Magazine article Variety

India Pay Scale Far from Equal

Magazine article Variety

India Pay Scale Far from Equal

Article excerpt

Gender pay disparity is alive and well in India, while rates for actor and actresses in Taiwan and Israel are more or less equitable.

In India, top male actors earn as much as five times more than top female stars, according to industry estimates, with men in the top rung - such as Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan (all unrelated), Hrithik Roshan and Akshay Kumar - raking in $4.5 million to $5.5 million per film. However, most of the top male stars also take producer credits via their production companies, doubling their paydays to between $10.5 million and $11.5 million per film, with a bonus: a share of the profits.

In contrast, actresses in the top tier who can carry a film on their own, like Priyanka Chopra in "Mary Kom," Deepika Padukone in "Piku" or Kangana Ranaut in "Queen," make between $1 million and $1.2 million, with no back end.

One reason given for the discrepancy is box office. "The top male stars generate much greater returns than the female stars; that's why they get paid much more," says producer Pravesh Sippy. For example, "Queen" made $15 million at the box office, while Salman Khan-starrer "Bajrangi Bhaijaan" took in $95 million.

Female stars in India also tend to have shorter careers. The older they get, the fewer leading parts are written for them, while men draw starring vehicles even as they age. "The fees don't go down for older male stars," says Dina Dattani, independent business affairs and legal consultant in the media industry and former head of business and legal at Fox Star Studios India. …

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