Forbes has just released its 2017 ‘Bollywood’s Highest-Paid Actors’ list, ranking the top 10 highest earners. Shah Rukh Khan is Bollywood’s highest earner, banking $38 million pretax in our scoring period thanks to upfront fees and profit from movies such as Raees. He also earns big from endorsements. Endorsements remain a major source of income for Bollywood stars, with most banking more than an estimated $5 million from advertisements in our time frame. Akshay Kumar, for example, shills for some 12 brands, including Eveready batteries and a deodorant maker.
About Akshay Kumar
Akshay Kumar’s place in the list will come as no surprise as he has also previously appeared in Forbes 100 list of the highest paid celebrities in the world consecutively since 2015, when the list began incorporating stars outside of Hollywood.
With a career spanning 25 years, Akshay Kumar is no stranger to fans of Indian cinema, with over 30 million fans on social media alone. Born Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia, the 49 year old actor began his career in Bangkok, working as a chef and studying martial arts. Upon his return to Mumbai, Akshay set up his very own martial art school, where a student suggested he tried modelling. Whilst pursuing this new line of work, Akshay was soon scouted by a producer for a lead role and made his screen debut in 1991. Akshay would soon captive the audience’s attention in the 1992 suspense thriller Khiladi, going on to star in a string of action films that have earned him the reputation as India’s answer to Jackie Chan.
Akshay Kumar’s forthcoming films include the sci-fi feature 2.0, Gold based on India’s first Olympic Gold medallist post India achieving its Independence from Britain, and Padman, the world’s first feature film on menstrual hygiene.
About Aamir Khan
Despite a giant hit at the global box office with Dangal, Aamir Khan ranks fourth due to the constraints of the lists’s June to June scoring period. His $12.5 million payday is comprised almost entirely of his cut of backend profits from the boxing drama, which is now India’s highest-grossing film. The movie continues to ticket well worldwide, meaning he’ll be earning more next year when the rest of his checks from the movie come in. Unlike most Bollywood actors, he does not endorse a plethora of products.
Two women, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra, make the top 10, despite a pay gap in Bollywood that sees actresses typically earn far less than actors.
Bollywood’s Highest-Paid Actors
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Earnings estimates are tracked from June 2016 to June 2017 and based on data from Nielsen, Box Office Mojo and IMDB, as well as interviews with industry insiders. All figures are pretax; fees for agents, managers and lawyers are not deducted.