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Talk about correction in inflated showbiz salaries is growing louder. A valuable conversation has begun

The film business has always been risky. But showbiz has unarguably grown riskier over the last couple of decades, with actors taking up an ever-growing proportion of a film’s budget — upto 50 per cent, in some cases.

Express Adda, Express Adda series, Karan Johar, Alia Bhatt, Indian express, Opinion, Editorial, Current AffairsThe usual excuse for the huge salaries paid to actors, especially the top stars — that they deserve their fat paychecks as they are the ones drawing crowds to the theatres on the make-or-break opening weekend — seems to have fewer takers now.

At the recent Express Adda, when actor Alia Bhatt, who recently turned producer, was asked if it was time for a correction in actors’ remuneration, in light of the box office havoc wreaked by the Covid-19 pandemic, she said “it should happen”. Thinking along similar lines is the Telugu Producers Guild which stopped the shooting of all films starting August 1 to seek a post-pandemic “restructuring” of the film industry, including the remuneration demanded by actors.

The usual excuse for the huge salaries paid to actors, especially the top stars — that they deserve their fat paychecks as they are the ones drawing crowds to the theatres on the make-or-break opening weekend — seems to have fewer takers now. Calls for change are growing louder in film industries. Last year, filmmaker Karan Johar spoke about how “fed up” he was of actors demanding higher fees even when the film industry was experiencing one of its worst phases, while his colleague Zoya Akhtar said that the gap between actors’ and technicians’ fees was “offensive”.

The film business has always been risky. But showbiz has unarguably grown riskier over the last couple of decades, with actors taking up an ever-growing proportion of a film’s budget — upto 50 per cent, in some cases. It is worth wondering how much better the excess money could be used. Could it, for example, be used to pay writers better or plug the gap that Akhtar mentions? Perhaps it could be used to properly develop and research a project before shooting begins. Whichever direction the current conversation about the film business’s woes takes, it seems that in the matter of astronomical salaries, it may be time the stars came down to terra firma.

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First published on: 04-08-2022 at 04:04:02 am
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