In the south moviedom’s pecking order, it is Rajinikanth, the chasm and, then, the rest. But with the recent humongous success of Adhurs and Brindavanam, it will now become Rajinikanth, Junior NTR, the chasm and, well, the rest.
The Telugu superstar — grandson of the legendary NTR — will reportedly be paid Rs 9 crore for his next movie set to go on the floors early next month, putting him within striking distance of the Tamil superhero in terms of sheer box office appeal and money paid per film.
Neither ‘Young Tiger’ Junior NTR nor the makers of the yet-to-be-named movie - it is being produced by BVSN Prasad and directed by Surender Reddy — have come out in the open on the remuneration issue, but sources close to the star confirmed the Rs 9 crore figure to Bangalore Mirror.
Junior NTR is one of the few Telugu stars who is a sure draw even in Bangalore. His new movie Shakti, due for release, has fetched him over Rs 7 crore, sources said. With this, Junior NTR races past all the GenNext heroes in south India, except Tamil star Suriya, whose rates too have risen exponentially. But there is a catch in Suriya’s case: He commanded Rs 5 crore in 2010 because that was the cumulative amount from the tri-release - in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi - of his latest hit Raktha Charitra. His rates could go up even further as he has demanded a share in the Telugu market whenever his films are dubbed.
While Junior NTR’s current worth leaves most of us slack-jawed, industry analysts say there is nothing mystifying about it. His remuneration, they explain, is directly proportional to his track record and the fan base he commands.
Both Adhurs and Brindavanam, released in 2010, went on to gross more than Rs 30 crore. There are reports that the distribution rights of Shakti have garnered Rs 10 crore in just the Nizam area.
It is not just NTR. The pay packet of other Telegu stars too is getting bloated. In recent years, no film featuring an A list star has been made with less than Rs 15 crore. On an average close to 20-25 per cent of a film’s budget goes as the hero’s remuneration and another 40 per cent for other actors and technicians. Only 30-40 per cent is actually spent on the shooting of a movie.
But even as the rates of stars have shot up astronomically, the Telugu film industry’s success rate at the box office remains dismally low. Last year, the debacle of films like Puli, Khaaleja and Orange came as a rude shock to the industry and generated a debate on the need for revising the remuneration of stars to keep budgets under control. Watch this space.
Rate card of Telugu stars
Jr NTR 9 crores
Ravi Teja 7 crores
Mahesh Babu 6 crores
Pawan Kalyan 6.5 crores
Charan 6 crores
Allu Arjun 5 crores
Venky 4 crores
Nagarjuna 5 crores
Naga Chaitanya 3.5 crores
Ram 3.5 crores
Rana 3 crores
Source: Bangalore Mirror