The film industry is a lucrative one, at least for the top stars anywhere in the world. The Hollywood actors earn in millions. The Indian actors, especially the Hindi Film Industry heroes have their hands full as well. One cannot grudge them their due.
Their films do great business and hence they have a right to demand their worth. The Tamil Film Industry, also known as the Kollywood Industry is one of the most developed and organised film industries in India. In addition to producing high quality films, they have some of the most powerful actors in the field as well.
Maybe, the films might have fallen short of expectations when you compare them with the Bollywood films. That is purely because of the higher reach of the Hindi language. As far as technical brilliance goes, the Tamil Films are much better than the Hindi ones. They earn an equal amount of revenue if not more at times. Films like Enthiran, I, Baahubali, and 2.0 (in the making) command a great opening.
The Tamil film heroes may not get as much as their Hindi counterparts do, but they still command a lot of money.
Let us look at the list of top 10 richest and highest paid Kollywood actors in 2017-2018
10. Arya: Rs. 4 to 6 crores (INR 40 to 60 million)
At No 10 on the list, we have Arya who commands remuneration in the range of Rs. 4 to 6 crores per film. He is also one of the most erudite Tamil actors having worked as a computer engineer before joining the film industry. He is one of the few actors who do not come from a filmy background.
Therefore, he does not have the advantage of a mentor to push him along. He has made his own place in the industry by sheer dint of hard work. He has a good physique to match his green eyes and tremendous chocolate boy looks. He is a versatile actor, capable of ticking the funny bone as well.
9. Simbu: Rs. 7 crores (INR 70 million)
Simbu has been in the Tamil film industry for a long time now. His full name is T R Silambarasan. Son of actor, director, and producer, T R Rajendar, Simbu had been a child artiste in his childhood. Today, he is a full-fledged hero in his own right. At No. 9 in the list, Simbu commands a price of Rs. 7 crores per film. He is a good dancer as well. As notorious as his father was during his prime, Simbu has his share of controversies in the Tamil film industry. In fact, among the present lot, he is the most controversial actor.
8. Karthi: Rs. 8 to 10 crores (INR 80 to 100 million)
At No. 8 on the list, we have Karthi, the younger son of yesteryear hero, Sivakumar. He is not as famous as his elder brother Suriya is. However, Karthi has his fan following. In spite of delivering more flops than hits, he commands the price of Rs 8 to 10 crores because of his earthy charm. He exudes a sense of innocence and appears sincere in his portrayals. He may not be as flamboyant as the other heroes in Kollywood, but you can never predict anything. One hit can change the entire equation.
7. Dhanush: Rs 10 to 15 crores (INR 100 to 150 Million)
Dhanush, the son-in-law of the superstar, Rajnikanth, comes in at No. 7 on the list. Having a wiry frame, he might look out of place as a hero in Kollywood. However, he exudes a sense of casualness and brings reality to his portrayal as the boy next door. Many of his successful films portray this image of Dhanush. The films showing him as a hero capable of bashing up villains by the dozens have not gone down very well with the audience. He is a good playback singer as well with his rendition of “Why this Kolaveri Di” becoming famous all over India.
6. Vikram: Rs 15 crores (INR 150 Million)
Vikram, an intense actor comes in at No. 6 on this list. As far as acting capabilities go, Vikram is as good as the incomparable Kamal Haasan. However, he prefers to maintain a low profile thereby affecting his popularity a great deal. You can trust Vikram to portray the lover boy image as well as the ruthless police officer with equal ease.
His performance as a person with multiple personality disorder in the film Anniyan, won him many accolades all over the world. Recently, he had portrayed the role of a wronged lover beautifully in the blockbuster, ‘I’. He commands a base price of Rs 15 crores. He deserves more for his versatility as an actor.
5. Suriya: Rs 20 to 25 crores (INR 200 to 250 Million)
Suriya, the elder son of actor Sivakumar, comes in at No. 5 on this list. An actor known for his ability to adapt to the situation, Suriya commands a base price of around Rs 20 to 25 crores per film. He has intense features making him one of the most serious looking actors in the Tamil film industry.
In spite of being shorter than the stereotype Tamil film hero is, he commands great respect for his acting skills. People have appreciated his role in the Singham series. He has performed the dual role of the hero as well as the villain in the film ’24’, a film about time travel. Married to actor Jyothika, Suriya has the maximum number of female fans in the Kollywood Industry.
4. Ajith Kumar: Rs 25 to 30 crores (INR 250 to 300 Million)
A versatile actor in his own right, Ajith Kumar is at No 4 in this list. He enjoys a healthy rivalry with Vijay. A self-made actor, Ajith does not have any Godfathers in the film industry. An excellent racer in his younger days, a series of accidents made him switch over to do films. Maybe the racing industry’s loss is the film industry’s gain.
Married to actor Shalini, he is one the very few actors in the entire film industry to lead a non-controversial life. One of his best portrayals was the seven different kinds of roles he did in the film, Citizen. He has also performed memorable roles in films like Mankatha and Vedhalam. Having a tremendous fan following, he commands a price of Rs 25 to 30 crores per film.
3: Vijay: Rs 25 to 30 crores (INR 250 to 300 Million)
Arch rival to Ajith Kumar on the film screen, they are great friends off the screen. Their rivalry is such that they have done only one film together and that too when both of them were struggling in the industry. The fan rivalry is such that you cannot see them together on screen again. Born to former filmmaker, A Chandrasekhar, Vijay has a background in films, quite unlike Ajith Kumar.
A good actor in his own way, Vijay has a way of charming his fans with his superb footwork. One of accomplished performances has been in the film, ‘Thuppaki’, a role enacted with equal aplomb by Bollywood hero Akshay Kumar in the Hindi version, ‘Holiday’. Vijay commands a base price of Rs 25 to 30 crores per film.
2. Kamal Haasan: Rs 25 to 30 crores (INR 250 to 300 Million)
Arguably, one of the finest and most versatile Indian actors of all time, Kamal Haasan is an institution by himself. Amitabh Bachchan might be the only actor capable of matching Kamal Haasan in his versatility. Kamal Haasan may lack the height and the baritone voice of the Big B, but he more than compensates with his histrionics and adaptability. He has acted with great aplomb in not only Tamil films, but also in Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, and Hindi films. In this aspect, he towers over the Big B as well.
The list of his memorable roles can run into reams of papers but it should be worthwhile to mention his versatility in the film Dasavatharam where he portrayed 10 different characters. Not new to courting controversies, Kamal Haasan has had his share in plenty. Nevertheless, he is an actor par excellence, commanding Rs 25 to 30 crores per film, worthy of the No 2 spot in this list.
1. Rajnikanth: Rs 40 to 60 crores (INR 400 to 600 Million)
Rajnikanth is the perfect definition of a superstar. You need not be a great actor to become a star. If it boils down to acting skills alone, there is no one to match Kamal Haasan in India. However, as far as popularity is concerned, Rajnikanth is head and shoulders above everyone in this list. Rising from humble beginnings, he was a bus conductor known for stylish mannerisms.
This fast tracked him into the film industry. He has played second fiddle to Kamal Haasan in numerous films in his younger days. Today, he is an icon, capable of winning any elections hands down. Commanding a price of Rs 40 to 60 crores per film, Rajnikanth is the true superstar of the Kollywood film industry. His remuneration for the upcoming film 2.0 is Rs 60 crores.
The Kollywood film industry is a very popular industry. The people of Tamil Nadu literally worship the heroes and heroines. The best example is that of the late chief ministers of the state, MGR and Jayalalitha. Without this industry, they would have been absolute strangers. This industry made them into icons. The same trend continues even today. Rajnikanth can bring the traffic to a halt by just stepping out of his house. Such an entertainer deserves the high price he commands. The same logic holds true for the others as well.