Money, money, money… muah! That is not just a line in Ajith’s latest hit but even the film business. It looks like the business of films is booming not just in Bollywood but also in Kollywood. The success of the Tamil remake Surya’s Singam in Bollywood, titled Singham, has landed actor Ajay Devgn in 18 crore pay bracket.
This actor used to charge between 6-8 crore per film, and the success of this film has helped him more than double his salary. While there has been an ongoing debate as to whether actors’ salaries in Bollywood is too high considering disproportionate revenues, Kollywood heroes now seem to be riding high on increasing larger pay packets. With corporate houses now making headway in Kollywood, budgets have increased tremendously.
Though Bollywood has seen numerous films with various actors cross the 100 crore mark, in Chennai, only Superstar Rajnikanth can possibly lay claim to that feat. Behind him, three leading heroes – Vijay, Surya and Ajithare said to be in the 15 crore category. Surya is said to be ruling the roost as producers are willing to pay the actor anywhere from 15 crore along with Telugu rights. Two of his films have crossed the 100 crore mark in Hindi – Ghajini and Singham – and Bollywood is watching his 7am Arivu closely.
His market in Andhra Pradesh seems to be increasing and this augurs well for the actor. Adds a trade source, “Today, an actor’s salary can include distribution rights and/or satellite rights along with a salary. In Bollywood, there’s also profit-sharing but in Tamil cinema we don’t have that yet.”
Vijay, who’s loved by the masses, also reportedly charges 15 crore per film. While his last outing, Kavalan, the Tamil remake of Siddique’s Bodyguard, was not a smash hit, the audience is looking forward to Velayudham to see if the Vijay magic will return on screen. He is still very much in demand by leading producers and directors and his films with Shankar and A.R Murugadossare the talk of the town.
While Ajith’s last outing Asal was a dampener at the Box Office, his Mankatha has struck gold and has catapulted him to the 15 crore salary – plus one! His ask is always whatever the price of another top hero plus one, say insiders. But his choice to do select movies and capitalize on the success of playing the baddie in his earlier films has definitely helped the actor make a strong comeback on screen.
Deiva Thiirumugal had a marketing blitzkrieg in Tamil Nadu & Andhra Pradesh and while the actors’ performances were applauded, the movie did not do as well as expected. But Vikram, say sources, still has a strong market here and his supposed fee is about 10 crore.
Surya’s brother, Karthi, has also proved he can set cash registers ringing at the BO and trade sources say producers are willing to pay him his fee of 8-10 crore along with the Telugu rights. Like his brother, Karthi has been quite successful in Tollywoodas well and they seem to be the only two actors who also take the Telugu rights with their fee.
While Simbu is said to charge about 5 crore per film especially after his extremely successful Vinnaithaandi Varuvaayaa, Dhanush, post his National Award for Aadukalam that was a hit, has been riding high on its success and reportedly charges 5-7 crore per flick.
Avan Ivan pair of Vishal and Aarya who are good friends in real life, are also making their way up the salary scale and doing well for themselves. Sources say that as of now while Vishal charges 3 crore, Aarya charges 2 crore. Vishal again is another actor who is said to have a market in Andhra Pradesh. Jeeva, who has had a very successful year with Ko, is said to be charging around 1.5 crore currently.