One of the biggest Bollywood stars in the country, who has been pulling the audience into theatres for almost two decades now, Kareena Kapoor Khan, has a wish. To get equally paid as her male co-stars.
Over the last 19 years, Kareena has not only headlined big, commercial successes like Jab We Met, Kabhie Khushi Kabhi Gham, 3 Idiots and Bajrangi Bhaijaan but also been a major pop culture influence with her characters like Poo and Geet.
Her upcoming films include Dharma Productions’ Good News, Forrest Gump remake Laal Singh Chadha and Karan Johar’s magnum opus Takht.
Filmmaker Karan Johar’s session with Kareena and actor Alia Bhatt closed the Jio MAMI Movie Mela with Star 2019 on Sunday evening. During the Q&A, a journalist asked the two actors if they ever had to walk out of a film or compromised for getting lesser pay than their respective male co-star.
To which, Kareena replied, “There were probably different reasons for walking out of films, but not because of this particular reason. I’d love to get paid as much as my male co-stars though.”
When the scribe mentioned that considering she and her Good News co-star, Akshay Kumar, are both superstars they would be getting equally paid, Kareena looked at Karan and said, “Please pay me as much as you paid Akshay Kumar, I’ll run out of MAMI!”
The filmmaker, who has produced Good News, began addressing the question by first saying, “There is a larger understanding of the economics of movies that sometimes is lesser known by people who don’t understand the business and how it functions. Many times, people make sweeping statements about it.”
The director-producer then described the arithmetic that decides the pay of an actor and said remuneration is subjective and cannot be put into a slot.
“I’m the first person, who’ll always want to pay what is completely right and justified and valid. I’ve always done it. But I feel there’s a larger understanding of the budget versus the verticals that you sell on digital and satellite that are driven by different data.”
“Sometimes the data of satellite and digital look at the history of the artiste, male or female I’m not specifying, and that determines a certain price factor and then that determines the final cost of what you pay.
“There are many women who deserve much more money than the men and there are men who have earned that because of their talent and just the work they have put in. So, it’s very subjective and cannot be just put into one strong slot. While I’m all about equality, when it comes to love and paying people, but there are larger optics to look at where we have to,” Karan concluded.
Even as the filmmaker moved on to another question in the session, after answering it, Alia came back to the pay parity and addressed it, saying, “I couldn’t answer it before but I’m very happy with what I’m getting paid and the god has been great.”