Tinseltown isn’t the only film industry minting millionaires. Indian movies gross far less than their American-made counterparts, but they are typically produced for much cheaper–and recoup costs by selling satellite rights to TV channels.
Despite declining pricetags for those rights, Indian actors are still cashing in from film fees and endorsements. Meet the ten highest-paid stars in Bollywood.
Shah Rukh Khan.
Shah Rukh Khan made more than Samuel L. Jackson, Ryan Gosling and Matt Damon–without a hit in Hollywood.
Bollywood titan King Khan earned $38 million pretax in our scoring period, good enough for the top spot on Forbes inaugural tally of Bollywood’s Highest-Paid Actors. He banks big from starring roles in movies such as Raees, for which he scores upfront fees and a cut of the profit. He also pockets millions from lucrative endorsement deals and profitable productions helmed by his Red Chillies Entertainment.
Yearly earnings 37 Million Dollars.
He bests second-ranked Salman Khan, who still earns top rupee for flicks such as Sultan, which was the second-highest grossing Bollywood movie of 2016. The more recent Tubelight, which was released outside our scoring period, did not fare as well. He retains a slew of advertisements and a not-for-profit line of clothing and jewelry.
Yearly earnings 35.5 million dollars made more than Mark Ruffalo ($13 million) and Ryan Reynolds ($21.5 million) combined. His paycheck is thanks to a busy schedule that saw him appear in five movies in our scoring period–more than many of his fellow list members. Besides fees from hits like Dishoom and Jolly LLB 2, Kumar also pulls in seven figures hawking items from deodorant to Eveready batteries.
“Earlier in my life, I wanted to do it for money,” Kumar told Forbes in 2015 of acting. “Now I do it because I love it.”
Yearly Earnings 12.5 Million Dollars.
Aamir Khan scored a global hit with Dangal. His payday is comprised almost entirely of his cut of profits from the wrestling drama, which continues to ticket well worldwide. He will earn even more next year when remaining overseas checks come in. He films fewer movies than most Bollywood stars and does not endorse a plethora of products.
Yearly Earnings 11 Million Dollars.
One of two women on the ranking, Padukone’s upfront fee is on the rise for her lead role in the forthcoming Padmavati, FORBES estimates. But the 31-year-old star still makes most of her money from endorsements, advertising for more than a dozen brands from global giant Nike to local cellphone maker Oppo.