Vidya Balan’s success story has given actresses the hope for a brighter tomorrow in the Indian film industry. But they have a long way to go, says Kareena Kapoor adding that she will fight for equal pay cheques.
The 31-year-old shared her side of the story in a talk about “How Does a Heroine Become the Hero?” at the India Today Conclave 2012 here on Friday.
“I was in Los Angeles sometime back when I got to know that Salt was actually written for Tom Cruise and Angelina Jolie was actually the second choice for the role. It is interesting that the second choice wasn’t a male actor like Brad Pitt or anyone else. In India, there’s no such choice,” stated Kapoor.
“[In Bollywood] it’s always between three or four Khans or other male actors. I guess female actors are there for just dancing with them. We have to stand behind Shah Rukh and Salman (Khan) and say, ‘Hey! I’m here too, give me something to do.’ And the pay cheques, what Salman gets and what I get… let’s not even get there,” said Kareena.
She is said to be the highest earning female star in Bollywood, and reportedly demanded INR80 million for Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine, but Kareena still doesn’t consider herself a hero. “I don’t think I’m a hero because all the films like 3 Idiots, RA.One and Bodyguard that made INR1 billion to INR1.5 billion, their producers and all the three Khans took home the money. What am I left with? ‘Chammak Challo’?”
“I don’t get a pay cheque that is as much as they get. I am not on the same platform as them. But I am going to fight for it, and hopefully one day we will get there. I am glad that there’s been a stellar performance by Vidya Balan and she proved to be the hero of 2011 [with The Dirty Picture],” added the actor.
The year awaits a power-packed performance by Kapoor in Heroine and she says: “I am giving it my very best. And for a change it is fun not standing behind or beside Shah Rukh or Salman,” she quipped.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2012.