Charting Akshay Kumar's journey from Rs. 5K to Rs. 135cr
Akshay Kumar is every filmmaker's dream. And why not? He wins hearts, and also brings in the moolah. Kumar delivers swoon-worthy action moves, has a smile to die for, is amazing with comedy and has brought several social issues in limelight through his movies. His exponential growth has also resulted in a swelling bank balance. Let's scoop out his remuneration over the years.
It all started when he missed out a flight to Bengaluru, where he was to go for a modeling assignment. Feeling "extremely low," he visited Nataraj Studio that day. That's when Pramod Chakravorty spotted him and offered him three films. "He gave a cheque of Rs. 5000 for the first film, Rs. 50,000, for second, and the third cheque had Rs. 1.5L on it."
Kumar's first film Saugandh (1991) turned out to be a "disaster" at the box office. Khiladi came the next year. It established his action hero image, but minted just Rs. 3.6cr, staying "above average." It was Elaan and Yeh Dillagi, both successes, which helped Kumar add more zeros to his fee. Till 2015, his graph didn't maintain any consistency, and so did his paycheck.
Talking about this roller-coaster ride, Kumar once told Press Trust of India (PTI), "When I had delivered 14 to 15 flop films, everyone said Gaya Gaya and then after giving hit films, I heard them saying, 'Aa Gaya Aa Gaya'. I remember these words."
2006-2007 was good for Kumar, as he delivered back to back hits. That's when he started charging Rs. 20-45cr. From Welcome, business showed that dillydally graph again, till Singh is Bling. Since then, he hasn't given a single flop, and hence his remuneration gradually increased to Rs. 99 crore till the beginning of lockdown. Each year, his net worth sees a growth of 15-20%.
"Over the last few months in lockdown, Kumar has gradually hiked his fees from Rs. 99 crore to Rs. 108 crore and finally settled in on Rs. 117 crore," a source told Bollywood Hungama. It further stated that the National Award-winning actor will charge Rs. 135cr for all the 2022 releases. Today, he sits atop a stunning net worth of Rs. 2,414cr.
"Every producer wants to have Akshay on board, considering his low risk, low budget, and assured return model, leading to excessive demand in the market," sources said. The upcoming movies of Kumar are Sooryavanshi, Bell Bottom, Atrangi Re, Bachchan Pandey, Ram Setu and Raksha Bandhan.
Cut to present! With nearly 30 endorsements and three/four films per year, Kumar has featured on the Forbes Highest-Paid actors' list several times. In 2019, Kumar's Mission Mangal surpassed Rs. 100 crore in just five days, which put him at the fourth spot on the list. The next year, he featured at the sixth spot ($48.5 million), just after Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds.
But the superstar isn't always about bulking his paycheck. He, at times, lowers his fees too. Like, he "refused to take fees for Waqt: The Race Against Time, but I did not agree to it," revealed its director Vipul Shah. Then, last year, reports claimed that he had lowered his pay by 20% for producer and good friend Sajid Nadiadwala, as per latter's request.