The Gross Realities of Bollywood’s Top-Earning Women
In 2009, 3.2 billion movie tickets were sold, more than double the number in the United States. Since India produces more than three times the movies made in Hollywood, its little wonder the men and women of Bollywood rake in millions.
One of the big controversies right now is the wage is disparity between Bollywood’s leading lads and ladies. For example, the top male earner in Bollywood, Shahrukh Khan, pulls in approximately $15 million annually, dwarfing top woman’s Katrina Kaif’s annual earnings of $3.5 million.
Is this gender-based wage disparity simply the symptom of a developing nation? Unlikely, since the same thing is happening Hollywood. Vanity Fair recently released its list of top earners for 2010. Johnny Depp topped the list at $100 million, eclipsing 2010’s top female earner, Kristin Stewart, who earned $28.5 million.
As Bollywood’s reigning queen, Katrina is demanding a wage previously unheard of for the women in the Indian film indistry. For performing one of Bollywood’s infamous item numbers—an elaborate dance sequence that typically has little to do with the movie’s plot—she makes over $500, 000.
So with Ms. Kaif leading the pack, Bollywood’s top female earners for 2010 include Kareena Kapoor at $3 million and Ashwarya Rai at $1.5 million.
While Ash still demands the most per picture, she’s been on hiatus due to her pregnancy. From greatest to least, the actresses that make the most per film are: Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Bipasha Basu, Lara Dutta, Deepika Padukone, Mallika Sherawat, Neha Dhupia, and Rani Mukherjee.
As the heroine becomes a more pivotal role in Bollywood, many of these actors already outshine their male counterparts, but when their wages will reflect this remains anyone’s guess.