In the women-dominated TV industry, actresses take home fat pay cheques, while their male counterparts have to settle for much less.
Ever wondered how much an abla, besahara bahu would be getting to shed those copious glycerine tears on television? The answer is — thousands of bucks, daily. Forget the glass ceiling, TV actresses are not only getting their due, but much more than their male counterparts can demand!
"The TV industry is dominated by women, both, on and off-screen. And it's one of the most lucrative options for women today," opines Rajan Shahi, producer of shows like "Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai" and "Chand Chhupa Badal Mein". Shahi has launched actresses like Sara Khan
and Parul Chauhan
, who are counted among the highest paid stars on television today. "If an actor is able to earn enough fame during her first show to fetch her a lead in another serial, she's bound to be in the league of high grossing stars," he reasons.
Interestingly, since most TV serials in India
are women-oriented, the male actors are paid much lesser than their female counterparts. However, the actors aren't perturbed by the gender bias. "Not everybody can be Ronit Roy!" says a popular lead actor, on conditions of anonymity. He further adds, "Although a male and a female lead, both start their career at the same pay package, the female lead's salary increases manifold if the serial becomes a hit, while the male lead only gets a small hike. Which is why male actors work extra hard to make their chemistry work with the female co-star, so that even the men are considered indispensable for the show."
Take for instance the cast of "Uttaran". While Nandish Sandhu draws '20,000 per day for his role in the serial, the female leads — Rashmi Desai and Tina Dutta
— are reportedly drawing approximately '60,000 to '65,000 per day.
But, Ekta Kapoor, the doyen of small screen, has found a way to keep the pay cheques of the female leads in her serials, in check. "While other production houses sign newcomers at a miserably low pay package of '2200 to '5000 per day, Ekta signs them for a minimum of 15k, but with a lock-in period of three years. So, there is usually no negotiation for a hike in her production house even if the actress or the serial becomes immensely popular a few months after its launch," informs a producer. Case in point: Ankita Lokhande, who has a huge fan following for her role in "Pavitra Rishta", but is getting only '15,000 to '20,000.
While Dolly Bindra
was rumoured to be getting a cool '1 crore per episode, sources say the figure would be somewhere closer to ' 70,000. And that's still not any comparison to what Smriti Irani aka Tulsi was commanding at the height of her career, when she earned '75,000 per shift! "We don't have actresses like Smriti Irani on TV anymore, who will be paid so much. She was one of her kind. Irani, who played Tulsi in "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi" created history on TV with such an impressive pay package," says Saurabh Tiwari, fiction head of a popular TV channel.