The Bollywood is becoming a major commercial centre in film-making in the world, coming just next to the celebrated Hollywood. Now even Forbes has stamped its authority on this fact. Actors from no other country apart from India, figure in the Forbes List of World’s Highest Paid Celebrities. This list has a cut-off at minimum $15 millions earning in the year. India has three stars in their Top 30 list. The Forbes List contains four Indian stars, namely, Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan and Amitabh Bachchan.
Here is the top 11 list of the highest paid and most successful Bollywood actors.
11. Varun Dhawan
Varun Dhawan is one of the top stars of Bollywood from the millennial generation. He is the son of famous director of hit films, David Dhawan. Varun Dhawan made his acting debut along with co-star Aliya Bhatt and Siddhartha Malhotra in Karan Johar’s 2012 film Student of the Year. Hi debut film was a big hit. Varun dhawan followed it up with another hit, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania. His later films were ABCD 2, Dilwale and Badlapur. The last named film was a big hit again, and Varun was critically acclaimed for his role as a person waiting for years to seek his vengeance. His later films include Dishoom and Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya. He charges around Rs. 14 crores for a film. His net worth is $5 million and he features in the Forbes India 2016 celebrity list with an earning of Rs. 25 crores.
10. Ranbir Kapoor
Ranbir Kapoor is one of the most popular stars of Bollywood. He has featured in the Forbes India list of most popular celebrities in India since 2012. He has been ranked with estimated annual earnings of $14 million and more over the years. He is considered the most bankable star. He is the son of the star couple Rishi and Neetu Kapoor and grandson of the great showman of India, Raj Kapoor. He made his acting debut in 2007 in the movie Saawariya. The movie was not a financial success but he got critical acclaim from all quarters. His next film, Bachna Ae Haseeno was a big hit. His next films Wake Up Sid, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, and Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year; catapulted him to the top bracket of stars. Later he acted in movies which were appreciated widely and also became hits at the box office.
His movies Barfi, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Tamasha established his position as a very reliable star. Recently, his film Ae Dil Hai Mushkil was commercially very successful. He became one of the highest-paid stars. He has received two consecutive Filmfare awards for Best Actor, out of the total five that he has received so far. He has his own production house Picture Shuru Productions, and is a co-owner of the Indian Super League football team Mumbai City FC. He has also endorsed several top brands like Pepsi, Panasonic, Renault, and many more. Ranbir Kapoor makes Rs. 25 crores per film. According to Forbes India, his earning for 2016 is Rs. 55.5 crores.
09. Ranveer Singh
Ranveer Singh, whose full name is Ranveer Singh Bhavnani is the present generation of top Bollywood star. He made his debut with the film Band Baaja Baaraatin 2010. This film with no known stars went on to become a block-buster hit. He won a Filmfare Award in the Best Male Debut category. This was followed by Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, which again was a hit.
Ranveer Singh has not looked back since. He went on to grab meaty leading roles from well-known established directors. He starred in several hits such as Lootera, Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, Gunday, and more recently in Bajirao Mastani. His upcoming movie, once again with Director Bhansali, titled Padmavati, is being anticipated keenly. He is the brand ambassador for several top brands. Ranvir Singh gets Rs. 20 crores per film. His earning for 2016, as per Forbes India, is Rs. 67.42 crores.
08. Shahid Kapoor
Shahid Kapoor whose official name is Shahid Khattar, is the son of actor couple Pankaj Kapoor and Neelima Azeem. Shahid Kapoor was exposed to Bollywood since a young age and has featured in many dance sequences in film and music videos. He made his Bollywood acting debut with the film Ishq Vishk. This was followed by several films, none of which were great hits.
In 2006 his movie Vivah was a great hit. His next colossal hit followed soon, and Jab We Met also got him the Filmfare award for Best Actor. Later, he starred in several hit films like Kanimey, R..Rajkumar etc. For Haider and Udta Punjab, he won again the Filmfare Best Actor award. He is also a celebrity host in many TV shows. Shahid Kapoor takes Rs. 16 crores per film. His earning for 2016, as per Forbes India, is Rs. 16.25 crores.
07. Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan is also known as the legendary super star, ‘Star of the Millennium’, ‘Shahenshah of Bollywood’ and the ‘Big B’. Amitbh Bachchan made his film debut in 1969 in the film Saat Hindustani, where he played one of the seven protagonists. In his early years he worked in several movies such as Anand, Parwana, Reshma aur Shera, Bombay to Goa etc. which didn’t do much at the box office. His box office success started with Zanjeer in 1974. This was followed by Abhiman, Deewar, Namak Haram, Mazboor, Sholay and many more. Thereafter, an era began which was totally dedicated to him. He became the “one-man industry”. He has acted in 190 films in his career spanning almost five decades.
Big B has won 4 National Film awards, 15 Filmfare awards. He has received Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards from the Government of India. Government of France has awarded the highest civilian honour, Knight of the Legion of Honour to him. Big B has also starred in Hollywood movie The Great Gatsby. Big B still commands Rs. 29 crores per film. His earning for 2016, as per Forbes India, is Rs. 32.62 crores. In the Forbes list of Highest-paid actors globally, he is placed at #21 with an earnings of $ 20.5 million.
06. Hrithik Roshan
Hrithik Roshan, son of actor filmmaker Rakesh Roshan, is the topmost dancing and action star of Bollywood. Renowned for his physique and dancing abilities, he has also received six Filmfare awards. He made his acting debut in the film Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, which was a runaway success and made dancing and dances an integral mandatory attraction for a Bollywood film.
His later films were also big hits at the box office. To name a few, these films were Fiza, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, Koi Mil Gaya etc, His Krishh series were also very popular. His notable other fiulms were Dhoom 2, Jodhaa Akbar, Guxaarish, Zindagi Na Milegi Dubara, Agneepath, Bang Bang etc. Hrithik has also hosted a few TV shows on dance. He has also endorsed several top brands of the world. Hrithik Roshan receives emoluments upto Rs. 50 crores per film.
05. Ajay Devgn
Ajay Devgn, also spells his name as Ajay Devgan, with an “a”. His real name is Vishal Veeru Devga. He has established himself as one of the top action film star of Bollywood. He is also a producer and director. He has won 2 National Film awards and four Filmfare awards. He has also been honoured with Padma Shri award by the Government of India. Ajay Devgan made his Bollywood debut in 1991 with the film Phool Aur Kaante which was a major hit. He was awarded Filmfare Award for the Best male debut. His next film Jigar was a hit too.
His later films did not do too well. However, in 1994 all his releases like Dilwale, Suhaag and Vijaypath were big box-office hits. His later film Najayaz, Hulchul, Gundaraaj , Haqeeqat, Jung and many other had a mixed response. From 1998 onwards, his films like Zakhm, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Major Saab, Pyar To Hona Hi Tha were big commercial success. His acting in many of these films were highly appreciated and he won several awards. There was no looking back. His later movies like Company, Gangajal , Kaal, Yuva, Golmal, Raincoat, Omkar, Sunday , Apharan etc. further showcased his acting prowess.
In his post-2010 films, he was a force to reckon with having churned out one hit after another. Some of these films were Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, Golmaal 3, Raajneeti, Singham, Bol Bachchan, Son of Sardaar, Atithi Tum Kab Jaoge?, Singham Returns and Drishyam. In 2016, Devgan released his directorial venture Shivaay. Ajay Devgan takes Rs. 25 crores per film.
04. Akshay Kumar
Akshay Kumar, whose real name is Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia, is today the most popular and bankable star of Bollywood. His movies have grossed the most revenue by a star, in the history of Bollywood, which exceed $ 500 million. This makes him the most successful star in the history of Indian cinema. He has acted in over hundred films, and won Filmfare award twice. He was recently awarded the National Film Award for Best Actor for his performance in the film Rustom. Akshay Kumar had a very poor start in Bollywood films, debuting in 1987, with films like Aaj and Dancer, which went unnoticed. He was noticed with the action film Khiladi. His later movies like Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Mohra, Elaan, Yeh Dillagi were box-office successes. He later gave more hit films like Suhaag, Sapoot, Dhadkan, Andaz, Waqt, Hera Pheri, Mujhse Shadi Karogi , garam Masala, Bhool Bhulaiyya and many more. After 2007, all his movies were great hits and he came to be reckoned as the most popular and saleable Bollywood male actor. He has starred in several Rs. 100-crore earning films like Holiday, Gabbar Is Back, Rowdy Rathore, Airlift etc.
He is well-known for his Khiladi-series films and has been nick-named Indian Jackie Chan for his action sequences. Akshay Kumar is also a highly paid TV host in reality shows. He has his own production houses called Hari Om Entertainment and Grazing Goat Pictures. He owns the team franchise Khalsa Warriors in the World Kabaddi League. He has been ranked 9th in the Forbes’ first global list of highest-paid actors in the world in 2015, and lists in the Forbes List of Top Celebrities for 2016.
He has also been awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India. He is married to Twinkle Khanna who is the daughter of legendary superstar Rajesh Khanna. Very few people are aware that though he is born in India, he also has Canadian citizenship. Akshay Kumar gets Rs. 45 crores for every film. His earning for 2016, as per Forbes India, is Rs. 203.05 crores. In the global Forbes list of Highest-paid actors, he occupies the #12 spot with #$31.5 million.
03. Aamir Khan
Aamir Khan, full name Mohammed Aamir Hussain Khan, is one of the most popular stars of Bollywood. He is also known as ‘Mr. Perfect’ for the perfectionist that he is, and also the fact that he takes up only one film at one time and gives it his best. He is an actor, producer and director. He has received 4 National Film Awards and 8 Filmfare awards so far. He has been honoured by the Governmnet of India with Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan. Aamir Khan made his debut as a child artist in the film Yaadon KI Baraat. He then acted in a film Holi and then in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak which broke all box office records. He later acted in a lot of romantic films which were hits, such as Dil, Raja Hindustani, Earth, Sarfarosh etc.
He also produced the film Lagaan. Later he starred in hit films like Fanaa, Rang De Basanti, Ghajini, Three Idiots, Dhoom 3, and Dangal. All these films were block-buster hits. He has also directed the highly acclaimed film, Taare Zameen Par.He has also produced and directed the TV show, Satyamev Jayate. His earning for 2016, has not been officially published. Although it is known that Aamir Khan charges Rs. 60 crores for a film along with a share in the profits. He has reportedly received a total of 140 crores from his latest movie, Dangal.
02. Salman Khan
Very few people know that the full name of super star Salman Khan is Abdul Rashid Salim Salman Khan. Son of the famous film writer Salim Khan of the Salim-javed duo, Salman Khan made is debut in a little known film Biwi Ho To Aisi in 1988. His next film, his solo starrer Maine Pyar Kiya in 1989 broke all box-office records and landed him in the top league of stars. He is one of the world’s biggest stars with a fan following exceeding a billion. He has won accolades for his acting, which includes two National Film Awards and two Filmfare Awards. Some of his movies have been all-time box-office successes year after year, like Dabangg , Bodyguard , Ek Tha Tiger, Kick, Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Sultan.
Salman Khan has consistently topped the list of Indian celebrities , which includes Forbes India List 2014 in terms of both fame and earnings, 2015 list of ‘Celebrity 100 : The World’s Top-Paid Entertainers 2015’, and also in Forbes India List, while being included in the Forbes Global Celebrity List for 2016. Salman Khan is also a humanitarian philanthropist and has his well-known non-profit charitable organization Being Human. Salman Khan charges Rs. 60 crores per film, besides a share of the profits. His earning for 2016, as per Forbes India, is Rs. 270.33 crores. In the Forbes List of World’s Highest-paid Actors, he is at #16 with earnings of $28.5 million.
01. Shahrukh Khan
Shah Rukh Khan, with fan base exceeding one billion, is well known as the “Baadshah of Bollywood” and “King Khan”. He is often referred by his initials, SRK. He has appeared in more than 80 Bollywood movies and has 14 Filmfare awards to his credit. He is also a film producer and gets a share from the distribution rights of his films. Shahrukh Khan began his career with television serials, Fauzi and Circus to name a few, in 1987. He made his Bollywood debut in 1992 with Deewana. He got recognition for playing grey characters in movies like Darr, Baazigar, Anzaam etc. Then he rose to fame with romantic roles in movies like Dulhania Le Jayenge, Dil To Pagal Hai, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Mohabbatein, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham etc. His more recent hits include Chennai Express, Happy New Year, Raees and few more.
He has been awarded with a Padma Shri by the Government of India; and the Government of France awarded him the top awards which includes the highest civilian honor, the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the Légion d’honneur. He is the co-founder of the motion picture production company Red Chillies Entertainment and also the co-owner of the Indian Premier League cricket team Kolkata Knight Riders. He performs numerous stage shows and appears in social and charity drives. He was honoured with UNESCO’s Pyramide con Marni award in 201 for his support of children’s education. He regularly features in listings of the most influential people in the world by magazines like the Time, Newsweek, Forbes etc.
Shahrukh Khan reportedly charges Rs. 50 – 60 crores per film besides a take on the profits. His earning for 2016, as per Forbes India, is Rs. 221.75 crores. Forbes puts him in the Global List of Highest-paid Actors at #10 spot with earnings of $33 million.
The rankings of stars are not a permanent phenomenon. With the release of each new movie, the fate of the stars hangs in balance. One single hit or flop affects the professional fee of these stars. The stars of yesterday may not get any work the very next month. On the contrary, a newbie star with just one hit may demand a price that matches the established star. That is how show business works. The economics work totally on the “Here and Now” principle. In fact, one should not rue the high price that stars command, because sometimes it may turn out to be their last fat salary. Unlike other normal working professionals, they do not even get a notice!!
Compiled and written by: Raj Kumar Hansdah