Tinseltown isn’t the only film industry minting millionaires. Indian movies gross far less than their American-made counterparts, but they are typically produced for much cheaper–and recoup costs by selling satellite rights to TV channels.
Despite declining pricetags for those rights, Indian actors are still cashing in from film fees and endorsements. Meet the ten highest-paid stars in Bollywood.
King Khan leads the lot, banking big from starring roles in movies such as Raees, for which he earns upfront fees and a cut of the back-end. He also pockets millions from lucrative endorsement deals and profitable productions helmed by his Red Chillies Entertainment.
He bests second-ranked Salman Khan, who still earns top rupee for flicks such as Sultan, which was the second-highest grossing Bollywood movie of 2016. The more recent Tubelight, which was released outside our scoring period, did not fare as well. He retains a slew of advertisements and a not-for-profit line of clothing and jewelry.
Akshay Kumar’s paycheck is thanks to a busy schedule that saw him appear in five movies in our scoring period–more than many of his fellow listmembers. Besides fees from hits like Dishoom and Jolly LLB 2, Kumar also pulls in seven figures hawking items from deodorant to Eveready batteries.
Aamir Khan scored a global hit with Dangal. His payday is comprised almost entirely of his cut of profits from the wrestling drama,which continues to ticket well worldwide. He will earn even more next year when remaining overseas checks come in. He films fewer movies than most Bollywood stars and does not endorse a plethora of products.
Rounding out the top five is Hrithik Roshan. His only release of 2016, Mohenjo Daro, underperformed, but 2017’s Kaabil fared much better. Produced by his father Rakesh Roshan, it surpassed the coveted $15.6 million (Rs 100 crore) mark in just 11 days.
One of two women on the ranking, Padukone’s upfront fee is on the rise for her lead role in the forthcoming Padmavati, FORBES estimates. But the 31-year-old star still makes most of her money from endorsements, advertising for more than a dozen brands from global giant Nike to local cellphone maker Oppo.
His 2016 rom-com Befikre failed to match the box office tally of 2015’s hit period drama Bajirao Mastani, but endorsements bolster Ranveer Singh’s take-home. He shills for a dozen brands in India, including Kellogg’s Oats and Durex condoms.
A crossover star, Chopra makes the cut thanks to earnings from ABC’s Quantico as well as movie roles in Hollywood and Bollywood. This summer’s Baywatch reboot, in which she played antagonist Victoria Leeds, failed to make as big a splash as expected, grossing $177.4 million worldwide. She cashes in advertising for Pantene, among others.
The 74-year-old stalwart has aged into more complex roles, portraying a lawyer defending women’s rights in 2016’s Pink. The ranking’s oldest member earns big from both the silver and small screens, returning to host the ninth season of India’s Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (Kaun Banega Crorepati?) this August after a three year hiatus.
The Bollywood scion scored the best box office opening of his career with the romance Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, which managed $547,000 (Rs 35 crore) in India in its first weekend. Jagga Jasoos, the pricey follow-up opposite ex-girlfriend Katrina Kaif, flopped. Kapoor also makes bank endorsing the likes of underwear brand Macroman.