Vidya Balan's success story has given actresses the hope for a brighter tomorrow in the Indian film industry. But they have a long way to go, says Kareena Kapoor adding that she will fight for equal "pay cheques" in filmdom.
The 31-year-old shared her side of the story in a talk about "How Does a Heroine Become the Hero?" at the India Today Conclave 2012 here Friday.
"I was in Los Angeles sometime back when I got to know that 'Salt' was actually written for Tom Cruise. And Angelina Jolie was actually the second choice, it wasn't Brad Pitt or anyone else. In India, there's no such choice.
"It's always between three or four Khans or other male actors. I guess female actors are there for just dancing with them. We have to stand behind Shah Rukh and Salman (Khan) and say, 'Hey! I'm here too, give me something to do.' And the paychecks... what Salman gets and what I get... let's not even get there," said Kareena.
She is said to be the highest earning female star in Bollywood, and reportedly demanded Rs.8 crore for Madhur Bhandarkar's "Heroine". But Kareena still doesn't consider herself a hero among all heroines.
"I don't think I'm a hero because all the films like '3 Idiots', 'Ra.One' and 'Bodyguard' that made Rs.100 crore-Rs.150 crore, their producers and all the three Khans took home their money. What am I left with? 'Chhammak challo'?
"I don't get a pay cheque as much as them. I am not on the same platform as them. But I am going to fight for it, and hopefully one day we will get there. But I do believe that god has been kind. Somewhere my hard work has been recognised, and I am also glad that there's been a stellar performance by Vidya Balan and she proved to be the hero of 2011 (with 'The Dirty Picture')," she added.
The year awaits a power-packed performance by Kareena in "Heroine" and she says: "I am giving it my very best."
"And for a change it is fun not standing behind or beside Shah Rukh or Salman," she quipped.