The routinely sexist and nepotistic Bollywood has some atypical news this week – for the first time, a major female lead actor could be paid more than her male co-stars in a multi-starrer film.
According to sources who spoke to the Hindustan Times, Deepika Padukone stands to make more than Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in the upcoming Sanjay Leela Bhansali film – Padmavati.
The ₹13 crore paycheck owes itself to Padukone’s stardom and her role as the titular character in the film. Singh and Kapoor are getting paid ₹10 crores each.
“There are a lot of speculations about the pay structure of ‘Padmavati’. However, Sanjay Sir was clear that the film belongs to Deepika. Deepika has taken home a whopping Rs. 13 crore, while Ranveer and Shahid share equal digits that read close to Rs. 10 crores respectively,” according to the Hindustan Times.
Last year, the actress was ranked number 10 on the Forbes list of highest paid actresses in the world, but was dropped this year. Hardly worth crying over when she has upended the norm of unjust paychecks!
Bollywood, like Hollywood, is notorious for its large wage gaps. In the recent past, many successful films like Queen, Piku and Neerja have ridden on the backs of female protagonists, but sadly this did not translate to equal paychecks.
Actors, including Padukone, have been vocal about the very conspicuous disparity in pay – A topic of discussion that was not spoken about vocally over the past years.
In an interview with Anupama Chopra, Anushka Sharma did not mince her words when talking about not just the wage-gap, but also how differently either gender is treated off-set.
“A female newcomer and a male newcomer will get paid different amounts of money. You’re a newcomer, nobody knows who you are, man or woman doesn’t matter. But you’re going to get paid different money,” said Sharma. “If you’re on an outdoor shoot, you know that the guy is gonna get a better room than you. Why..?” added Sharma.
Filmmaker Karan Johar’s biography, An Unsuitable Boy, revealed a rift between the director and superstar best-friend Kareena Kapoor when she asked for as much as Shah Rukh Khan in Kal Ho Na Ho. Unsurprisingly, that led to her being dropped from the film, only to be replaced by an actress who didn’t stir the pot.
While applauding successful films such as Piku and Queen, Kalki Koechlin told the Hindustan Times that pay parity in the industry is a far cry, “You only get paid more than a man if you are Priyanka Chopra.”
After the success of her show Quantico, Chopra, it appears, can command a paycheck larger than the boys.
Here is hoping Chopra and Padukone can welcome many more women to the club!