The debate over equal pay in Bollywood seemed to have started making some shift with female actors demanding for the same and their male co-stars supporting their demands. However, the reports around Gangubai Kathiawadi fees has again opened a can of worms. Looks like there still needs a lot more change so that every female lead gets paid equal to their male counterparts.
As per a recently released report Alia Bhatt, who plays the protagonist in the recently released film Gangubai Kathiawadi, charged ₹20 crore for the film. On the other hand, actor Ajay Devgn who had an extended cameo in the film was paid ₹11 crore. If the reports are to be believed, the male actor who was seen on-screen for a short period in the film was paid more than half the amount paid to the female lead of the film. Alia Bhatt played the role of Gangubai, a real-life social activist and matriarch, and carried the film on her shoulders. Wasn’t Devgn overpaid considering his role in the film? So far, there have been no statements by the actors to confirm the reports about their payments.
Alia Bhatt Ajay Devgn Gangubai Kathiawadi Fees
No matter how important was Devgn’s cameo in the film, it is safe to assume that it was not as important as Bhatt’s character. Then how was his fees set so high? Instances like these are proof of how far we are from equal pay in Bollywood.
Had Devgn played the male lead in the film, there was no chance that he would be paid equal to what Bhatt would be paid. Many argue that seniority has some significance and the actors should be paid considering that as well but how does Devgn’s seniority over Bhatt matter in the film where it was her who essayed the main protagonist in the film?
The same report revealed that the senior actor Seema Pahwa who seen playing a significant role in the film got paid ₹20 lakh while Shantanu Maheshwari who made his Bollywood debut with the film was paid ₹50 lakh. Clearly, seniority or experience has nothing to do with how much Gangubai Kathiawadi actors got paid. Do the rules of payment change suddenly when its a woman leading the film? As per reports, the film was made on an approximate budget of ₹100 crore.
In an ideal world, an actor who does the most work in a film, deserves the most pay. The actor who carried the plot on her shoulders deserves the most pay and fortunately Alia Bhatt was reportedly was paid the highest. Equality has to come with equity, the difference between paying the same amount to both male and female lead of a film and paying female lead barely 50 per cent more than the male special appearance.
Views expressed are author’s own.