hold a candle to many a male star because of her ability to pull in audiences on her own merit. She did that with her film Raja.
I personally feel that actresses like Nargis, Meena Kumari, Madhubala, and later, Kajol and Madhuri were superior to the present lot, whether it’s Aishwarya Rai or Priyanka Chopra although Rani Mukherjee comes close. I am of the view that we don’t have super leading ladies today, someone of the calibre of the old stars. Just hope some new star rises on the horizon. Wonder if it’s going to be Deepika Padukone?
Related Reading: Consolidation process is on in Bollywood and they are buying into Hollywood
Film stars pay the highest taxes
Double digit growth of Bollywood cheques (2006)
Why Bollywood and Hollywood do not mix
Narcism of Hollywood and Bollywood celebrities
Will Hollywood thrash Bollywood?