In a recent interaction, filmmaker Karan Johar opened up on how he was ‘fed up’ with actors increasing their fees despite failures and new, young actors demanding high amounts as their remuneration.
“I am so fed up. I have seen actors’ price rise through the worst period of cinema for no reason,”said Karan in a discussion. In the Producers Adda 2021 for Film Companion, Karan talked about how actors hiked their fees during the pandemic despite films not doing well.
“There was an X amount. Three months later, it is here (gestures at a higher level than before). But why? They had not had any release and their last release was a failure. Their films have not taken off and yet they are going up because they are riding on that digital money. Their managements or whoever they have is telling them, digital is giving this much, music is earning that much. But who is making these charts? They have gone beyond deluded, I have to tell you. We have to just suck it and work with them.”
He went on to say that the ‘younger’ actors demand high fees and he just wants to show them their box office ‘report cards’: “There are megastars with whom you cut these deals and that I understand. What I really don’t understand is that there is a younger order, who have really yet to prove themselves at the box office. Immediately you hear 25-30-35 (crore rupees) and I’m like, ‘What are these numbers?’ Then you want to show that report card to them that hello, this is what you open to. This is what your film did.”
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After his co-panellist Zoya Akhtar addressed the inequality in the salaries of actors and technicians, calling it ‘offensive’, Karan echoed her thoughts and said, “Pay the writer, pay the cinematographer, pay the editor! I would rather pay top dollar – much more – to the members of technical crew, who really make your film special. There are editors and cinematographers who have saved films. And I agree with Zoya that I look at myself and ask, ‘Why am I paying this actor ₹15 crores and paying my editor ₹55 lakhs?’ It’s not making any sense to me. But that’s suddenly become the market norm.”