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Why the Big Fuss Over Kangana Ranaut’s Fees?

Kangana Ranaut’s payslip becomes controversial

Updated
Entertainment
3 min read
Why the Big Fuss Over Kangana Ranaut’s Fees?

Did Kangana Ranaut really get Rs 11 cr for a film? Or did she lie about it? Does it matter at all?

An entertainment website recently put out a piece accusing Kangana of having lied about being paid a fee of Rs 11 cr for a film (assumed to be Rangoon). The news of Kangana bagging the Rs 11 cr deal came out last year and the actress had even authenticated the information in an interview to the Indian Express by saying:

My getting Rs 11 cr is a small step towards that equality you are talking about, and as a woman I would also want to see…to be treated as an equal
Kangana Ranaut
Kangana Ranaut with fans (Photo: Yogen Shah)

11 cr is big for a Bollywood heroine and this bit of news immediately got Kangana labelled as the ‘highest paid Indian actress’. Activists and artists cheering for bridging the gender pay gap raised their pompoms and did a backflip. It still wasn’t close to what a Salman or an Aamir Khan would charge per film, but at least there seemed to be a progressive swing.

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However, this latest report claims that Kangana was actually paid a fee of Rs 3 cr for Rangoon and not 11 cr. It accuses the actress of having said a BIG LIE (in all caps). Other websites soon followed suit, “Kangana’s Biggest Lie Exposed” declared one, another one dubbed the actress as “The Queen of Lies” for having falsely stated her age as well as her wage.

But what’s the fun if you can’t have an immediate counter-opinion on the vagaries of Kangana’s paycheck, especially when you can drag in sexism into the picture? So, this news website warned us by stating “Back off, Indian media: Kangana Ranaut’s wage or age is none of our business”

Kangana Ranaut in Queen

Honestly, speculating over Kangana’s age, on whether she is 29 or 30 is indeed ridiculous. But being misinformed by the actress about her fee, may not be so trivial. And there is no sexism here as implied. Would the same news piece alleging a BIG LIE have been written if the star in question were a male actor who chose to reveal a fee he actually was not being paid? Yes.

At a time when the gender pay gap is being widely discussed both in Bollywood and Hollywood, any indication by an actress that she’s being paid a ‘respectable’ fee (when actually she is not) only skews the debate. All those who had got smug imagining the Rs 11 cr figure to be ‘one small step for Kangana, a giant leap for womankind’ would be so sorely disappointed. Besides which, the tiara of being the ‘highest paid actress in India’ suddenly seems to have been carried on the wrong queen’s head. Unfair?
Kangana Ranaut from the film Tanu Weds Manu Returns

But talking of wages and fair play, the whole brouhaha over Kangana’s remuneration didn’t affect me at all because I’d just heard that a reputed production house paid its writers a paltry sum of Rs 4 lakhs for scripting one of this year’s best films. And it’s all the more shocking because the creative head of this particular outfit keeps lamenting about the lack of good writers and the need to respect writers in Bollywood. Now this is something to raise a noise about.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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