Kareena Kapoor Khan, Taapsee Pannu and Dia Mirza Speak Up About Being Paid Equal to Heroes

Kareena Kapoor Khan, Taapsee Pannu and Dia Mirza Speak Up About Being Paid Equal to Heroes

The pay parity debate: should leading ladies be paid on a par with the heroes?
Kareena Kapoor Khan, Taapsee Pannu and Dia Mirza Speak Up About Being Paid Equal to Heroes
Taapsee Pannu, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Dia Mirza

“Pay me as much as Akshay Kumar,’ proclaimed  Kareena  Kapoor Khan  recently. It’s not as  though  the prominent  female  actors don’t get paid well. It’s just that they don’t get as much their male counterparts. Unless it’s Deepika Padukone who got paid more than Ranveer Singh in Padmaavat and certainly more than her co-star Vikrant Massey in  Chhapaak.

But by and large the ladies are paid far less  than  the  male superstars. And perhaps  justifiably so, since the ladies do not bring in  the same volume of audience as the  men. Tapsee Pannu who has played the male  hero in several recent films like Badla and  Game Over says  she  is content with the fee that she commands. “Lately I am happy with the money I am getting. The producers have been fair to me and have mindfully agreed to the raise I asked for lately. Pay parity is a problem, I agree to that fact .But it’s not like if we raise the issue the producers will agree and increase our remuneration.”

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Tapsee feels  it’s  up to audience  to  upscale female remuneration. “It’s the audience who needs to help us with that. I never push for pay parity, I always say it’s the audiences who need to help us bridge the gap and only they can do that. I can only ask for  more. After all it’s business eventually and we need money to make more films.”

Shabana Azmi, one of  the  most formidable female  heroes of Indian cinema who  helmed revolutionary films  like Arth and  Mandi,  says  the pay disparity is  all  about the  numbers that the actor brings in. “At the cost of sounding renegade I think that is the main consideration. When a female star brings in audiences she will be paid equally. As more and more women centric films become commercial successes it will happen. However raising awareness on the issue in protest is a good way to start so producers start paying heed to this demand. The assumption that audiences are less interested in women-centric films must be contested. On the contrary  action films are less likely to be patronized by a female audience has been tested to be true.”

Diya Mirza feels a  pay parity is  justifiable when the  actress is known to get  optimum eyeballs. “All gloves don’t and won’t fit the same hand. Questioning pay parity for actresses who have garnered big audience draw is totally justifiable. Because this does happen. There are female actors who have massive audience draw, they do not get paid as much as male actors. There have been a few exceptions though. But the larger question is not of what stars draw. But what the rest do. And why must women be paid less than men for the same job?”

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