The debate of gender disparity and unequal pay in Bollywood is age old with increasing number of stars standing up against the unfairness off late. The topic has made its way to many platforms where it has been answered several times, but with no certain conclusion. However, when Aamir Khan was questioned about the same issue at a recent promotional event for Secret Superstar, he had a rather smart reply to give. The actor was asked whether Zaira is getting paid more than him since she is the protagonist, and has a meatier role than him. Valid question right?
Answering the question, Aamir Khan explained, "The industry doesn't differentiate between genders. There are a lot of women directors like Reema Kagti, my wife Kiran (Rao) and so many. I don't think they are paid differently or treated differently.” He went on to say, “I probably don't have a smaller pay cheque than Zaira Wasim. There are two levels of pay cheques. There are just two or three people in the team who can pull people in the theatres. That's what we describe as stardom. That's what Salim Javed did as writers and AR Rahamn as musician. But if u have the ability to pull the crowd in theatres then you can get paid more than me. And trust me when Zaira does that, she will get paid more than me.”
He concluded saying, “Anyone who has that ability, who will be able to fill in more seats, will get paid more. It does not matter you are male or female or even an animal. If you benefit me as a producer I am ready to pay." Well said Aamir!
Much to everyone’s surprise, he went on to reveal how he hasn’t charged a fee for his films in the recent past and he is one of the last to receive his share of the profit. He said, “Fortunately all my films have been a hit, if not then I am the one who is hit. I am the last one to be paid after the producer, investors and if there is profit then I get share of it.”
The actor went on to explain how actors get paid more because of the uneven set up of the society. He said, "Why male stars get paid more is because of the patriarchal society. Because as kids, we were used to listening to stories which have seen boys as heroes and saviours. So that has been planted in our heads that boys are heroes and not girls. To change that, it requires a paradigm shift in the minds of people."
Trust Aamir to come up with some of the most sensible explanations to the trickiest debates. What did you think about his reasoning?