Bollywood Ladies And The Crucial Topic Of Pay Disparity

In the world of Bollywood, the gender pay disparity is the most talked about topic these days. Superstar Shah Rukh Khan sparked off the discussion at a recent event.

“Women make you think, and make you want to be a better person and for ages, and even now sadly, they do not get the dues or credit they deserve. Often they are served the raw deal, which is unfair for the whole society,” stated Khan.

“In the past too, I have made my stance on equality of genders clear. I strongly believe dues meted out should be according to merit and not gender. Both genders have their own plus and minus points, though I love the women who make work so beautiful,” he claimed.

“Women make you think, and make you want to be a better person,” Shah Rukh Khan

Besides SRK, several leading ladies from Bollywood have highlighted the crucial issue of Bollywood’s Gender-Based Pay Gap. We have had Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, and several other actresses who have spoken up about the pay disparity in the past.

Vidya Balan

In an exclusive conversation with ShethePeople.TV, Vidya saidI am more than happy to talk about it. In fact, in all fairness, there are various other actresses who come to mind. They are now commanding the fees that they feel they deserve. As far as I am concerned, I think within the kind of films that I do, I am very happy with the fee that I have got. It’s wrong to compare my film to some other big ticket film. But within the context, or if you go to see the percentage vis-a-vis the budget, there are no complaints. I do think that the gap is still very big. But again change is under way.”

Priyanka Chopra

According to a Mid-Day article, it is now confirmed that Priyanka Chopra is taking up a project with Shonali Bose and has demanded a share in the film’s total profit. She will be is the first female actor in Bollywood to get a profit share in the movie.

Priyanka said, “I feel it every year, especially when you are doing movies with big actors, whether it’s India or America. I’ve been told straight up, it’s a female role in a movie with big male actors attached, your worth is not considered much.”

The actor herself brought up this issue in an interview. She said, “I think gender pay gap is a global problem. It exists in every profession, be it Hollywood, Bollywood or the business sector where male are paid more than females. I feel it’s a big problem and is not just confined to the film industry. My appearance on the top 10 list Forbes 100 celebrity list highlights the same problem,” she said.

Also Read: Is Bollywood scared of feminism?

Rani Mukerji

Earlier this year, Rani Mukerji talked about the “gender-based pay gap” prevalent in Bollywood. Rani said she joined the industry for love of acting, and not for the monetary gains. “The money is not what drove me to work. I worked to be happy. My parents took care of my finances,” Rani told Mid-Day.

Meanwhile, Rani also took a jibe at some of the actors who have been talking about the pay disparity. “Nowadays, a lot of people who don’t know how to act are also talking of pay parity. It’s important to hone your skills and become good at what you do, money will follow,” she said.

“Actors make money from endorsements or cutting ribbons. Money can come from anywhere,” Rani Mukerji

Alia Bhatt

Bollywood star Alia Bhatt is aware that her male counterparts have a ‘wider reach’ than her, and it seems to be unfair if she expects the same amount of money invested in her film as theirs.

In an interview with DNA, she had said, “Investing money in a film is directly co-related to the people you are bringing to the theatre. I’m not delusional that the same number of viewers who go to watch Varun’s movies will come to see my work.”

Talking about his ‘wider reach’, she explained that she doesn’t dwell on the uncontrollable expectation but rather focuses on outcome. “That’s why I can’t expect that the same amount of money, which is invested in his solo-starrers, is invested in mine, too.”

Alia Bhatt added, “I’ll neither undervalue nor overvalue myself because there’s a certain arrogance that comes along with it.”

Sonam Kapoor

Neerja actor Sonam Kapoor had rejected a movie due to a “disrespectful offer”.

“Recently I was offered a project, which I was excited about, but the money being paid was s***. I made a call and said, ‘this is very disrespectful’. There was shock on the other side. I told them, ‘you put me in a position after being in the industry for ten years and giving the most profitable film ‘Neerja‘ last year. So please tell me why is it that this is what you decided to give me’,” Sonam said in a PTI interview.

“They were like ‘Our last film with so and so star didn’t do well so we don’t have that much money.’ I was like, because of this xyz star whose film didn’t do well, the one person whose film actually did very well you want to underpay me to pay this ‘star’ more? I told them to move on and get someone else. Frankly, it was very disheartening,” she added.

In his book ‘An Unsuitable Boy’, filmmaker Karan Johar revealed why he didn’t cast Kareena Kapoor in Kal Ho Na Ho in 2003. Kapoor had quoted an equal fee as the male lead Shah Rukh Khan. Johar later took Preity Zinta in her place.

Deepika Padukone

Deepika made headlines when the news of her earning more than her male co-stars in Padmaavat went around. She said, “You can feel a sense of – am I stepping over the line, or do I deserve it? But if you feel you deserve it, then you do. For years, we’ve been made to feel that we should be okay with settling for less, with a promise of getting more the next time.”

Kangana Ranaut

Kangana, who is vocal about anything that is unfair in the industry, said, “If we, as actresses, keep instilling this inferiority complex in girls, there is no hope for better times. Personally, my logic for remuneration has always been that I have 365 days to work as much as a male star. An actor’s pay must be decided by the number of hours s/he works. Your gender is no yardstick for it.”

Read More Stories By Ria Das