When one of Bollywood's leading ladies, Kareena Kapoor, recently demanded over £1,000,000 to act in Madhur Bhandarkar's "Heroine", a few insiders laughed, believing she would never get such a sum. However, to everyone's surprise, Kareena was walked away with just that sum - making her the highest paid actress in the industry today.
There is still, however, quite a large disparity between pay for male and female leads in the industry. High-profile actors Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan, for example, make approximately £3,000,000 per film.
Meanwhile, Kareena tops the list of best-paid actresses, with Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra behind her; each of them receives, approximately, £600,000 per film. The former saw her sale value jump quite significantly following the success of a dance number called "Chikni Chameli", from the film Agneepath, while the latter is still riding high on successes like "Fashion" and "Dostana".
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan comes in next, receiving £500,000 per film and Deepika Padukone follows the former Miss World with £400,000 fee.
''Working with Kareena is like a dream come true. She was always my first choice,'' Bhandarkar said to celebrity Web site Glamsham.
Meanwhile, according to Rediff, other actresses in the top ten are Vidya Balan, Sonam Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Anushka Sharma and Genelia D'Souza.
Do remember, however, the figures quoted above are only fees for appearing in a film. The bigger money comes from brand promotions and advertising deals.
Aishwarya, for example, recently signed a monstrous deal to promote an Indian jewellery brand, while Kareena bagged a deal with a soft drink company for £600,000 and is, at present, an ambassador for over 16 brands.
Incidentally, the former Miss World is planning a return to Bollywood, after her first child was born in November. She is expected to appear in the forthcoming action-thriller "Sarkar 3". The news could mean stiffer competition for Kareena. However, the final factor contributing to big paydays appears to be advertising, rather than the films they are supposed to be making.
Top Five Best Paid Actresses in Bollywood
1. Kareena Kapoor
2. Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif
3. Aishwarya Rai
4. Deepika Padukone