Mega Bucks for Mega Stars

first_imgOnce upon a time, not long ago, stars dazzled bright only in the skies and our B-town stars only on the silver screen. They were our gods and goddesses, luminous deities who mesmerized, transfixed and transported us to a never-never land of happy-ever-after! In the troubled, busy and confusing times we live in, these stars, with their spectacular and larger-than-life glamor and feel-good quotient, showed us the light, inspired hope and, in their own filmy way, demonstrated virtue’s victory over evil and generally distracted, entertained and gifted us an alternative reality that engaged, enchanted and even empowered. In India, entertainment is Bollywood and Bollywood is stars; creatures who are elusive, whom you see but can’t touch or connect with; dudes and dolls you read about, gossip about, fantasize about .… Their charm lay in the fact that they were out-of-bounds, inaccessible, off-limits to the howling mobs. Suddenly this concept has taken a U-turn! The big, sexy, glamorous, unattainable movie-star defined by magic and mystique now come to entertain you, every night, free of charge, on … the idiot box! From Big B, SRK, Salman Khan to Akshay, Ajay Devgun & Kajol, Preiti Zinta, Rani Mukherjee, Urmila Mataonkar, Raveena Tandon, Shushmita Sen, Sonali Bendre, Malaika Arora, Rakhi Sawant, they are all hitting TV screens in droves! Why? In Hollywood (a place the complex-ridden Bollywood is constantly yakking about), neither TV endorsements, TV anchoring or “special” insanely lucrative appearances at product launches, event openings, concerts or big-ticket weddings happen. So what’s going on? Why this desperate sell-out? Aren’t they scared that this insane and all-pervasive exposure will hurt their brand equity as stars?Long time film-tracker, Ashish Paul scoffs at these concerns. “Film stars of yesteryears — 50’s, 60’s, even 70’s — resided in a different world. Commercialism, consumerism and media-driven activities didn’t exist. It was a sweet, cozy, protected space with very high comfort levels. The advent of TV, but more critically the opening up of markets post-91, changed all that. This coincided with Bollywood getting bigger and more powerful as an undisputable pan-India — even global — brand. Very soon, along with cricket, it became the new religion, the great leveler, a seductive common factor that despite caste, creed, language, color, religion, region, culture, even country, bound all. It’s natural, hence, that today’s star-kids, (smart n’ savvy that they are), will participate, even drive this new revenue-generation stream. As for compromising on their ‘exclusive’ tag, I don’t think they give a damn! The amount of money they earn in these shows against the time spent, makes it a delectable fast-buck option.”Victor (Passage to India) Banerjee partially disagrees. He believes that, traditionally, there has always been a distinct divide between TV stars and movie stars, each ruling their own defined space. “Hollywood still maintains it and apart from the odd exception, doesn’t dream of indulging in any of the crazy trade-offs that blitz the scene, here. For a very long time I resisted TV work. It’s only when nothing worthwhile was coming my way in the movies, that I started doing TV serials. Ads, anchoring or special appearances remain, mostly a no-no. There’s a limit to commodification! Everything in my life is not up for sale.” Big Brands like the Amitabh Bachchan (reportedly $300,000 per episode for anchoring Big Boss 3) or Shah Rukh Khan (alleged to have taken home a whopping $8 million for anchoring Kya Aap Paanchvi Pass Se Tez Hai?) are likely to brush away Banerjee’s diffidence. So are stars like Salman Khan, who is reported to receive $18 million for Season 1 of Dus Ka Dum or Ajay-Kajol, who are said to receive $2 million combined for judging Rocky&Roll Family. Even forgotten actress Urmila Matondkar scooped up a cool $1.5 million for judging Waar Parivar. On the anvil are out-of-work star Preity Zinta, reportedly offered a cool $2 million for a show entitled The Preity Zinta Show, where she will interview/chat with her celeb, B-town friends. Also, the red-hot Bipasha Basu was allegedly signed by SRK’s Red Chillies to anchor a show on the lines of America’s Next Top Model. Payout? $130,000 per episode. Wait, there is more! In these insanely glamour-driven times where everything Bollywood-specific is hugely in demand, stars drive everything. It’s only natural, hence, that stars leverage their marketability across every conceivable revenue-generating avenue. So, enter concerts, weddings and special appearances! King Khan, demanding — and getting — anything between $300,000 to $600,000 depending on what you want him to do. Whether it’s high-ticket affairs like Lakshmi Mittal’s daughter’s or real estate hot-shot Kanti Govani’s weddings, SRK is a must. If he is required to grace his presence right through, covering all the functions, the payout is said to be a gigantic $2.4 million. Next in line are Salman Khan ($200,000) Katrina Kaif ($160,000), Govinda ($140,000) and Lara Dutta ($60,000). Saif, Ranbir, Deepika, Imraan and Asin are also said to be in the $100,000 bracket for special appearances. And now small-timers too are leaping onto this bandwagon. Malaika Arora, Celina Jaitley, Dia Mirza, Rakhi Sawant and Isha Koppikar also stand to pick up a cool $20,000 for an item jig. Can’t afford that? Not to worry. The likes of Koena Mitra, Priti Jhangiani, Sanobar Kabir, Payal Rohatgi and gang come between $10,000 to $14,000. The moolah is there, all the way. The gorgeous Kat Kaif was offered $200,000 to perform in a Mumbai 5-star hotel last year. This year, reportedly due to her No.1 status, she’s been offered double the amount for a 10-minute jig! She was also said to have been paid a cool $160,000 — you’re not gonna believe it, guys — wave at the crowd at a recent concert in Dubai! A $140,000 paycheck also came her way for a 30-minute performance at a farmhouse in Delhi. The other sizzler, Bips Basu, was said to have been offered a sexy $200,000 to greet last year’s New Year at a Mumbai 5-star hotel, but she refused because of 26/11. This year she is supposed to have been offered and even larger fee, to which she has agreed. Neha Dhupia, Udita Goswami, Tanusree Dutta all pick up anything between $10,000 to $40,000 to do a routine number. Oh, how can one forget the deadly Mallika Sherawat? She reportedly took home the big one — $600,000 to $1 million for a jig.TV appearances, ad endorsements, weddings, concerts, special appearances. Big and even small stars are flooded with revenue-generating opportunities from a Related Itemslast_img

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