Heroines are far from being heroes in Bollywood: Kareena

Published: March 18, 2012

Kareena Kapoor says that her pay cheque is much less than what her male costars take home. PHOTO: IANS


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.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Shani
    Mar 18, 2012 - 9:10PM

    “[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.’I truly agree.


  • Dr Nisha Meera Kissoon
    Mar 19, 2012 - 12:53AM

    It’s such a crying shame that in a culture like India, ripe with timeless teachings from Holy Scriptures that relate stories where woman are meant to be as revered and honoured as men and no less, that women are are still as subjugated as they are and even worse – conditioned ( by men AND WOMEN of that very culture/ society) to accept it.


  • Eventers
    Mar 19, 2012 - 8:46PM

    Any Friends for India , Could you give me a rough guess how much your star celebs male/female charges to appear in an event , Realistically !


  • as
    Mar 19, 2012 - 11:14PM

    You get paid on the prospective business you bring as a star.

    Bodyguard was a huge hit because of Salman Khan only (no matter how crap I thought the film was).

    RA.One was produced by SRK. He deserves all the profits. Ms Kapoor try taking such massive financial risks. Only then you can share the profits too.


  • athena
    Mar 26, 2012 - 4:49AM

    These actress’ should be content with getting the salary they get, when hardworking people in other professions will never earn 1 crore and more just by signing on a dotted line for a movie. Kareena has not even done solo films and how long has she been in the film industry again, obviously SHE picked scripts which didn’t offer her the same role as her male costars, so she doesn’t need to question her salary. Kareena already said in an interview that she won’t do movies like Dirty Picture or any other solo project without the khans in it. She admits that they would at least guarantee a movie a hit regardless of the script. Bollywood should restructure their system then the equal salary will follow. Lastly, if there are no good female centric scripts or in general where the script is more important that it will not be exploited for the sake of a male superstar, then kareena doesn’t have any basis of bringing this issue. Kareena should first think of the screenwriters and directors out there who are not encouraged to make certain movies. Screenwriters with great stories that unfortunately will not be considered should get better treatment, these are more important issues than kareena’s salary.


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